International Relations: Darfur
Over ten years refugees have undergone through intense problems in Darfur. They greatly depended on humanitarian assistance from organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for their survival. In most cases, a term refugee has severally been confused with others like internally displaced persons (IDP), asylum seekers and immigrant. Generally, a refugee is an individual who has gone outside his or her mother country and cannot return due to fears of persecution on ground of religion, race, nationality, political opinion or being a member of certain social group (Abdelnour & Saeed, 2014). On the other hand, an asylum seeker is that individual who has fled from his mother country and has not yet received full acceptance as a refugee in the host country. Last but not least, an immigrant is a person who moves from one country to another, basically to live there permanently (Forsythe, 2012).
Current paper will conduct a comprehensive analysis of Darfur camp in South Sudan to look into the issues that revolve around a refugee camp in this country. Basically, it will focus on the problem that refugees go through, while in these camps, the period a build camp should last after creation and the role of humanitarian relief and security reliefs, as well as the United Nations as pertained to these refugees. The map below represents Sudan as a country with its neighboring nations.
Sudan was conquered by the Egyptians in the year 1874. That was until 1898 when the British took over. Britain ruled the country together with the Egyptians as Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Just after the strike of the 20th century, a great segment of the Sudanese people was converted to Christianity by the British missionaries who also introduced English in the region (Ibrahim, 2013). However, that defined an immense demarcation between the Arab North and the black African animists and Christians in the south. The right to rule in Sudan persisted between Egypt and Britain until 1953 when Anglo-Egyptian was given self-rule. At the beginning of 1955, army officers from the south refused to obey orders (Forsythe, 2012). That triggered a civil war between the north and the south. In that event, the southerners accused the government, which was based in the north, to have forced the southerners to Islamic and Arab culture from the north. Additionally, they accused the government of not fulfilling a promise of making south Sudan autonomous through a federal system of government. Civil wars in this country perpetuated until 1972, approximately 500,000 people are believed to have died as a result of the war. However, upon the signing of Addis Ababa agreement in 1972, southern Sudan autonomous region was formed (Abdelnour & Saeed, 2014).
In 1983, civil war broke again following an obligation from the that time president Gaafar Mohamed Nimeiri to sign a treaty declaring the whole Sudan as a Muslim state under the Sharia Law. That led to the formation of Sudan People's Liberation army (SPLA) by the rebels in the south who fought the government not less than two decades. Vicious massacres of the civilians by government troops became order of the day in the villages. Violence between tribes and ethnic groups was also witnessed. That is believed to have been provoked by the government (Forsythe, 2012). In July 2002, a cease fire was declared between the SPLA and the Sudanese government followed by negotiations that led to a power-sharing government for six years. A referendum was to follow afterwards on self-determination for the south. South Sudan attained independence from Sudan in July 2011. It was as a result of 2005 Peace Agreement that put a cease on longest-running civil war in Africa (Abdelnour & Saeed, 2014).
A refugee camp is a temporary settlement that is built to provide a home for refugees. In many cases, these settlements are established to only last for a short period of time. That can be attributed to the fact that they are overcrowded and there is insufficient infrastructure to sustain people. The sites are also unhygienic and that can lead to incidents of infectious diseases, including epidemics such as cholera and typhoid (Ibrahim, 2013). The site is only required to offer shelter and basic needs, such as food, to the affected personnel before the government finds a solution to settle the refugees. However, some refugee camps can exist for decades where they can grow into permanent settlements. Life in the camps is defined by intensive suffering due to lack of ample food, proper sanitations, insecurity and well-defined shelters. That is evident from the condition depicted in Darfur states where the residents in those camps had constantly been attacked by the rebel armies. The reason behind this is that the army believes that such camps provide support to rebel soldiers. Abject poverty is a norm in these camps; in fact, poverty in Darfur is believed to stand at 93% (Abdelnour & Saeed, 2014). The diagram below is a clear representation of the region Darfur.
The refugees in the displacement process have consistently received assistance from humanitarian groups. That is evident from the existence of peace making group in the country such as African Union/United Nations Hybrid Operation or UNAMID. It is the largest organization in Darfur endowed with the mission of liberating refugees and ensuring that their peace is guaranteed by the government (Ibrahim, 2013). In this regard, it has been involved in consistence peace making process trying to bring the two conflicts groups to reason, basically from the north and the south (Betts, Loescher & Milner, 2012). Similarly, UNHCR has constantly been persuading south Sudan to sign and ratify treaties of relevant conventions as the international front is significant in the protection of refugees. Lately, it has been the main objective of UNHCR to respond to the needs of Sudanese refugees in the camps (Forsythe, 2012). Their first priority is to improve and enhance structures within the camps and improve interventions in the areas of education, water, shelter, health, sanitations food and hygiene to reach refugees minimum requirements (Abdelnour & Saeed, 2014). The next priority will be protection which will include enhancing the civilian character of refugee settlement. Giving good access to children education as a weapon to protect them from child labor and child recruitment, protection to incorporate improving and monitoring of sexual and gender violence and promoting a peaceful coexistence among refugees and the host communities in the area are also very important steps to be taken.
There is a great distinction between the rights governing refugees and those civilians within their mother country. It can be attributed to the fact that the two have different origins. An individual within his or her country has the deliberate right to possess documents that a citizen must have (Ibrahim, 2013). They include documents such as identity cards, birth certificates and passports. On the contrary, a refugee who is known to have traveled from another region has to seek permit to become an accepted refugee in a certain country. In that regard, he or she must comply with the stipulated laws of the host region/or country in order to be approved legally as a refugee. That would mean that if he or she will fail to do so, then he/she will be an asylum seeker rather than a refugee (Betts, Loescher & Milner, 2012). That way, he or she is liable to deportation to his mother country, the refugee is considered to be currently avoiding, as a result of persecution. Though it is the right of refugees to receive support from the government, the assistance is not assured and is often criticized. That may occur because citizens are known to pay taxes, while refugees do not.
Refugees should be protected. That is according to a resolution adopted by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in the 1950s. Their rights, as well as their freedom should be guaranteed in order to improve their future prospects (Forsythe, 2012). It is upon other countries to host them otherwise they would be condemning them to death or rather subjecting them to an intolerable life without sustenance and without rights. However, in their pursuit to undertake peace keeping missions NGOs and organizations such as UNHCR should not undermine or interfere with the governance of any particular state. That is as stated in the United Nation Charter (Ibrahim, 2013). That gives humanitarian and security groups the mandate to look after refugees and internally displaced persons.
Currently, as a new state, south Sudan is involved in active constructivism in order to improve its condition. It has been involved in interaction with other many states to gather ideas and information on how it can develop. That follows its separation from the north that was responsible for the governance of whole Sudan. With that regard, it has embarked on establishment of institutions and core administrative structures of political representation country wide. It is also striving at providing the basic services and requirements to the majority of the population (Betts, Loescher & Milner, 2012). Economically, since its independence the country has suffered acute inflation making its economy poor. The country is defined by limited industry and infrastructures that have imposed prohibitive costs on the procurement and distribution of items and other operational services. The issue is compounded by the factor that south Sudan is a landlocked country with a limited access to the sea (Forsythe, 2012). However, the country is optimistic to benefit from vast oil mine within its jurisdiction upon stabilizing. On the social front, the country continues to face inter-ethnic feuds in different parts of the country. That has led to establishment of internal and cross-border displacement. The number of refugees in south Sudan remains considerably high, about 26,700. That is according to the statistics released between January and August 2013 (Abdelnour & Saeed, 2014).
Consequences as a result of alienation of the state can be viewed from two perspectives: positive and negative. Attaining self-governance means that people in this state will receive freedom that they had for a long time anticipated for. Additionally, they are likely to benefit front the vast natural resources within their borders without being influenced by the north government. On the contrary, they are na?ve in the manner the state will be governed. That is the reason we have seen critical upheavals within the government between the president and his vice president that nearly led to coup d'?tat (Ibrahim, 2013). That might serve an indication that the state was not yet ready for independence.
The UN activities in country in their bid to assist the country's development can be seen as way of manipulating the economy. A process is referred to as interventionism. They have crowded, as well as interfered with the activities of the government in its pursuit to run the state. Their presence there currently does not suffice the argument that they are peace makers or they are providing assistance to refugees in the country (Betts, Loescher & Milner, 2012). They have been there for decades, and now that the country has become an independent state, it is a high time that it is left alone to take care of its affairs.
It can be recommended that the UN leaves alone countries that have gone to some stages of settlement and leave them to manage their affairs. It does not mean that they should dismantle the camps occupied by refugees in those countries, but they should give them space to serve their people, though some assistance in terms of funds is highly recommended. The period in which a camp lasts should be defined by whether the problems facing the refugees have been catered for. It means that they should not be evicted from the camps, while they have not been shown where they would spend their life after that. Governments should also increase their efforts in struggling to make their economies better in order to ensure full support and settlement of refugees in their country. They should improve their infrastructures, industries and harnessing of natural resources.
According to the analysis conducted in Darfur, the rights and freedom of refugees have been greatly regarded. It occurs due to the fact that there exist humanitarian organizations in the country meeting the requirements of refugees. The government has also been seen trying to improve the manner it provides services to the refugees. Though humanitarian group which are allowed by the UN mandate to offer relief services such as food, shelter and food, they are limited to interfere with the governing process of any country. It means that they cannot have control of any administrative post within the government and thus, they are supposed to respect the views and opinions of the host government.