Decision reference number: ECHO/SDN/BUD/2004/04000
1 - Rationale, needs and target population:
1.1. - Rationale:
Since late 2002, the security situation in the Greater Darfur Region of western Sudan has been steadily deteriorating from relatively traditional tribal clashes and banditry into a state of general insecurity affecting large segments of the population.(1) Darfur is approximately the size of France, an inhospitable region where desertification and increased competition between sedentary farmers and nomadic groups over diminishing natural resources has led to a breakdown of traditional conflict resolution mechanisms and a proliferation of small arms, thus accelerating the region's political and socio-economic marginalization.
Open warfare erupted in Darfur in early 2003, when the newly emerged Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) attacked Government of Sudan (GOS) forces. Shortly after, another armed political group, the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), came to the fore. Both groups have similar demands, namely an end to the region's marginalization, and greater protection for their communities from attacks by Arab nomadic groups.
The conflict escalated in late 2003 when Arab militia groups known as Janjaweed launched a concerted campaign of attacks on civilian communities (primarily of non-Arab origin), destroying essential infrastructure such as irrigation channels and water sources, and looting private household assets, essential livestock and seed stocks(2). The international community has over the past year on many occasions urged the GOS to protect the civilian population against the Janjaweed attacks, which since mid-December 2003 have prompted the large-scale displacement of civilian population groups.
A cease-fire and humanitarian
According to the United Nations and other sources, the impact of the conflict on civilians can be summarized as follows:
- Conflict-related insecurity has affected most of the inhabited areas of Darfur;
- The conflict-affected population is estimated at over 1 million;
- The majority of these are internally displaced (IDPs) of primarily non-Arab origin;
- In many areas the number of IDPs is up to five times that of permanent residents, who are thus themselves becoming increasingly affected by the crisis;
- Hundreds of settlements have been burnt, looted and depopulated;
- More than 190,000 Sudanese refugees have fled into Chad;
- Current estimates of the death toll vary from 15,000 to 50,000.
Darfur is currently the world's largest newly emerged humanitarian crisis. However, the humanitarian response has so far been limited by a combination of factors, including the relatively low response (implementation/absorption) capacity, physical and logistical constraints on the ground, pockets of continued violence and insecurity, and the administrative recalcitrance of a government that continues to make it difficult and sometimes impossible for humanitarian agencies to respond in a timely, impartial and effective manner.
A cease-fire and humanitarian access agreement for Darfur was signed in N'djamena (Chad) on April 8 2004, under Chadian and the African Union (AU) mediation. The negotiations were facilitated and observed by the EU and the US. The 45-day, renewable cease-fire entered into force on April 12 2004. The agreement, besides the cease-fire, also includes provisions for fast and unrestricted humanitarian access and facilitation of delivery of humanitarian assistance in accordance with the most relevant basic principles of Public International Law and Humanitarian Law. Although hostilities have decreased since the signature of the agreement, there is a continued sense of insecurity and fear apparent throughout the war-affected communities. The conflict has also spilled over into Chad. In that respect, the parties agreed on May 28 2004 on a Joint Commission and a Cease-Fire Commission lead by the AU and with representation of the EU and the US in order to monitor the cease-fire. The EU has mobilised € 12 million from the Peace Facility to support this monitoring operation.
(1) Population estimates range from 6.5 to 7.7 million inhabitants, with more than 60 different ethnic groups.
(2) According to human rights reports these attacks included systematic rape