Prepared by The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR)*
In Darfur, a poor western province of Sudan, “African” (dark-skinned) Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa ethnic groups have long suffered abuse at the hands of Sudan’s “Arab” (lighter-skinned) governmental leadership and “Arab” pastoralists driven to “African” farmlands by drought and desertification-the “Janjaweed” (nomadic “Arab” bandits and militiamen, literally “men on horses with guns”).
In February 2003, tensions escalated when two rebel movements from the “African” ethnic groups-the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM)-demanded an end to economic and political marginalization and requested government action to end the Janjaweed abuses. Instead, deliberately targeting civilians from the same ethnic groups as the rebels, government forces aided and abetted Janjaweed massacres, summary executions of civilians (including women and children), burnings of towns and villages, and the forcible depopulation of wide swaths of land long inhabited by the Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa. Though Muslim, like the ethnic groups they attack, the Janjaweed militias have destroyed mosques, killed Muslim religious leaders, and desecrated Qurans belonging to their enemies. Human Rights Watch has declared the Sudanese government responsible for “ethnic cleansing” and “crimes against humanity” in the region.
15 — Number of women and girls raped during looting of a Darfur village in May 2004 by Janjaweed militiamen who also broke the arms and legs of some to prevent them from escaping (Amnesty International, 2004)
22 — Number of wells-out of 25 total in the Furawiyah region of western Darfur-filled with sand and corpses by the Janjaweed, the three remaining being soon dry from overuse (The New Yorker, Aug. 30, 2004)
65 — Number of mosques burned by the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed in the area of Dar Masalit during 2003 (Human Rights Watch, 2004)
111 — Number of villagers killed in the Bareh area by the Janjaweed and three carloads of government soldiers, the dead including 23 women and a 100-year-old man (Human Rights Watch, 2004)
145 — Number of Fur men captured, then executed by the Sudanese government and the Janjaweed on March 5, 2004, in retaliation for an SLA attack on government troops a month earlier which, according to the SLA, killed more than 100 government soldiers (Human Rights Watch, 2004)
653 — Number of people killed between April and June 2004, among approximately 200,000 studied, in four refugee camps in Darfur, representing a crude mortality rate far exceeding the World Health Organization “emergency” benchmark of 1 per 10,000 per day; mortality rates in the camps ranged from 1.5 to 5.6 (The Lancet, Oct. 9, 2004)
3,000 — Number of cattle, goats, sheep, horses, and donkeys stolen from the Masalit by the Janjaweed in November 2003, the Masalit depending on the animals for their food and livelihood (Human Rights Watch, 2004)
6,861 — Number of cases of Hepatitis E infection reported in Darfur between May and September 2004 and resulting in at least 87 deaths for lack of proper sanitation and clean drinking water supplies denied by Darfur’s civil war (World Health Organization, 2004)
70,000 — Estimated number of deaths in refugee camps in Western Darfur as of October 15, 2004 (New York Times citing WHO press release, Oct. 15, 2004).
100,000-350,000 — USAID estimate of people killed in Darfur by gunfire or disease by the end of 2004 (World Socialist Website, 2004)
180,000 — Approximate number of refugees (two-thirds of them women and children) who, as of July 2004, had fled from Darfur to neighboring Chad to escape attacks by marauding Janjaweed militiamen, 25% of the refugee children being acutely malnourished (UNICEF, 2004)
575,000 — Number of children in Darfur reported to be suffering from “severe malnutrition” (UNICEF, 2004)
700,000 — Number of internally displaced Sudanese without access to clean water as of May 2004, UNICEF needing $3,800,000 to provide water and sanitary facilities to 600,000 people for 8 months (UNICEF, May 25, 2004)
1,200,000 — Estimated number of internally displaced people in Darfur as of October 17, 2004, the highest number of internally displaced people in any country in the world (New York Times, 2004)
2,000,000 — Estimated number of people affected by the war since the war’s beginning in February-killed, wounded, displaced, and otherwise (Care USA, 2004)
*First published in The Iowa Review (Volume 35, Number 1) Spring 2005.Copyright © 2005 by The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights. For further information on human rights generally, please visit the UICHR web site.