How to stop Darfur’s descent into darkness

Despite the recent media focus on developments in Sudan following the military coup in October, there has been much less reporting of the situation in Sudan’s peripheries, outside of the capital and its surroundings. A staggering rise in violence illustrates the fragility of the transition underway in the country.

The people of Darfur, a region in Sudan’s west about the size of France, have already borne witness to so much violence over the past two decades: ethnic cleansing, rape and other gender-based crimes, child soldiers, and other exploitation of youth. Now, they are experiencing a resurgence in conflict.

In Darfur alone, more than 400,000 people have been displaced in 2021, four times more than in 2020, making them vulnerable during the rise in intercommunal conflict and armed attacks. With a reduction in social and protective networks, an alarming and all-too predictable pattern of sexual violence has also emerged: reports of some 200 cases in 2021 alone points to a concerning trend. When women and girls are displaced and do not have a proper home to protect themselves, it is not uncommon to see a rise in sexual violence as they become more vulnerable under such precarious conditions. 

© Foreign Policy 2022