Peace Agreement is the Same Game for War and its Escalation in Sudan

Adeeb Yousif


The theoretical physicist, Albert Einstein once said, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results". This article intends to analyze the Government of Sudan’s (GoS’s) use of entering peace agreements with armed rebel groups in order to maintain political power, while at the same time orchestrating the continuance of conflict. Political scientists and conflict analysts have described a peace treaty as a contract between two or more conflicting parties; it is intended to end a violent conflict, or to significantly transform a conflict, so that it can be more constructively addressed(Yawanarajah, 2003). This is the ideal on which many conflict resolution scholars and practitioners have written and worked for. Unfortunately in Sudan, “peace treaties” mean a continuation of war, while at the same time complicating and creating new conflict dynamics. As a result of peace treaties, tribal fighting escalates, peacekeepers experience an increase in violence, and crime and corruption increase.
I argue that the agenda and perception of the conflicting parties is not for achieving lasting peace. The Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) was signed on May 5, 2006 and followed by many other fragile agreements. The most recent one was the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) May 2011?—which has also failed to bring peace or stability to Darfur. The agreement rather is creating more problems in the region, and the suffering continues. Peace agreements create the impression that the violence will end and create the false sense of hope for security, development, and increased ability to have basic needs met. Civilians and victims had a new hope of security, development, and increased prosperity to meet their basic human needs.
Another objective of this research is to develop recommendations to address the risk of such peace agreements, with a particular focus on peace education as being the best way to secure peace and stability in Sudan. While peace education will be necessary within Sudanese communities, it can also help transform corrupted Sudanese institutions to become democratic institutions over time.
On Saturday, October 10th, 2015, the Sudan National Dialogue officially began in the absence of the real opposition groups most actively involved in the conflict. The conference seemed to be for those groups who are loyal to the Government of Sudan (GoS) or those that seek positions within the government, although there were some other, more legitimate people involved as well. Many peace treaties that the GoS signed  included political accommodation for parties including the armed rebel groups. Those agreements either collapsed or helped to escalate civil wars by creating intertribal fights, eventually resulting in changing the conflict dimensions. Signing peace agreements is one among other tactics the GoS has been using to maintain power in Sudan.
The record of the current regime in signing peace agreements and subsequently dishonoring them is amazing. During the past ten years, 45 peace agreements have been signed between the GoS and various opposition groups including the armed rebel groups. Most of the agreements were dishonored by the GoS. Regrettably, not even one of these agreements has brought a period of peace or security to Darfur, South Kordofan or Blue Nile. These unfulfilled agreements have increased the level of insecurity and created numerous divisions among the rebel groups. Meanwhile, the social fabric of ethnic groups in the conflicting areas is being actively destroyed. A more accurate term for these documents would be war agreements as opposed to peace agreements.
The GoS has rarely honored or respected any protocols orconventions either For both the rebel signatories and the government, peace negotiation has become a ruse for their own personal gain in political positioning and job creation. The greatest challenge still facing civilians to this day is the need for security and protection in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile. In order to understand what is needed to achieve peace among all involved parties it is necessary to evaluate all of the previous failed agreements in order to understand what did not work, what went wrong, and how to write a peace agreement that will not fail.

Background of the Darfur Conflicts

Conflict has existed since the beginning of mankind. Some conflicts arise as a result of scarcity of resources or over territory while other conflicts are as a result of differences between individuals, groups or countries. In Darfur’s case, the contemporary history of the conflict can be traced back to the early 1980s. Darfur is home to 85 tribes, both of African and Arab decent, who lived together for many centuries practicing their different cultures and intermarriage between tribes. It's not easy to recognize the ethnic affiliations of most of the people of Darfur simply by their color or physical characteristics, including the Arab tribes (O’Fahey, 2008).
Darfurians practice three main economic activities—farming, herding and trading. The region has experienced local conflicts and tribal disputes over resources, however nothing compared to the level of the current conflict. The Darfur conflict began in 2003, when the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) launched attacks against the GoS military installations as part of a campaign to fight against the historic political and economic marginalization of Darfur (Natsios, 2012). Since then, the conflict has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians, widespread sexual assaults, and the displacement of millions from their homes to camps with limited humanitarian services and poor security. Darfur, previously a fairly secluded region, has now been the discussion in the media, parliaments, governments and various human rights organizations around the world.
Scholars characterize the current conflict in different and distinct ways. Flint discusses the situation as an ethnic conflict between Arabs and Africans (Flint, 2008). Mamdani looks at the conflict as one between farmers and nomads, driven by environmental scarcity, security imbalance, political instability and natural disasters including famine and desertification that have led to forced migration (Mamdani, 2009). Cockett views it as a conflict over land (Cockett, 2010). Ali positions the conflict as the marginalized against those in power or in political competition for power (Ali, 2014). The above characteristics describe facets of the situation and it is therefore better to be called the Darfur conflicts. Groups moved to other areas for safety and a better life; communities left the countryside in favor of urban areas, moved from the north to mid and South Darfur, and large groups of pastoralists moved south. Groups collided, creating pressure and competition for limited resources and basic human needs.

The New Trajectories in a Deepening Conflict

In the ten years since the first splitting occurred between the original two rebel groups, the Sudanese Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), the conflict has experienced over fifty rebel faction splits. There are new rebel groups in the region motivated by tribal prejudice and tribal affiliation, including Arab rebel groups such as the Sudanese Awakening Revolutionary Council (SARC) led by Musa Helal, the National Patriotic Movement for Change Sudan (NPMC) led by Adam Alekhashein, and the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) led by Anwar Khater (Flint & Sudan Human Security Baseline Assessment, 2009). The Janjaweed militia, recruited by the GoS on a tribal basis to fight against African tribes, consists mostly of the Arab ethnic group (International Crisis Group, 2014). Tribal mobilization is increasing tribal violence not only between the rebel groups, but also within the Janjaweed militia, which has divided on a tribal and clan basis and resulted in intertribal fighting[i]. Some of the Janjaweed militia were frustrated by the GoS and declared war against them. The Oppressed Soldiers is the first Arab group, which rebelled against the GoS due to payment delay.

What is Going On?

Since 2005 many peace negotiations have taken place about the Sudanese civil wars resulting in several fragile peace agreements and their supplements. But there is neither ‘Positive Peace’ nor ‘Negative Peace’ according to Johan Galtung 1996[ii]. Rather the agreements have increased the level of insecurity, systematic rape, massacres, persecution, torture, arbitrary arrests, assassinations, and other types of war crimes, committed on a regular basis, The State abolished the role of civil society, canceled rights and fundamental freedoms. It established a theocratic State, which has been a disaster and leading to the destruction of Sudan, as well as exacerbated the war in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile, which has taken a discriminatory character.
These conflicts have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and the displacement of millions from their homes. It has deepened class differences as wealth has become concentrated in the hands of 5% of the population while more than half of the population living below the poverty line (The World Bank, 2011). This is in spite of the extraction and production and export of oil. Where the rest of the country is concerned, there has been little or no support for agricultural and livestock production, industrial development, and education and health services. The dynamics of production and development have stopped, and corruption has spread in a way that is unrivaled in the past. Sudan's foreign debt reached $45.1 billion in 2015 (The World Bank, 2015). The privatization phenomena—the withdrawal of subsidies of basic goods—has had the effect of removing the role of the state out of education and health services. This has made the situation even worse. All of these events are happening while the GoS is ready to sign more agreements supported by the international community.

The Significance of the Article

This article will contribute to the understanding of the new dynamic in the Darfur conflict that resulted by signing fragile peace agreements. The significance of this article is that no research has been done about this topic. Moreover the human rights violations that occur as a result of signing peace agreements have never been documented. Furthermore, these violations have been generating a culture of revenge, which affects not only the signatories but also the community at large. The Darfur conflict in Sudan is often viewed as an ethnic conflict between Arabs against Africans (Flint, 2008). Other scholars have characterized it as a conflict between farmers and nomads spurred by environmental scarcity (Mamdani, 2010). A third common position is that it is a conflict between the marginalized against those in power, or a political competition for power (Ali, 2014). Even though the above assessments are in many ways accurate, this research advances the argument that the escalation of these conflicts are borne out of what is termed the “Peace Agreements.”

Theoretical Framework

Attempts to bring peace to Darfur were made by the UN, AU, and the governments of other countries. None of those efforts resulted in an agreement to make peace long-lasting in Darfur. The problem may be explained by Ronald Paris’s theory of an insufficient liberal approach to peace missions. Paris claims that international peace efforts have liberal agendas, which are organized around promoting liberal values (Paris, 2002). Some elements of this problem are seen in the past peace initiatives in Darfur where terms of the UN guided agreement looked good on paper but couldn’t be realized in practice. For instance, the Doha cease-fire agreement signed in 2011 looked promising, but the peace-building framework has been unattainable until this day. Agenda items such as power sharing, wealth sharing, human rights, justice and reconciliation, and internal dialogue are all wonderful democratic concepts that unfortunately can’t be applied that fast. For instance, many Sudanese people don’t have an opportunity to attend the voting events due to poor infrastructure and lack of safety. Therefore, democratic elections that are immensely important in the West may be inapplicable in Sudan until all elements are put in place. The lack of structure and checks and balances also enables people like Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, the President of Sudan, to stay in power for years. Paris suggests that those liberal ideals should not be an immediate part of peace talks. He rather argues for the peace agreement that can be realistically applied on the ground. [Is there a citation for this?]
John Paul Lederach takes a similar but more applicable approach to traditional diplomacy. Lederach argues for conflict transformation rather than conflict resolution (Lederach, 1997). He puts a strong emphasis on building peace in phases and over time rather than creating a pre-established agenda and checking off boxes. That may be a solution that Darfur needs. With the system that’s in place now, there are very few immediate options that may work. Even if al-Bashir steps down and rebels put their representatives in the leadership positions, there is no guarantee that the new person would do a better job. Therefore, creating a strong civil society and taking small steps towards building institutions and peace may be safer and more applicable.
A major obstacle to the peace-talks has been the involvement of so many domestic, regional and international actors. The division between the opposition forces, and recent conflicts that have emerged between non-Arab factions have made it increasingly difficult to set up a coordinated coalition of opposition forces, which has ultimately played into the hands of the government. Furthermore, the regional transformations, realignments, and political shifts in neighboring countries like Chad, South Sudan and Libya has also brought in additional issues of cross-border arms flows and collusion. On the broader international scene, it is interesting to note how the al-Bashir regime is making use of his country’s economic ties with great powers like China and Russia to ensure their support in the Security Council, and how his commitment to Arab partners like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt is expected to assure their support of his cause.
Conflict resolution theory largely emphasizes the need for consistency between rival parties. Unfortunately, this consistency can be heavily undermined when a large number of actors are present at the negotiating table. The logic behind this is that one actor’s position will naturally influence another’s point of view, who will most likely alter his own position in order to better accommodate his rival’s, and therefore impact other actors’ perspectives in a never ending loop.
Another aspect to the conflict that has hampered attempts at peace is the high level of distrust between the opposition forces and Government of Sudan, and the lack of commitment shown by either side at maintaining peace. Both sides have in the past taken advantage of weak peace treaty monitoring provisions to inflict harm onto the other side. For instance, the Government of Sudan has often run contrary to its own commitments when supporting the Janjaweed, crushing insurgencies militarily, and endangering human rights.
Successful conflict resolution demands that each side can be held accountable, that infringements on treaties are punishable, and that successful monitoring is present. So far, each of these has been lacking in Darfur. All attempts at holding militias or the government accountable have failed or been ineffective, and the monitoring of events is extremely difficult and many times inaccurate. The only consequence faced by the Government of Sudan has been US sanctions which ultimately impact the civilian population rather than the government itself.
A further obstacle to the Darfur peace process is the fact that many representatives at the negotiating table are not direct stakeholders in the conflict. While the war has come to shape the lives of hundreds of thousands of Darfurians, the representatives of different parties have for the most part lived very comfortable lives in sheltered urban areas and Western countries or capital cities of African countries. This serves as a great hindrance to the actual progress of peace talks because most actors involved see no real interest for themselves to speed up the process.
Conflict resolution theory does suggest that a successful peace treaty requires a decent amount of deliberation, negotiation and coordination before it can successfully be implemented. Nevertheless, action must be taken in order to prevent further conflict and human rights violations while the peace treaty is being worked out. In that regard, the UN and the AU have failed. Not only are they unable to monitor ceasefire violations from both sides, but they have failed at bringing a halt to the fighting going on in the country. Furthermore, while some members of the peace process would be right in asking for extensions of time, a firm deadline is needed in order to break the deadlock that has gripped so many of these negotiations.
The final aspect to the peace process that serves to undermine it is the self-interested nature of all present actors and the zero-sum nature of the situation. Because most actors present at the negotiation table feel relatively comfortable with their current situation, they look the at the peace process as a way to further their objectives and seek concessions from others. However, because nobody is willing to give, the peace-process naturally tends to break down without third party intervention. What has therefore happened is that the United Nations has incentivized parties to show up to the negotiation table, and has continued to do so throughout the peace process. The US has incentivized Sudan’s government to resolve the conflict by promising to lift sanctions and offer economic development aid.
The Darfur conflict is a product of the historic political and economic relegation of the people of Darfur by the Government of Sudan. (Khalid, 2015)In over a decade of fighting, hundreds of thousands of innocent souls have died, millions have been displaced, and the senseless act of rape and torture is prevalent. Establishing a peaceful resolution to the conflict in Darfur is extremely challenging, involves several different internal and external players, and will gain legitimacy only if agreed upon by the Government of Sudan, as well as the primary groups who stand in opposition to the GoS. The protracted nature of the Darfurian conflict further complicates a path to resolution, and must be understood and acknowledged in order to move forward. A deep level of fragmentation exists between and within opposition groups, and is in many ways the most significant challenge for peace. An equally complex challenge to creating peace in Darfur is due to the uncompromising stance of the GoS, coupled with their outright denial regarding their involvement and unwillingness to accept any responsibility for the millions who have suffered as a result of their actions (Khalid, 2015). Furthermore, a meaningful resolution must secure humanitarian aid and ensure the safety and protection of all internally displaced people who intend on returning to their homeland.
The conflict in Darfur is in many ways what Azar refers to as a protracted social conflict. First, within this conflict there are, and have been “hostile interactions which extend over long periods of time with sporadic outbreaks of open warfare fluctuating in frequency and intensity” (Ramsbotham, 2011). Second, this conflict involves and has affected society as a whole, and has influenced the way in which national identity and social solidarity are defined. Also, as a protracted social-ethnic conflict, there has been “a strong capacity to grow in terms of the number of involved actors and sub-actors and in terms of goals, objectives and types of grievances that sustain the conflict setting” (Ramsbotham, 2011). Because fundamental grievances have not been addressed, deception and confusion occur regarding the communication between the opposition groups and with the GoS. The primary opposition groups Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), as well as the many different splinter groups which have formed as extensions each claim to have their own set of goals, objectives and grievances, which has led to a great deal of fragmentation between and within opposition groups.
While Pearlman and Cunningham suggest that in some cases, “the emergence or existence of multiple factions appears to create a bargaining partner that facilitates settlement with the state”, in the case of Darfur, fragmentation between and within opposition parties has both complicated and prevented an effective and long term resolution (Pearlman & Cunningham, 2012). Pearlman suggests that fragmentation can create chances for opposition parties to challenge a peace agreement, and at the same time shape their individual incentives. For instance, there have been several attempts by some of the opposition group’s leadership to negotiate with the GoS while others within the group, or among other groups play the role of the spoiler, with the intention of undermining the negotiations in fear of losing their own power, legitimacy, or interests.
Additionally, opposition fragmentation has created what Driscoll refers to as a “coalition formation game between various regime and rebel groups” where members of opposition leadership are convinced to change allegiance, and he insists that the result can give rise to divisions within opposition groups (Pearlman & Cunningham, 2012). The countless leadership realignments and movement of troops between opposition parties further exacerbates the level of fragmentation among the opposition in Darfur. In fact, “The UN and UNAMID often fail to identify armed players and label attackers as unidentified armed groups,” which inhibits their ability to prevent violence and provide solutions addressing the various types of violence that occurs outside of the opposition and GoS(International Crisis Group, 2015). It is clear that the fragmentation among opposition groups in the Darfur conflict has limited opposition power and influence in relation to the GoS, and the creation of a peace agreement.
Since the civil war, interpersonal violence, tribal clashes, level of crimes, has skyrocketed, due to many factors including GoS policies, rebel divisions, and the increase of weaponry and the new culture of violence in the area. Much of the infrastructure in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile was destroyed in the war, forcing people to move to new, previously unpopulated areas. Many top-down approaches were considered failures, but the new zone of peace approach used the elective approach, which employed tactics that included a focus on the wants and needs of community members, rather than an outsider intervention. The process focused more on the goals for the future, rather than the mistakes of the past to help refocus the community. Programs like the Culture of Peace Program focus primarily on redirecting the community to proceed by looking through a positive lens, instead of their former rust tinted glasses. Sampson writes, “If one approached conflict with a sense of fear and a conviction that conflict never results in anything positive, the person’s response would likely be negative, produce destructive results, and therefore reinforce those negative beliefs” (Sampson, Abu-Nimer, & Liebler, 2009).

International Intervention

The international community has tried almost every possible solution to mitigate the Darfur conflict. They have imposed sanctions, humanitarian aid, justice intervention, peace processes, and international peacekeepers. Unfortunately none of these interventions were able to bring peace to Darfur.  
The United Nations (UN) concern about the Darfur conflict began in early 2004, when the criticism circle against the GoS was widened due to the atrocities committed in Darfur and the displaced civilians. The UN called on the government to initiate a dialogue with the rebels in Darfur and to stop the armed militia of the government that terrorized residents. On March 20th, 2004, the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan Mukesh Kapila said: "Darfur region is experiencing the worst humanitarian crisis in the world" (Kapila & Lewis, 2013). In May 2004 the Security Council issued a resolution calling on the GoS in order to assume their responsibilities and disarm the Janjaweed and other armed groups.


In June 2004, the Security Council adopted resolution 1556, which imposed sanctions and a ban on the import and export of military equipment to non-governmental entities, which included the Janjaweed and rebel faction (Solomon, 2004). In 2005 the Security Council approved its resolution 1591 for extending the sanctions to include, in addition to the military embargo, other measures, including a travel ban on some individuals and a freeze on financial assets. The penalties also included rebel leaders, the former Sudanese Air Force director, and one of the leaders of the Janjaweed militia.

Justice Intervention

On March 31, 2005 in resolution 1593, the Security Council referred the situation in Darfur to the ICC prosecutor for investigation and prosecution. The decision was based on the recommendation of an international commission of inquiry, which found that violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law were continuing in Darfur and that the Sudanese justice system was unwilling and unable to address the crimes. Darfur was the first situation referred by the Security Council to the ICC (KAIDBEY, 2010). On March 4, 2009 the ICC issuance of an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan signaled that even those at the top may be held to account for mass murder, rape and torture, as noted by Human Rights Watch, (Human Rights Watch (Organization), 2008). The ICC judges granted the warrant for Bashir, a first for a sitting head of state, on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes for his role in orchestrating Sudan’s abusive counterinsurgency campaign in Darfur. Before President al-Bashir was indicted the ICC already had issued of an arrest warrant for two Ministers and a Janjaweed leader in 2007. Unfortunately, they  have yet to be arrested.

International Peacekeepers

In 2005 the Security Council adopted resolution 1590 to send a peacekeeping mission. In 2006, the Security Council issued resolution 1706, which gave a mandate to the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNAMIS) to strengthen the presence of African Union forces in Darfur. In the same year, the decision was made for resolution 1755 to also strengthen the presence of African forces and provide logistical and military support and adoption of the so-called heavy equipment package.  In July 2007 the Security Council passed resolution 1769, which authorized the deployment of forces, the so-called hybrid of the African Union and the United Nations (UNAMID), so the strength of the force in Darfur was about 26,000 soldiers and civil police (Adzei-Tuadzra, 2013)(2007).

Peace Process

Being Sudanese, I have asked myself repeatedly why my country has been embroiled in various civil wars for 50 of its 60 years of independence. Despite the many peace agreements that have been signed, in his book Southern Sudan: Too Many Agreements Dishonored, Abel Alier has argued about the lack of political will of the northern elites. The GoS, the rebel splinters and other political opposition parties have been signing many peace agreements. Unfortunately, the GoS has a very poor track record in honoring or respecting any protocols, conventions or agreements. The contemporary history of the current regime in signing peace agreements and dishonoring them is amazing. During the past ten years, 45 peace agreements have been signed between the GoS and various opposition groups including the armed rebel groups. Most of the agreements are characterized by many as having no integrity, no accountability, no transparency, no professionalism and no objectivity. Regrettably, not even one of these agreements has brought peace or security to Darfur, South Kordofan or Blue Nile. Rather, these unfulfilled agreements have increased the level of insecurity and created numerous divisions among the rebel groups.
Generating a different kind and level of corruption, these agreements were designed to accommodate opposition parties including the armed rebel groups within the GoS system. Moreover they never address any restrictive laws in Darfur or any on the conflicting areas. Meanwhile, the social fabric of ethnic groups in the conflicting areas is being destroyed. It is fair to call these “War Agreements” rather than peace agreements.
Before the Khartoum Peace Agreement was dishonored, the Djibouti Agreement was already demolished. Before the Cairo Agreement was victimized, the Eastern Sudan Peace Agreement (EPA) was already demolished. Before the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) collapsed, and Mini Minnawi went back to the bush, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was manipulated, and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLAM-N) resumed fighting. It would appear that if any agreement lasted in Sudan, it was a war agreement. Therefore, the situation in Darfur is not ripe for peaceful settlement right now. Ripeness theory suggests that parties resolve their conflict only when they are ready to do so–when alternative, usually unilateral, means of achieving a satisfactory result are blocked and the parties feel that they are in an uncomfortable and costly predicament. At that ripe moment, they seek or are amenable to proposals that offer a way out. This has been mentioned as most studies on peaceful settlement of disputes see the substance of the proposals for a solution as the key to a successful resolution of conflict, a growing focus of attention shows that a second and equally necessary key lies in the timing of efforts for resolution (Amer, 2007).

Lessons Learned

  • In protracted conflicts it is not sufficient to only detail the beginning of the process; it is important, and perhaps essential to reach agreement on at least the principles of longer-term final or permanent status issues.
  • While a final agreement, accompanied by formal handshakes, can provide a safe environment to address difficult social, political, economic, and military issues, it does not guarantee peace. It is the masses of ordinary people and how they live with each other that will guarantee peace and the true implementation of any agreement.
  • Protracted conflicts in which there is little or no trust and confidence require external mechanisms for verification of implementation of the agreements, external mechanisms for insuring compliance, and external mechanisms for external dispute resolution.
  • Democracy and democratic institution building is essential and peace processes must be “civilized” – the role of the military must be reduced not just military to military.
  • Peace processes must also take place from the bottom-up.

The Way Forward

Before proposing ways in which to achieve justice, mitigate the conflict and reach a sustainable peace in Darfur, it is important to point out that the Darfur conflict did not begin yesterday, neither will it end tomorrow, nor will this conflict be resolved by trial and error. There is a need to consider peace education as the best way to achieve and guarantee lasting peace. Peace education will enable the conflicting parties, the affected populations, victims and the perpetrators to be aware of peace, and will allow having a depth of awareness on the value of peace. That will be the time when they all understand what peace means to each one of them. It will be the time when they can live in peace and functionally coexist.
As Albert Einstein once said, "No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it. We have to learn to see the world anew." Can you give a citation for this, please? The strategies advocated here provide a fresh perspective on a long-standing conflict. It is clear the current strategies and policies on the Darfur conflict are not working. The national policy-makers, the rebel signatories to many peace agreements, and those with power have a different understanding of peace, which has little to do to with addressing the root cause of the conflict. This has resulted in creating more greed and grievances and Darfurians’ feel abandoned. Therefore those with the power to act need to re-think their approach and take urgent alternative action in developing a supplemental peace education curriculum.


For over 12 years, the global community has watched the situation in Darfur and to some extent worked to bring the civil war in Sudan to an end. These attempts have not yet brought peace, stability or justice; the suffering in the region continues, possibly at its worst condition since the conflict began. The people of Darfur have lived in fear, amongst violence, trying to survive and keep their families intact. Children in Darfur have only known war, unable to experience their culture and practice their traditional ways of living. As the government and militia wage a war, the innocent people of Darfur suffer the consequences and are faced with extremely challenging situations to live and coexist with one another. Conflict and violence has now entered the internally displaced people (IDP) camps and at times divides communities and families.

An intervention that has not yet been implemented in the region to interrupt the cycle of violence and create hope and positive change in the region is peace education. Peace education can help all levels of society, starting from the communities living in the region as well as the diaspora, to the top institutions within the country. Indeed it is one of the solutions to make Sudan avoid chaos, anarchy and lawlessness in the future. It is one of the ways to stop the ongoing systematic rape, massacres, persecution, torture, arbitrary arrests, assassination, war crimes and crimes against humanity and all other forms of brutal atrocities, and disastrous conflicts. It can mitigate the latent undersurface of future conflicts. And it can stop the bloodshed and stop the misery of those innocent civilians in Sudan and beyond.

[i] In 2006, Awlad Janoub fought against Hutia, resulting in a large displacement. In 2009, Rizeigat fought against Beni Hussein. In 2010, Misseriya fought against Salamat. In 2012, Misseriya fought against Ta'aisha. In 2013 Beni Halba fought against Gmir. All these are Arab ethnic groups.
[ii] Galtung, differentiate between ‘negative peace’ and ‘positive peace’ Negative peace refers to the absence of violence. When, for example, “truce” “cessation of hostilities,” “ceasefire,” and “armistice” a negative peace will ensue. It is negative because something undesirable stopped happening (e.g. the violence stopped, the oppression ended). While Positive peace is filled with positive content such as restoration of relationships, the creation of social systems that serve the needs of the whole population and the constructive resolution of conflict.


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