Where Mercy Fails: Darfurs Struggle to Survive
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It isn't. But Gumbo, a small hamlet just west across the Nile River from the capital of Juba, is emblematic of some of South Sudan's considerable challenges and seemingly intractable problems following months of violence that have resulted in thousands dead, hundreds of thousands -- perhaps as many as 1 million -- displaced and uprooted, and a political crisis that seems to be getting worse, not better. Take the issue of the displaced. There are about families who have fled various types of violence in the last three months and settled in Gumbo, a dusty high-plain area that affords a handsome view of Juba and the hills of nearby Nisitu.
The camp is best described as bare-bones: a sparse settlement of donated tents; food provided weekly by the Salesians of Don Bosco; and regular pastoral visits and clothing brought by the Daughters of St. It is an exposed and vulnerable place, unprotected from the high winds and seasonal rains that have just arrived, sometimes with a vengeance. It does have a few saving graces. The U. Yet even in a place that is nowhere as crowded as Tomping, there is something quietly desperate about Gumbo.
It seems lethargic, spent of energy. A key reason: the lived experiences of the camp's residents.
Except for an occasional soldier passing through, there are no adult males here -- this is a camp of children and women who fled to Juba for safety from the violence in the city of Bor. Some of the woman already know they are widows; some yet don't.
She is not sure if her husband perished in violence or is still alive, recruited for armed service. Of her new surroundings, Atoo takes some comfort "that at least we can be among ourselves and cook. Anne Kiragu of the Daughters of St.
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Many cannot read or write, Kiragu said, and they are at a distinct disadvantage because they speak Beri, a language not easily understood by many of those who speak the more common vernacular languages of Juba Arabic and English. Though the women have organized themselves some since coming to the area in February, in the most essential ways, "they are dependent on whatever comes," Kiragu said. They must struggle to secure the basics of food and shelter. Few, if any, believe that the calm that has descended on Juba for now is anything but a temporary lull in an unresolved political crisis that has bled into ethnic conflict, though still has deep political undertones.
At its roots, many observers say, is a power struggle between various political factions generally and between President Salva Kiir, a Dinka, and his former vice president, Riek Machar, a Nuer, specifically. At times, the crisis has dissolved into ethnic violence, in part because of rumor and hearsay and fears by both the Dinka and Nuer ethnic groups that they are being targeted for their ethnicity.
A welcome note was struck Friday when U. The deteriorating situation could spell disaster in a number of ways. Earlier this month, U. At the root of that problem: the massive amount of displacement that has forced tens of thousands off their land, unable to plant crops. Most girls in developing countries miss school during their periods; many eventually dropping out.
Days for Girls aims to do something about that by empowering girls, women, and communities through providing access to sustainable feminine hygiene, as well as menstrual health management training. Various organizations help the cause by making high-quality, washable, reusable feminine hygiene kits. Volunteers from Christ UMC have been assisting the cause by making cloth drawstring bags for the kits since This is an assembly line construction method, with jobs for sewers and non-sewers.
New volunteers are always welcome! For questions about this mission opportunity, contact Sue Nissen through the church office at christumc. Two boys, Musa, 9, and Siddiq, 12, were in a village near the town of Hashaba when it was attacked. After the bombing we ran with our mother.
She brought us [to Oure Cassoni] refugee camp.
Two of our brothers died with our father. Abdelrahim was working in the gold mines in the area of Hashaba when it was attacked.
He remembers RSF soldiers initially coming to the market and asking people about the location of rebels. Then the RSF troops started shooting and torturing people:. Ahmed, a year-old herder from the village of Kobe, near the town Korma, in the locality of El Fasher, described an attack on March 19by six vehicles bearing RSF logos:. Ahmed recognized and identified several of the commanders who captured him and attacked the village, including Alnour Guba, a militia commander from the area of Kutum near Damrat Guba.
lengtihi.tk: Where Mercy Fails
Ahmed provided Human Rights Watch with the names of villages and hamlets attacked and burned around the same time as Kobe. Two of the women said they had been forced to go on long marches through the desert to reach a secure location, which many others on the journey did not survive.
Khadamallah, a year-old mother of two was in the area of Tawila when it was attacked. She told Human Rights Watch that many women were raped during the attacks. After the attack she walked with her family from Tawila to Oure Cassoni with several other families. From late December until the onset of the rainy season in June , the RSF and other Sudanese government forces carried out numerous attacks against villages and towns with great loss of civilian life. The magnitude of the violence during this campaign has yet to be comprehensively documented. They were based in Wadi Marra, which is south of the town of Tabit.
According to media accounts and a witness interviewed by Human Rights Watch, large numbers of government forces, including the RSF, deployed in the areas around the town of Fanga, in early January. Fighting between government forces and rebel armed groups occurred on multiple occasions, including near Fanga on January 1, , around the town of Sarong on January 24, , and in the town of Rockero on March 13, RSF and other government forces were implicated in the overwhelming majority of abuses reported to Human Rights Watch in villages and towns that were either entirely under government control or in villages where rebels were reportedly never present or had left prior to the attacks.
Between February and May , Human Rights Watch researchers interviewed 43 victims and witnesses to abuses carried out by government forces against the civilian population in Jebel Marra and East Jebel Marra from January to March Abuses included extrajudicial killings, mass arbitrary detention, indiscriminate bombing, rape and other sexual violence, and widespread looting and destruction of property, including the burning of entire villages.
Sudanese government aircraft continued to bomb towns and villages in Darfur as they have done for years. Yahya, 55, was in Rowata when it was bombed. My relatives were killed. And my livestock was stolen. Ten relatives were killed.
Some killed by bombing, some by soldiers. Our village was attacked twice. Survivors of the attacks fled primarily to IDP camps around the government-controlled towns of Nertiti, Jildo, and Tawila, to villages inside Jebel Marra and East Jebel Marra with no government presence such as Bouri, or to rebel-controlled and contested areas in Jebel Marra and East Jebel Marra, including areas around Sarong. Nearly all of the displaced fled without any food or water, often in areas where there is no humanitarian access.
The area of Fanga, in Rockero locality, has been a rebel stronghold and area of fighting throughout the 13 years of armed conflict in Darfur. On January 1, , RSF and other Sudanese forces, fought rebel forces and recaptured the area for the first time since the conflict began in Around the time of the attacks on Fanga, RSF and other government forces attacked villages in and around the town of Abu Zerega, which is on the road between El Fasher and Shangil Tobay. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that soldiers killed several civilians, raped women, destroyed numerous water points, and stole many livestock.
They provided Human Rights Watch with the names of dozens of villages that were attacked during the three-week period after the initial attack on Fanga. According to Jaffar, a herder from the area of Abu Zerega, and Moubarak, a traditional leader from the town of Abu Zerega, troops in military uniforms on January 5and 7 attacked several villages and hamlets and stole large numbers of livestock.
Jaffar, who was in the village of Hilat-Leyoon, near Abu Zerega, when it was attacked, believed that the attacks were very well organized and that the uniformed attackers seemed intent on looting livestock. He said they beat him and broke his leg. He was then thrown in the back of a pickup truck along with several other people and animals before being left in the bush.
He spent two days suffering alone in the bush before people found him and help him to return to his village.
To the Government of Sudan
Katwoa, a woman in her 40s, was also abducted by the RSF. She said that soldiers apprehended her along with her livestock before being taken to the forest, tied up, and left for two nights before a female member of the military came and untied her. After the battle, the RSF attacked several villages, including Bardani, a small village immediately northwest of the town of Golo. The RSF reportedly set up a base of operations on a hill called Boro Fugo, which is about one kilometer outside of Bardani.