DPA allocates initial $30m in compensation to 3m Darfuris - More is promised but peace deal critics in camps aren't hearing the message
A report by Reuters today (see below) points out that initial compensation from the Government of Sudan to some 3m Darfuris works out at $10 per person. As noted here earlier, the African Union Mission in Darfur currently costs $1 billion a year. Imagine the cost of the humanitarian operation currently taking place across the Sudan. The UN's World Food Programme alone feeds 6.1m people across Sudan, including 3m from Darfur. It seems to me a vociferous fraction of those 3m, many of whom can't even read or write, are being fed propaganda by rival rebel factions driven by self interest.
Incidentally, the populated of Darfur is estimated at 6-7 million - USAID uses the figure 6.5m. Where are the demos and protests against the Darfur Peace Agreement from the other 3.5m Darfuris?
Once can't help but wonder if the poor displaced Sudanese people are getting used to the closeness of camp life, regular food, water, medics, educators and security under the blanket provided by the international community. First the Darfuris say they won't return home because of security fears. Now they refuse to support peace because the cash on offer to them is not enough right now. From what I can gather, most of the civilians want peace.
Maybe JEM rebels and Nur's SLM faction brainwash underlings to keep their followers keen. Promising more than can be delivered right away. If this is how the the rebels act before they get into government, imagine how they will govern fairly. It seems as though leadership within the rebel groups is coming from self serving opportunists who are not fit to govern.
From what I can see, the rebel leaders are not presenting the DPA in a fair light to their people. No doubt most of the people have heard about the $4.5 billion in development funding pledged for southern Sudan pledged by international donors when a peace agreement was signed for the south ... and how the south got its own Vice Presidency position and are allowed to vote to break away in 2011 and take the south's oil wells (which northern Sudan and Khartoum regime currently depends on). $30m must sound like a pittance to their uneducated ears. Do they know the $4.5 billion has strings attached - that it depends on peace being agreed for Darfur? Darfuris are not helping the poor people in southern Sudan. What decent business person would commit to investing in Darfur during such instability? Darfuris are shooting themselves in the foot.
Soon another donor conference will take place for Darfur. Maybe the Darfuris, with nothing to lose, believe they have time on their side enabling them to hold out for more money, power and wealth. Do they realise who pays for the humanitarian operation and troops, where the money originates (tax dollars, earned by ordinary hard working folk)? What if citizens within each country around the world decided to form rebel groups, take up arms and kill for what they wanted, holding governments to ransom for years on end, for however long they wish, sqaundering a fortune in the meantime?
Note, after two years my sympathies with the so-called rebels representing the oppressed people of Sudan are wearing thin. I have a lot of patience and compassion which makes me think I can't be the only person feeling this way right now. The rebels ought to explain to their people that international donors represent the citizens of countries who earn the tax dollars used to assist 6m people across the Sudan. People, animals and crops in the Sudan and Chad need water, not war. Time is not on their side. There is no future in regions without enough water to sustain life. Science tells us if they want to save their heritage and culture, time is of the essence.
Photo: People from a Kafonja tribe going with their donkeys every morning for fresh water to pump in desert. Taken in desert, close to Mussawarat es Sufra, Northern Sudan by Vit Hassan
G8 aid for Africa under threat from climate change
Last year, a friend emailed me saying "Lord May predicted that much of Africa will become uninhabitable if the West continues to consume such a large share of the planet's resources. In the face of that threat, the starving masses will have to move elsewhere --- or perish. He dare not say that there are 'too many people in the wrong place' but that happens to be the cause of the problem --- including the greedy 280 millions in America." See The Royal Society Science News: G8 aid for Africa under threat from climate change, warns Lord May of Oxford 24 Oct 2005.
Darfur peace deal allocates initial $30m in compensation to 3m Darfuris
Reuters report by Opheera McDoom, Fata Borno Camp, Sudan, June 6, 2006 - excerpt:
Last week, on Minni Arcua Minnawi's first return to Darfur since signing the Abuja peace deal, he wanted to visit Abou Shouk camp near the main town of el-Fasher. But the African Union said he was unable to out of fears for his safety following daily protests against the agreement.
At nearby Fata Borno Camp residents warned him to stay away from their camp as well.
"If Minni comes here we will slaughter him," said Abdallah Adam Ibrahim, who fled his home to the camp in north Darfur three years ago.
"He has sold our souls and our tears -- he is a traitor," he said, running his finger across his throat to mime slitting the throat of the young SLA leader.
Rival SLA leader Abdel Wahed Mohammed al-Nur and the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) refused to sign the Abuja deal. They said they wanted more compensation for war victims, more political posts and a role in disarming the Janjaweed.
"Minni may have the soldiers but all the camps belong to Abdel Wahed," said Ibrahim Ismail Adam, another Darfuri who has taken refuge in the Fata Borno camp.
"We have paid a dear price in this war, we have suffered rape, pillage and killing, so we have to have compensation," said Mohamed Abdel Karim, a local Fur leader from the areas around Fata Borno.
The Abuja deal allocates an initial $30 million in compensation from the government for more than 3 million Darfuris the United Nations says were affected by the conflict.
Nur and those in the camps dismissed the $10 per person payout as a joke.
Minnawi says some international partners have promised to add to that amount. But his many critics in the camps aren't hearing his message.
Minnawi is unable to travel to areas controlled by commanders loyal to Nur and also says he still does not fully trust his government partners in peace.
"If I trust the government 100 percent I would not come to land in the AU camp," he told Reuters in an interview in the AU headquarters in el-Fasher.
This week he refused to allow an AU plane moving him from south Sudan to el-Fasher to stop and refuel in Nyala in South Darfur for security reasons.
The AU peace agreement reached in early May was the result of two years of talks. Analysts say the road ahead on the ground in Darfur will likely be as long and difficult. Despite the setbacks during his first weeks as peacemaker, Minnawi remained optimistic.
"With time ... everyone will recognize that the peace is for them, the peace is for the Darfuri people," he said.
Photo: Bedouin from a Kafonja tribe. They are going every morning to pump in desert for fresh water. Taken in desert, Mussawarat es Sufra, Northern Sudan by Vit Hassan.
Jun 2 2006 DPA report - Darfuris say peace deal incomplete - 'We stay for 100 years in camps'
Jun 3 2006 Sudan's Dinka back home after 20-year journey - 90,000 displaced southerners in Darfur, 25,000 have returned
May 27 2006 UNICEF's Clean-water project in Sudan keeps children healthy and in school - this provides links to:
Jan 26 2006 In Darfur, handpumps are on the frontline of peacebuilding
Jan 30 2006 The war on terrorism that most Americans don't know about
Feb 5 2006 Peacekeeping waterpumps - East Africa a front in war on terrorism
Feb 23 2006 Drilling for Sudan's drinking water is more important than drilling for oil
Feb 28 2006 Water to spark future wars: UK
Mar 5 2006 The 21st century's most explosive commodity will be . . . WATER
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Hat tip to Laban Tall's Blog for these links:
Jun 5 2006 Independent UK - Desert life threatened by climate change and human exploitation - The UN EP investigation found that climate change over the past 25 years has caused temperatures to rise faster than the global average in nine out of 12 major deserts studied. The study found that the projected temperature increases over the next 75 to 100 years range from 1C to 7C.
Jun 5 2006 AAP report - Climate change threatens 'vital' deserts - Far from being barren wastelands, the deserts that occupy one quarter of the earth's land surface could be key sources of food and power, the United Nations said.