What is The Darfur Rehabilitation Project?
The Darfur Rehabilitation Project is a U.S.-based Darfurian NGO, advocating for the people, Darfur’s peoples’ rights to live humanely. Actually, we are mobilizing the international community, the U.S. people, and the faith groups, and other entities to advocate for Darfurian rights. We believe that the United States faith groups, they have the moral integrity to help the Darfurians attain the sustainable peace, and they can work with the United States government, and they can leverage the United States institutions to work to realize peace in Darfur. So the Darfur Rehabilitation Project is working closely with all the entities, with all the faith groups, in the United States as well as other European countries for the right of the Darfurians to live humanely.
And how did you yourself get involved?
I am Darfurian myself. My siblings and my whole family is in refugee camps. My area is the first area to be bombarded by the Sudanese government. The area is Habilah. It’s in western Sudan; it’s at the border of the Sudan and Chad. It’s what they called the Masalit community area. My family, the whole family, is pushed out to Chad and up to now they are still in the refugee camps, and we know that the refugee camps themselves were attacked by the Sudanese government and their supported group [the Janjaweed] that is now destabilizing the situation in Chad itself.
Unfortunately, the Sudanese government has succeeded in pushing the poor Darfurians from their villages, from their areas where they are self-sustaining, to the outskirts of some of the suburbs. But now, since they [the Khartoum government] succeeded in the first phase, now they are pushing them to the outskirts of the major cities, and relocating them permanently and the Janjaweed, the proxy militia that the government empowers, is taking their areas, so we are permanently [replacing] the people of Darfur with other entities, with other people that support the government.
What’s the last news that you’ve had from home?
The Sudanese government succeeded in cutting the communications by buying the companies that supply the communication tools to the different Darfurian areas. So now the Darfurians are cut off of any links to the international community. Not only that, but they hampered the aid community. And most of them left Darfur. So they left Darfurians vulnerable to starvation, as well as any human rights abuses from the Sudanese government and their proxy-militia.
So the cutoff of communication, does that mean mobile phones?
Yes. Mobile phones, satellite communication, they are all cut off – any kind of communication. [They did it] by buying the assets of the supplying firms to this communication – international communication and satellite stations.
When did that happen?
That happened recently, in the months of January, February. And so up to now we cannot hear that many incidents because they are cut off. But a lot of incidents are happening right now on the ground. People are dying every day, the starvation is wide spreading. Morbidity rate is higher now than ever in Darfur, because most of the humanitarian organizations, international humanitarian organizations, left the area because of the insecurity. Because of the government blocks to give them permits. So they are more vulnerable than ever.