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Inside Story

Rebuilding Darfur

Should international donations be spent on building infrastructure or on facilitating peace keeping measures?

Last Modified: 08 Apr 2013 11:39
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Ten years after the start of the fighting in Darfur, world leaders say it is time to rebuild.

Delegates from around the world have arrived in Doha, Qatar's capital, with the objective to raise billions of dollars to pay for infrastructure, food and clean water.

"This conference will address a major question, that after 10 years of war and destruction, let us take Darfur to another step; from relief, from emergency - let them take these people to development, to reconstruction and let them have a positive message [for] the people of Darfur, that the entire world is with you and that through peace and stability you can rebuild your country and you can make Darfur again powerful and prosperous."

Atta al-Mannan Bakhait, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperaton

The UK took a lead role on Sunday, pledging $16.5m before the conference began but other countries still have a long way to go to reach their goal of more than $7bn.

The UN says it needs more than $170m a year to provide humanitarian assistance to refugees displaced by the conflict - hundreds of thousands of Darfur refugees are still living in neighbouring Chad. And while many say they dream of going home, they are also afraid of what awaits them. 

The UN currently has only half of the required amount and it does not include the cost of UN peacekeepers.

The Donor Conference is just the latest step in a peace process that is still ongoing.

In March 2003, violence broke out  between the government and rebels from Darfur. Nearly 300 thousand people were killed over a decade of fighting and famine.

In 2011, the rebels signed a peace agreement with the government during talks in the Qatari capital but not everyone accepted the deal.

And in February, hundreds were killed during fighting over a gold mine in North Darfur - dozens of villages were destroyed, and more than 100,000 people displaced.

So, can Darfur be rebuilt without peace on the ground? And with much of the world's attention now focused on other conflicts, is there still enough money to be allocated to it?

Inside Story, with presenter Fauziah Ibrahim, discusses with guests: Atta al-Mannan Bakhait, the assistant secretary general for humanitarian affairs at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC); Edward Thomas, fellow at the Rift Valley Institute; and Ahmed Hussein Adam, the foreign secretary of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

"The reconstruction and development of Darfur is a noble mission ... but what the people of Darfur need right now is international will to end the violence and to end the genocide which is taking place in Darfur right now.

"This conference, let's be very clear about it, they just want to give a rosy and false picture about what is going on, on the ground. They want to say there is peace while Darfur right now is at war ... if they really want to help Darfur they have to have the will to support the end of violence ...  "

- Ahmed Hussein Adam, foreign secretary of the Justice and Equality Movement 

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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