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The Life of Darfur Child by Ahmed M. Mohamedain

5/24/2005 5:55 am

The right to life, education, and health care on the one hand and protection to children in armed conflict, protection from torture, from degrading treatment or punishment are among the fundamental rights universally adopted in 1989. Since the launching of brutal attacks in Darfur in early 2003, the regime of the Sudan and it’s aligned militiamen, Janjaweeds, have redefined the rights of children of Darfur. Constant misery, perpetual pain, horrible feeling and profound sadness, to name a few, are repetitive ingredients in the minute to minute recipe of children in Darfur. The government of Sudan has done and is still doing whatever in it’s capacity to make the lives of the innocent children a living hell.

Children were not only closely disposed to systematic rape scenes where Janjaweed and government forces consistently commit these grave crimes on the women of Darfur but they themselves became prime victims of such horrendous crimes against humanity and war crimes. If they have been lucky enough to escape bombs from the government force and bullets of Janjaweeds, the children witnessed continuous rape being committed on their mothers, sisters , their female relatives and on them. Indiscriminate sexual assault to women and girls can be summed up by the report of Amnesty Internationals on Rape as a Weapon of War where “girls as young as eight are being raped and used as sex slaves in western Sudan…”

Children in Darfur, due the atrocities of the Sudanese regime, have been denied the right of education. In a systematic scorched-earth campaign where schools and villages were utterly wiped out, the paramount concern of the living adults is to bring their children in relative safety. In such world of daily bleakness, all senses of the child have focused on the traumatic experience of cruelty, violence and disarray. The visit of Human Rights Watch researchers, Dr. Annie Sparrow and Olivier Bercault reflects the world viewed by Darfur children through their drawings: gun-wielding men raping women, large airplanes dropping bombs, horse-mounted militiamen riding into villages and the various scenes of massive destruction. Even those in so called save camps, the children are dropping out of schools in search of water and food as Keith Mackenzie, UNICEF’s Special Representative for the Darfur Crisis warned “We’ve seen large scale displacement because of the conflict. Now it’s happening because of the lack of food and water.”

Despite the medicinal aid from the international community, health care of the children in Darfur is still gravely critical. Due to frailty and defenselessness against diseases, the flimsy shelter of the displaced people are inadequate to protect the children even against the harsh sun or dust storm. The recent outbreak of potentially fatal diseases such as meningitis, a disease of the central nerve system, will definitely reap the lives of the survivors of the Sudanese government’s bombs and bullets, primarily children, if these diseases have not been contained and combated swiftly.
Sexual violence, increasing malnourishment, diseases, ongoing attacks of the government forces and Janjaweeds unjustly imposed on the daily lives of the children of Darfur have caused irreparable social and emotional damage to the very beings of these children. For the grave traumatic experiences unjustly imposed on them, the only concept of the world left for the children of Darfur is a gloomy life without a better tomorrow in a world of abundant evilness where International community does not seriously hold Khartoum accountable to adhere to the UN Security Council Resolutions 1591 & 1593. Dr. William F. Schulz, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA (AIUSA) put it plainly “The sad truth is that if the victims were our mothers, our daughters and our sisters there would be a more vigorous response from the international community."

Ahmed M. Mohamedain
[email protected]

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