APPENDIX A: The Neglect of Children as a Population in Darfur: A ten-year retrospective (from 2005) remains all too defining of realities for children, male and female, in Darfur:
“Children Within Darfur’s Holocaust: An overview of vulnerabilities particular to genocide’s youngest victims,” Sudan Tribune, December 23, 2005
Eric Reeves, 23 December 2005
The suffering and destruction of children in Darfur is an obscenity beyond reckoning, beyond redemption, beyond forgiveness. During the course of this genocidal conflict, the number of children who have been killed, raped, wounded, displaced, traumatized, or endured the loss of parents and families is well over 1 million. Most of these children have suffered multiple forms of violence, loss, and deprivation. Moreover, their futures are bleak in ways we can only now begin to discern, though that bleakness will come into steadily sharper relief as humanitarian organizations slowly withdraw their financial support for current efforts on the ground in Darfur.
Statistical assessments of suffering and destruction in Darfur, as is often the case in vast human cataclysms, tend toward aggregation, with only partial disaggregating of data that bear directly on populations under 18 years of age. There are exceptions: a common humanitarian metric is the emergency mortality threshold for children under five years of age, 2/day/10,000 of populations—twice the threshold for those over five (1/day/10,000). Malnutrition levels for children under five also tend to be remorselessly good indicators of global malnutrition, which is why rates for both Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) are often represented for both under-five and over-five populations. Attention to vaccination rates is also a commonly cited statistical barometer, and so (less often) are the rates of those receiving some form of education.
But there is a terrible distinctness in the suffering of children, even as their characteristic vulnerability in times of distress accounts for differences in both mortality rates and the likelihood of malnutrition. The deaths of Darfur’s children, of those least responsible for the evil that animates genocidal violence, bequeath to us a special opprobrium, a disgrace for which there can be no expiation. This analysis attempts to distill something of the peculiar suffering and destruction that has marked the experience of children in Darfur.
Camp Existence and the Children of Darfur
A very recent “Child Alert” for Darfur from UNICEF (the UN children’s fund) has done something to elevate the profile of children in Darfur, and for this deserves commendation (summary and full report available at | http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/RWB.NSF/db900SID/EVOD-6K9EWY?OpenDocument). But the report is too brief, and frequently too superficial, to offer any real insight into the experiences of children in Darfur; there are also signs that the text was poorly reviewed prior to publication. Little from the section on “Continuing Violence and Trauma” represents either new findings or prescient summary of the data and findings currently available. Nonetheless, an overview statement from this section is a useful point of departure:
Humanitarian workers describe a kind of mass trauma in the camps [for displaced persons]. While the protective structure of the family is crucial to recovery [for children], parents feel hopeless and powerless, prompting a widespread sense of fatalism about a future they cannot control. Children talk of the violent events they witnessed and their continuing fear of armed men on horseback [the Janjaweed], who often remain on the outskirts of camps and settlements. Since many men have either died or are mobilized in rural areas, tens of thousands of women are raising their children alone, and often those of deceased family members as well.
The daily stress for these mothers can seriously impair their ability to care for their children. Exhausted and depressed, they despair about their future and that of their offspring.” (page 17)
Despair is difficult to resist when the international community is unwilling to provide security for these women, or the protection that would allow families to return to their villages and land in order to resume agriculturally productive lives. Many of these women have been in camps for two years or longer—and have seen that the impunity of the Janjaweed militia, as well as Khartoum’s regular military forces, is boundless. Few have heard of UN Security Council Resolution 1556 (July 30, 2004), “demanding” that the National Islamic Front regime in Khartoum disarm the Janjaweed. Those who have must feel only contempt for a world body that allows the very men who have killed, raped, and pillaged to roam free—indeed, to be incorporated in many cases into the “security” forces for the camps these women inhabit.
The sheer difficulty of parenting without fathers, and often for many more than one’s own children, has been exhausting over the long months in these exceedingly difficult circumstances—particularly with no relief in sight. That children and adults have both been traumatized (“humanitarian workers describe a kind of mass trauma in the camps”) only makes the task of caretaking that much more demanding, that much more exhausting. To be sure, the UNICEF report celebrates what it reports as “340,000 children ages 6 to 13 attending class” (page 13); but this number seems inflated in the context of other humanitarian reports, and we may legitimately wonder what counts as “attendance.” Even accepting at face value the UNICEF claim, the report goes on to note that this “still only represents about 28% of school-age children in Darfur, and there is no guarantee how long emergency funding for education will last” (page 13).
In fact, a number of humanitarian organizations are already reducing funding for Darfur, and education is one of the first areas that will be cut. We have only to look forward six months, or a year, and these camps—which continue to grow in size—will almost certainly be operating on much reduced budgets. They will become human “warehouses” as the rural areas remain too insecure for returns to begin, and the international community refuses to provide the means for real civilian and humanitarian protection. There is likely to be a “consolidation” or “concentration” of camps, with the more remote and unprotected camps coalescing (likely chaotically) with larger camps closer to the major towns, el-Fasher and Nyala in particular. This will take place as both camp residents and humanitarian workers increasingly fear for their safety amidst what Kofi Annan warns in his November 2005 report to the UN Security Council is “the looming threat of complete lawlessness and anarchy [in Darfur].”
For children, their futures in the camps hold only the prospect of meaningless days defined by efforts to supplement what will be increasingly meager humanitarian supplies. The chances for sustained, meaningful education are remote. Many boys will drift towards urban areas in Darfur, Kordofan, even Khartoum in search of employment; they will be part of a very large pool of unskilled labor, much of it unemployed or underemployed. Girls will also be tempted to seek means of augmenting income for food, shelter, and critical “non-food items” (NFI) that will be in increasingly short supply. The relatively large salaries of the African Union force in Darfur have already produced what is for these devout Muslim communities an entirely uncharacteristic social problem, prostitution.
Until the people now in the camps, young and old, can return to their lands and villages, the land available in the camp surroundings is far too limited to allow for significant agricultural production. Many children are thus now missing key years in learning the ways of producing food in this harsh land, and will find the resumption of agricultural life increasingly difficult. Without seed-stocks, agricultural implements, safe water supplies, a renewed stock of donkeys (essential to agriculture in Darfur), food provisions to last until the first harvest—in short, all that has been deliberately destroyed by Khartoum’s army and its Janjaweed militia allies—a return to the land is pointless. And without meaningful security, it is simply too dangerous to return. For many children, life within camps is coming to dominate all sense of what their lives will be. Their dispirited and often angry views of the future will be attended in most cases by recollections of unspeakable violence. It will take a great deal to heal the spirit of Darfur’s young.
[For an excellent overview of the appalling fate of children throughout Sudan under the National Islamic Front regime, see | http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/IRIN/acba85c40022ff568fa55009ad996717.htm. UNICEF reports that “thousands and possibly millions of Sudanese children suffer from exploitation and discrimination,” [according to] Ted Chaiban, UNICEF’s representative in Sudan, at the launch of the “State of the World’s Children 2006 Report,” UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, December 14, 2005.]
Children and Violence in Darfur
The UNICEF Darfur report devotes far too little attention to the violence that has been directly experienced by children, and indeed in many cases is clearly directed against children, especially males. These violent outrages defy summary; reportage—however gruesome—must in its very partial nature stand as a grim synecdoche:
 Knight Ridder news service, (Nyala), August 31, 2004
Kaltoma Ahmed, 16, described watching her six-year-old brother Adam die. “[The Janjaweed] tied the children’s hands and feet,’ she said. “They put them in the house, and burned it to the ground.”
 Nicholas Kristof, New York Times (Tama, Darfur), November 20, 2005:
So who killed 2-year-old Zahra Abdullah for belonging to the Fur tribe? At one level, the answer is simple: The murderers were members of the janjaweed militia that stormed into this mud-brick village in the South Darfur region at dawn four weeks ago on horses, camels and trucks. Zahra’s mother, Fatima Omar Adam, woke to gunfire and smoke and knew at once what was happening.
She jumped up from her sleeping mat and put Zahra on her back, then grabbed the hands of her two older children and raced out of her thatch-roof hut with her husband. Some of the marauders were right outside. They yanked Zahra from Ms. Fatima’s back and began bludgeoning her on the ground in front of her shrieking mother and sister. Then the men began beating Ms. Fatima and the other two children, so she grabbed them and fled—and the men returned to beating the life out of Zahra.
 George Wolf, member of a Refugees International fact-finding team to Darfur, wrote in a Washington Post op/ed of July 31, 2004:
On the morning of July 12, hell descended on the village of Donki Dereisa. Shortly before sunrise, Fatima Ibrahim, 28, awoke to the deafening sound of exploding ordnance falling from the sky. As she emerged from her mud hut with her 10-year-old daughter, she saw fires blazing all around and scores of heavily armed men on horseback attacking from every direction. With bullets whistling past, Ibrahim and her daughter ran for their lives, ducking into a nearby ravine, where they hid without food or water for the next two days.
From the ditch, Ibrahim witnessed a horrific avalanche of violence that will haunt her for life. With Sudanese foot soldiers at their side, the mounted attackers shot the panicked and unarmed villagers in cold blood. Approximately 150 people, including 10 women, were killed. But the worst was to come.
Ibrahim told Refugees International about a week after the attack that among those captured during the assault were four of her brothers and six young children, including three of her cousins. As Ibrahim watched in horror, several of the attackers began grabbing the screaming children and throwing them one by one into a raging fire. One of the male villagers ran from his hiding place to plead for their lives. It was a fatal error. The raiders subdued the man and later beheaded him and dismembered his body. All six of the children were burned. Ibrahim’s four brothers have not been heard from since.” (Washington Post, July 31, 2004)
 The “civilians” referred to in the following Associated Press dispatch were subsequently authoritatively identified as school girls, chained together and burned within their schoolhouse—ER:
Arab militias chained civilians together and set them on fire in Sudan’s western Darfur region, where tens of thousands have been killed in a 17-month conflict, according to a report by an African Union monitoring team.
The immolation came during a July 3  attack on the village of Suleia by pro-government militias known as the Janjaweed, the African Union monitoring team said in its report. “The attackers looted the market and killed civilians, in some cases, by chaining them and burning them alive,” according to the report, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated. (Associated Press [Addis Ababa] July 29, 2004)
 Knight Ridder news service [Nyala], July 31, 2004:
Kaltoma Idris, 23, was inside her hut when the janjaweed arrived. Outside, her sister was boiling water on a small fire, her recently born twins next to her. “The janjaweed came and took the water and poured it over the babies,’ recalled Idris, who stayed in the hut and kept silent. They tied my sister up.” Idris fled out the back. As she ran for cover, she said she saw children being thrown into flaming huts. Two hours later, she returned to find her sister still tied up.
“The babies were dead inside the pot,” said Idris. She untied her sister. They took her babies and buried them near the hut. Her sister later told her she was whipped and gang-raped twice. Other villagers described returning and seeing charred bodies inside huts and strewn on the sandy dirt.”
 UN Integrated Regional Information Networks, March 22, 2004:
In an attack on 27 February  in the Tawilah [more commonly now Tawila—ER] area of northern Darfur, 30 villages were burned to the ground, over 200 people killed and over 200 girls and women raped—some by up to 14 assailants and in front of their fathers who were later killed. A further 150 women and 200 children were abducted.
 New York Times (el-Geneina, West Darfur), February 11, 2005:
A recent United Nations investigation into war crimes in Darfur laid out, in page after graphic page, evidence of widespread and systematic rape in the two-year conflict. In one incident, a woman in Wadi Tina was raped 14 times by different men in January 2003. In March 2004, 150 soldiers and janjaweed abducted and raped 16 girls in Kutum, the report said. In Kailek, it said girls as young as 10 were raped by militants.
 (from “Report: A UN Inter-Agency fact-finding and humanitarian needs assessment mission, Kailek, South Darfur,” 24 April 2004):
The stories that we [the UN Inter-Agency mission] have received from the survivors of the acts of mass murder are very painful for us and they remind us of the brutalities of the Rwanda genocide. [We found that] the circumstances of the internally displaced persons in Kailek [must] be described as imprisonment. [We found that] with an under-five child mortality rate of 8-9 children per day due to malnutrition, and with the Government of Sudan security representatives permanently located in the town without having reported this phenomena to the UN, despite it having taken place for several weeks, [this] also indicates a local policy of forced starvation.
[An under-five child mortality rate of 8-9 per day is four times the emergency threshold; in short, these very young children were being deliberately starved to death, at an extremely rapid rate, while being militarily imprisoned—ER]
 From a young girl, 14 February 2005, South Darfur:
“One of the three men [Janjaweed] took me away from the other women. He threatened me with his knife by pinching my chest with it. He pushed me on the ground and took off my underwear. He raped me and was repeating, ‘I will kill you’ all the times to intimidate me.” (“The Crushing Burden of Rape: Sexual Violence in Darfur,” Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, March 2005)
 “Maryam Ahmad had travelled with her 21-day-old son, Ahmad, on another road controlled by Janjawid, between Tawila and Kabkabiya. The Janjawid had stopped her, taken Ahmad from her and cut off his penis. He died in her arms. ‘It’s what they do to boys,’ said Afaf, two months pregnant and preparing to return to al-Fasher to deliver.” (Julie Flint, Middle East International [Darfur], February 17, 2005)
These are ten reports; there are many hundreds more, in various human rights and other publications, representing violence directed against hundreds of thousands of children.
Vulnerabilities of Children
Children are especially vulnerable in a catastrophe such as we see in Darfur. They are more vulnerable to the effects of malnutrition and disease (especially such typical childhood diseases as measles, but also to diarrheal diseases, malaria, and tuberculosis). As relief efforts continue to be attenuated because of insecurity, children—especially those under five—will feel the effects first.
The UNICEF report rightly highlights the vast number of children in rural areas (the figure cited is 1.25 million), children beyond the reach of humanitarian assistance available in the camps and their environs. But the report does not acknowledge fully enough how severely humanitarian reach is now restricted to the assessed camp and host populations; this is the development most consequential for children in the near-term. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports in its most recent “Darfur Humanitarian Profile” (No. 20, representing conditions as of November 1, 2005; hereafter DHP 20) that UN humanitarian access to the population in need is approximately 70%—lower than at any time since April 2004, when humanitarian efforts in Darfur began to ramp up significantly (page 4).
Moreover, the number of conflict-affected persons (50% of whom are Internally Displaced Persons [IDPs], according to DHP 20) stands at a staggering 3.5 million, and continues to grow. Large-scale violence in Darfur produced in November and December substantial numbers of newly displaced and conflict-affected persons, these in addition to the numbers for September and October:
The continuation of intensified violence for a second consecutive month [September and October 2005] will have its impact on the trends of both residential and IDP populations, which are not as yet visible. The tens of thousands who have fled to IDP settlements or towns following militia attacks on their villages are not yet fully reflected in this month’s numbers [again, reflecting conditions as of November 1, 2005]. (DHP 20, page 3)
If anything, November and December have been even more violent months in Darfur, resulting in more IDPs; at the same time, the insecurity attendant upon such violence has resulted in continuing humanitarian evacuations, reducing even further humanitarian reach and capacity. Jan Egeland, head of UN humanitarian operations, warned this week that,
“We must realize that the work and lives [of humanitarians] are under constant threat, and our operations can now be disrupted completely by renewed conflict any day and anywhere in Darfur. We must be acutely aware that all that has been built up by the thousands of relief workers and hundreds of millions of dollars in donor contributions could be destroyed. We could be on the brink of losing this huge humanitarian operation.” (Jan Egeland, address to the UN Security Council, December 19, 2005)
This ominous warning comes even as the number of conflict-affected persons is growing, and the percentage of these acutely vulnerable people beyond the reach of humanitarian assistance is also increasing. UN access may have dropped to 60% by this point. According to UNICEF, approximately half the conflicted-affected population are children (those under 18).
[These figures do not represent the large refugee population in Chad; there are presently more than 220,000 refugees from Darfur in camps along the increasingly volatile Chad/Sudan border (source: November estimate of the UN High Commission for Refugees). Half of these are children. A continuing escalation of recent military confrontations between Chad’s regular army and Chadian rebels based in Darfur (and clearly supported by Khartoum) could result in large-scale fighting that would imperil all aid in this exceedingly difficult theater of humanitarian operations. The intensifying Janjaweed attacks in West Darfur State may also generate a further exodus of refugees, exacerbating already tense relations with the indigenous Chadian populations; there is presently intense local competition for scarce natural resources, primarily arable land, animal fodder, and water.]
[Note from January 2016: The figure for Darfuri refugees in December 2015 is approximately 380,000 according to the UN High Commission for Refugees—ER]
Children, especially younger children, are not simply more vulnerable to disease and malnutrition (especially during flight following attacks on villages); they are in many respects more vulnerable to violence. They often cannot move quickly, or at all, to escape attackers. Wounds are more likely to produce mortality. The loss of family members, especially parents, is much more likely to be seriously consequential, even fatal, for children. Children, because of their physical weakness and inability to resist, are much more likely to be the victims of abduction, which has been rampant in Darfur since the outbreak of major hostilities. Boys are subject to unlawful military recruitment, including forced recruitment, by both the Janjaweed and the insurgency groups. Terrifyingly, boys have also been among those males ethnically targeted for mass executions by Khartoum’s forces and the Janjaweed (e.g., during the infamous Wadi Saleh massacres in West Darfur).
Girls, especially younger girls, are more easily raped than older women (some reports indicate the rape of girls under ten years of age). The frequency of such rape is suggested by the recent UNICEF report:
A recent report from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that in almost one in three reported rapes [in Darfur], the victims were children, and a recent UNICEF/UN Population Fund study suggests that the number might be even higher. (UNICEF “Child Alert,” page 19, 2005)
Rape is much more likely to be deeply traumatizing or even fatal for girls, as is the premature childbirth that often results from the rape of girls. Moreover, the birth that results from rape by a member of the Arab Janjaweed militia can often produce excruciating emotional and moral dilemmas within non-Arab or African populations. Both the ethnic identity of the baby’s father and the fact of rape stigmatize young women, making marriage and a full integration into the community’s social life much less likely.
The bleak future of these children is captured well by the UNICEF report:
“Every day that passes further erodes the capacity of communities to cope and diminishes even more the opportunities for children to reach their full capacity. [ ] No place is safe, and even if children in camps escape further attack, they live in dependence and, too often, fear” (page 4).
The terrible vulnerability of these most innocent of victims is the truest measure of our failure in Darfur. That failure is perpetuated by the international community’s continued willingness to indulge the fiction that these children can be adequately protected by the African Union force in Darfur, even as more and more children slip beyond the reach of humanitarian assistance, and as more and more children perish from disease, malnutrition, and violence.
Global mortality during the genocide in Darfur is roughly 400,000, from all causes (see my August 31, 2005 mortality assessment [more useful is the August 6, 2010 morality assessment | http://sudanreeves.org/2010/08/07/quantifying-genocide-darfur-mortality-update-august-6-2010/ —ER, December 21, 2015]). Of these, approximately half are children—perhaps more. Some 200,000 [250,000] children have been victims of Khartoum’s continuing genocidal policies. Many more will perish because the National Islamic Front regime wishes it so. Here it is appropriate to recall countless earlier direct attacks on children by Khartoum’s Antonov “bombers” and helicopter gunships. One incident is particularly revealing of the unspeakable savagery and cruelty of the NIF war against those who would resist its tyranny.
[NB: This account was written in December 2005, well before conflict spread to South Kordofan and Blue Nile in summer 2011, regions where conditions for children are often very much like those that prevail in Darfur—ER]
During the brutal siege of the Nuba Mountains in southern Kordofan Province (allied with the southern Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army), many bombings were reported. None was more destructive or authoritatively reported than the attack on Holy Cross School in Kauda, Nuba Mountains in February 2000. The following account of the Kauda attack comes from a book too long in-progress by this writer, animated in part by his visit to Kauda in January 2003:
At 9am on February 8, 2000 there were more than 300 children in attendance at Holy Cross School near Kauda in the Nuba region of Sudan. Some were outside singing. Others were sitting under a tree as their teacher started with the lesson book, “Read with Us.” Given the lively activities, a casual visitor might have remained unaware of a distant and ominous drone.
Such a visitor, glancing around, would no doubt have been impressed by the effort and perseverance represented in building a school for several hundred students in a region of Sudan that had been under brutal siege by the country’s government for almost a decade. The sight of a church some 150 yards away may have been equally impressive, and perhaps reassuring to a visitor who would inevitably know that the Nuba region is in the center of a war zone. For there were no other buildings in sight—simply the school and the church.
Still, such a visitor might have detected an agitation among a few students, and perhaps a distracted glance upward by the teacher. For just a moment, as the droning became more emphatic, the visitor might have felt a stiffening fear among some of the young children.
But nothing could have prepared the visitor for what ensued: crashing into the midst of these students were high-explosive bombs, wrapped in shrapnel, which would wreak immediate and horrific carnage. Thirteen children and a teacher were torn apart and killed on the spot; others would die subsequently from the wounds they sustained. And many more children would be severely and permanently maimed, losing hands and arms or enduring severe burns. All the dead children were under seventeen years of age.
What had happened? An Antonov “bomber” of the National Islamic Front regime in Khartoum had deliberately targeted Holy Cross School as part of its ongoing assault on the people of the Nuba, dropping on this occasion four bombs in the area of the school. (In fact, the Antonov is not a bomber at all: it is a retrofitted Russian-made cargo plane, from which crude but deadly “barrel bombs” are simply rolled out the back cargo door; attacks are typically against “soft” civilian targets.)
If a visitor to the school on this day had had the composure to look around amidst the screaming and torn flesh, he would have seen—quite amazingly—a dazed survivor who had somehow found a video camera and was recording several minutes of the unspeakable aftermath of the bombing attack. One eviscerated child, spurting blood, runs around in terror as he is pursued by adults trying to attend to him; he collapses and dies shortly. Other children are dead or dying; many are savagely wounded. And it is all recorded.
Shortly after this attack, the video film was conveyed to Nairobi, and there it was viewed by Dirdiery Ahmed, an official with the embassy of the National Islamic Front. He was apprised of the location of the bombing, the nature of the casualties, the absence of a military presence in the area. Afterwards, in words of unfathomable callousness, Dirdiery declared: “The bombs landed where they were supposed to land.”
“The bombs landed where they were supposed to land.”
In Darfur, the destruction of children by the National Islamic Front is no less deliberate. Certainly it is now indisputable that the decision to proceed with a policy of deliberate civilian destruction, targeting the non-Arab or African ethnic groups of the region, was made at the highest levels of the NIF regime. As Human Rights Watch recently reported:
The Sudanese government policy of “ethnic cleansing” was strategic and well-planned. Since early 2003, the leadership in Khartoum has relied on civilian administration, the Sudanese military and Janjaweed militias to implement a counterinsurgency policy that deliberately and systematically targeted civilians in violation of international law. Ultimate responsibility for the creation and coordination of the policy lies in Khartoum, with the highest levels of the Sudanese leadership, including President Omar El Bashir, Vice-President Ali Osman Taha, and key national ministers and security chiefs. (“Entrenching Impunity: Government Responsibility for International Crimes in Darfur,” Human Rights Watch, December 2005, page 58).
Omar el-Bashir; Ali Osman Taha; former Interior Minister (and current Defense Minister) Abdul Rahim Mohamed Hussein; head of Khartoum’s security services Major General Saleh Abdallah “Gosh”; Major General Bakri Hassan Salih, former Minister of Defense and now Minister for Presidential Affairs; Abbas Arabi, Chief of Staff of the Sudanese Armed Forces—these powerful men knew full well that such deliberate, systematic, ethnically targeted human destruction would produce huge numbers of civilian casualties, and that half of these deaths would be children.
Human Rights Watch also reports in its assessment of Khartoum’s command-and-control and reporting responsibilities:
The methodical use of aerial support to target civilians in the military campaign, despite protests from air force officers, also reflects the involvement of high-level officials in Khartoum. (page 58)
The aerial military targeting of civilians, including children—in the Nuba, in southern Sudan, in Darfur—is an entirely characteristic military response by Khartoum (see my August 15, 2000 op/ed in The Washington Post on the bombing of humanitarian operations in southern Sudan and multiple analyses of bombing incidents throughout southern Sudan.
There is nothing new in such barbarism by the Khartoum regime, unfathomably the host to the January 2006 African Union summit and the March 2006 Arab League summit.
The deliberate destruction of children, on an ethnic basis, is the known and calculated policy of Khartoum and its Janjaweed militia—the inevitable consequence of a counter-insurgency strategy of civilian destruction, by various means, chosen with full knowledge. This is the atrocity the international community has chosen to accept, and before which it daily continues to acquiesce—responding only with humanitarian assistance and a conspicuously, radically inadequate African Union cease-fire monitoring force.
This is Sudan, suffering a long way off; too few care, and far too little.
Several medical assessments appearing after 2005 have a direct bearing on the findings reported here concerning children and victims of rape. Two excerpts appear here as I published them, contemporaneously with their release:
There are gross deficiencies in primary health care in all three Darfur states; the number of physicians serving enormous populations is often one or two. Psychosocial services for the vast numbers of displaced are virtually non-existent, even as studies (when they were permitted) have suggested extraordinarily high levels of depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), especially among children. In August 2011 the distinguished British medical journal The Lancet published findings of a shocking magnitude:
Investigators of studies with medium to large sample sizes have concluded that forcibly displaced children in low-income and middle-income settings have high rates of psychiatric disorders. Thus 75% of 331 displaced children in camps for internally displaced people in southern Darfur met diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder, and 38% had depression. [The precise date of data acquisition from South Darfur is not clear in the synopsis that appears on-line at present—ER]
The immense psychosocial consequences of rape for girls and women have also been documented by Physicians for Human Rights. In a devastating study (“Nowhere to Turn: Failure to Protect, Support and Assure Justice for Darfuri Women,” May 2009 (http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/library/reports/nowhere-to-turn.html), the human rights organization chronicles the effects of what was then six years of displacement by the most ruthless means, which left civilians suffering from a wide range of severe mental disorders, particularly the tens of thousands of girls and women who have been victims of rape. In its meticulously researched study, PHR chronicled in soul-destroying detail some of the devastation among Darfuri refugee girls and women in eastern Chad:
Researchers asked women to rate their physical and mental health status in Darfur and now in Chad on a 1-5 scale with 1 being “very good” and 5 being “poor….” The study indicated a marked deterioration in self-reported mental health, where the average score was 4.90. “I am sad every day (since leaving Darfur). I feel not well in my skin,” explained one respondent. Women who experienced rape (confirmed or highly probable) were three times more likely to report suicidal thoughts than were women who did not report sexual violence.