Home | Comment & Analysis    Tuesday 21 May 2013

Unity and reconciliation necessary for sustainable peace in Darfur


By Adeeb Yousif

May 20, 2013 -The biggest challenge in the Darfur conflict today is divisions. These divisions have created misunderstanding and mistrust within Darfurian society. Moreover they have and are still playing a negative role in the region, making peace difficult to achieve. Therefore I am suggesting a regional unity and reconciliation between all entities as well as tribes in Darfur, as a step toward sustainable peace. One school of thought in conflict resolution argues that reconciliation process needs to begin after peace. However Kelman Herbert, (2010) pointed out that reconciliation at macro and micro process could start at any time during the conflict. Thereby in this article I propose a plan on peace-making: regional unity and reconciliation between Darfurian as first step, then collectively can fight for lasting peace, in which it address the root causes of the Darfur conflict.

Throughout its 57-years of independence, Sudan has been embroiled in conflict for about 47-years and 10-years of negative peace. This has led to many peace negotiations, yet the country has never had peace despite many agreements that have been signed. One of these agreements the comprehensive peace agreement CPA signed in January 2005 between the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Movement (SPLA/M) and the National Congress Party (NCP) brought to an end the longest civil war in Africa. The options on the table between the two parties were either an attractive unity, or peaceful divorce. Since little had been achieved to create unity, a referendum that was conducted in early 2011 led to a declaration of independence by Republic of South Sudan on July 9th 2011.

In Darfur the first peace accord was the Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) that was signed in May 2006 between the Sudan Liberation Army/Movement (SLA/M) of Minni Minnawi and the National Congress Party (NCP), followed by other 24-agreements including the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD) signed in July 2013. Regrettably, none of these agreements were able to bring peace or security to Darfur, rather they have created increasing numbers of factions among Darfur rebel groups and helped create new rebel groups while also destroying the social fabric of Darfur ethnic groups. While a final agreement, accompanied by formal handshakes, can provide a safer 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 (or doom) peace and the true implementation of any agreement.

Before I propose details about Darfur regional unity and reconciliation I would like to point out that there are two possible means for change. First, through military victory as happen in many countries, a fresh example is Libya. However with no rule of law, a breaking justice system, tribalisation of government organs and security, the process may end in replacing an old dictatorship by a new one. Second, through peaceful means, where it includes all parties to the conflict. The goal is to build a sustainable future of cooperation between all people in Darfur not just “Africans” or just “Arabs”, but everyone. Different sectors of the Darfur communities should be considered even the Janjaweed. Those militias are part of the problem thereby they should be part of long and short-term solution; they have been used by the Government of Sudan, and today they are victimised by the same government. Without their involvement in such processes, peace might be difficult. To achieve peace, social justice, social fabric, political reform and democratic transformation, first we need to ripen the situation to make it ready for doing so. Then empower the local population and give them the tools by which they can make their own decisions about the kind of society they wish to live in.

The significant relationships:

It is important to understand the past, and ways that people had lived in peace previously to develop positive peace building. To achieve lasting peace in Darfur requires comprehensive participation of real actors of conflicting parties as well as the affected population. It is equally important to consider the past relationships between all Darfur tribes and their ethnic background and to stop ignoring the most significant non-Arab and Arab relationships that will, in fact, eventually give birth to a nonviolent future. This process needs to develop from the Bottom-Up Processing parallel with Top-Down processing in order to create strong results that everyone was involved with. Among other problems, which complicate resolving the Darfur conflict, is that actors have been dealing with symptoms of the conflict, but not the conflict itself.

The successful pursuit in way of resolving thorny disputes such as the Darfur case requires a unity process across time and space. This is especially the case since Darfur was one of the most stable areas in Sudan, if not in the African continent with outstanding peaceful coexistence and social relations between tribes. Thereby without unity, there can be no partial agreements, nor decisions taken, nor defeat and victory in battlefields. Good intentions alone cannot achieve sustainable peace. Conflict resolution process and sustainable peace must have a social process base.

This reconciliation is distinguished from other levels by the larger number of people participating from different sectors. It is therefore more effective and active in the community especially as the region cannot reach its programs to all sectors of the people. Training of community leaders for the dissemination of knowledge and the concept of reconciliation to their communities is especially critical. Peace-building process is an approach that starts from the bottom up to establish and enable the foundations for a comprehensive regional reconciliation. This process needs a third party, an “Intermediate” considered the most important. The concept of community reconciliation relates to the grassroots and non-grassroots leaders and is therefore close to all social circles and often plays a mediating role between national and local levels. It also plays this role between international and national organisations, most of which graduated from the initiatives of civil society organisations. It has especially recently played important roles in the development and strengthening of the culture of peace.

In such processes, it is important to consider and take it into account the role of women, not only because women represent over half the population, but because women are the biggest role in shaping the future of nations and assume direct responsibility in the upbringing of generations. Women in Darfur are playing multiple roles in development, social stability, and economic and political realms. Women contribute to the workforce in the state, both directly and indirectly, by producing goods for marketing and therefore contributes to the national income. In Darfur at the family level, women are responsible for securing food and fuel, and taking care of the children and the elderly and preserving the heritage of family and the transferring knowledge through oral story telling.

A woman that is conscious of women’s issues in today’s world is the hope of achieving peace and keeping the social fabric, transferring the good values, traditions, and respect for diversity. They can also play great role in establishing social peace, as peace does not only mean the absence of war (Martin Luther). This is not just a political phenomenon, but reflects the social process that has many levels, which include peace at the family and community level, and then on the regional and international levels as well. It also includes "inner peace, peace with oneself, and this kind of peace is necessary in order to create a peaceful world. Through this unity and reconciliation, it is possible to stop the bloodshed and stop the miseries of Darfurian innocent civilians. Reconciliation in Darfur would help create a ripe situation for lasting peace. It is the best solution to making Darfur avoid a continued future of chaos, revenge, anarchy and lawlessness. And indeed it is the way to stop the ongoing disastrous conflicts and mitigate latent under-the-surface future conflicts.

Adeeb Yousif is PhD. Student in the program of the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution (S-CAR) at George Mason University

The views expressed in the 'Comment and Analysis' section are solely the opinions of the writers. The veracity of any claims made are the responsibility of the author not Sudan Tribune.

If you want to submit an opinion piece or an analysis please email it to comment@sudantribune.com

Sudan Tribune reserves the right to edit articles before publication. Please include your full name, relevant personal information and political affiliations.
Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

Obituary: Ahmed Ibrahim Dreij 2020-09-28 11:36:14 Ahmed Ibrahim Dreij is an Open History Book for Readers, Whether He Was Alive or Deceased in the Grace of God by Mahmoud A. Suleiman Dear noble reader, this article comes out of the habit, (...)

BlindsSelf-confidence and preparedness against Disasters in Sudan 2020-09-21 11:46:04 Why things are only getting worse and the papers are filled with stories of gloom and doom in Sudan? By Mahmoud A. Suleiman The answer to the previous questions needs to know the reasons first, (...)

South Sudan: On Right of Access to Information and Media 2020-09-19 15:01:51 By Roger Alfred Yoron Modi South Sudan’s Right of Access to Information Act, 2013, in Section 35, enshrines the following: 1- The Minister (Minister responsible for Information and Broadcasting) (...)


Latest Press Releases

Sudan: Performing arts is not a crime, assaulting women and artists is! 2020-09-20 08:54:28 The Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) Sudan is still struggling with militant Islamist ideology KHARTOUM: Central Khartoum Primary Court issued a verdict against five (...)

Civil Society Statement in Response to The Law of Various Amendments 2020-08-14 07:11:00 A Collaborative Civil Society Statement in Response to The Law of Various Amendments (Abolishing and Amending Provisions Restricting Freedom) – Exposing ‘a wolf in sheep’s clothing’ Sudanese women (...)

Remarks by SRF leaders at the Friend of Sudan meeting on peace 2020-08-13 07:58:58 Chairman of the Friends of Sudan Conference, Your Excellency, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, The Prime Minister of Sudan and the participating team from the (...)


Copyright © 2003-2020 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.