Darfur Conflict

The largest country in Africa, Sudan is also the site of some of the continent's biggest challenges. Omar al-Bashir, the nation's Islamist leader who came to power in a 1989 coup, has been charged with war crimes by the International Criminal Court for directing the mass killing and rape that has devastated Sudan’s Darfur region since 2003. A decades-old civil war between the North and South ended with a fragile peace in 2005, but an upcoming vote on Southern independence threatens to derail the peace process. George Clooney and John Prendergast on how commitment from all parties involved—including the U.S.—can keep war from once again consuming this troubled nation. Click here to read the elements of a possible peace deal.

William Daniels / Panos

William Daniels / Panos

Internally Displaced People (IDP) waiting for water distribution in Muhadjeria, south Darfur.

Sven Torfinn / Panos

Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) soldiers, most of them teenagers, armed with Kalashnikov AK47 rifles. The SLA rebels are currently controlling Gereida but have no means to provide security outside the town. They are surrounded by Arab Janjaweed nomadic tribes who they blame for all the security incidents in the area. Government-backed Janjaweed militias have been terrorizing the population of Darfur since 2003, provoking violence and widespread insecurity. In the countryside, where a state of lawlessness exists, villages are often looted and local people risk being attacked and raped by roaming militants.

Marco Longari, AFP / Getty Images

Relatives mourn over the body of 1-year-old Ali, who died of malnutrition June 21, 2004 in a refugee camp in El-Geneina in the Darfur, Sudan. More than 80,000 displaced people reached Mornay to try to escape ethnic violence in the Darfur region. After surviving massacres carried out by pro-government militias on their villages, these refugees are now virtual prisoners in the camp as the same militias now control the camp's periphery conducting violent attacks and rapes on villagers who go out looking for food and essential items according to Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) (Doctors without Borders), the French medical charity.

Albert Gonzalez Farran, AFP / Getty Images

Internally displaced refugee Maria Yahia Bakur, 45-years-old, a mother of eight children, outside her new home in a camp in Tawilla, close to the UNAMID compound on September 26, 2010. Bakur, a widow, fled her home in Tabara following an attack in the conflict-stricken northern Darfur region.

Philippe Huguen, AFP / Getty Images

Sudanese refugee children press up against a fence in Djabal refugee camp near Goz Beida southern Chad on March 15, 2009. United Nations forces took over command from European Union peacekeepers here to protect refugees and displaced people in Chad and the Central African Republic.

Scott Nelson / Getty Images

Heavily armed rebel Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) fighters patrol looking for Janjaweed militiamen near their base in the Darfur region of Sudan on September 7, 2004 in Misterei, Sudan.

Tim Dirven / Panos

A young boy calling out in pain following an operation at Iridimi refugee camp. His mother has collapsed beside him, upset by the child's suffering. Thousands of Sudanese refugees have been forced to flee their homes due to the escalating violence in the Darfur region and are now living in temporary refugee camps in eastern Chad.

Chip East / SIPA

Children play in the smoke from burning trash at the Djabal refugee camp in Goz Beida, Chad, for people who have fled their homes after fighting in the Darfur region of Sudan, June 14, 2006.

Tim Dirven / Panos

Children carrying water in the Dogdore IDP camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs). Thousands of displaced Chadians have been forced to flee their homes due to the escalating violence in eastern Chad and are now living in temporary IDP camps together with Sudanese refugees who have fled the conflict in Darfur.


The body of a Janjaweed killed in the attack, next to the body of his horse. This is evidence that the attack was led by the Janjaweed from Darfur, April 2007.

Susan Schulman / Reportage by Getty Images

The mass graves of the 35 people killed, with Kalma camp visible in the background, October 20, 2008. On August 25, GoS (Government of Sudan) forces allegedly attacked the IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) at Kalma camp, which is home to 90,000 IDPs. GoS soldiers positioned themselves to the left, with the IDPs to the right, and shot indiscriminately at the unarmed IDPs, killing at least 37, and injuring at least 100. UNAMID now has a 24-hour presence at the camp, but their complete failure to protect the community from the attack, and their tardy arrival after the event, delayed by being obliged to wait four hours for travel permission from Sudanese authorities, has infuriated the IDP communities.

Marco Di Lauro / Getty Images

Sudanese refugees pray on June 20, 2009 in Oure Cassoni refugee camp in Bahai, Chad.

Philippe Huguen, AFP / Getty Images

Sudanese refugees fill buckets with water at the Djabal Camp, southern Chad, on March 13, 2009. The European Union will keep more than 2,000 peacekeepers in Chad and the Central African Republic for a few months after United Nations troops take over command, a top EU officer said on March 12. EUFOR began a year-long mission to protect refugees from Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region as well as people displaced by the rebel insurgency in Chad.

Mustafa Ozer, AFP / Getty Images

A Turkish doctor examines a refugee at the Turkish Red Crescent Hospital in the city of Nyala, the capital of South Darfur state in the western part of the Sudan, August 3, 2007.

Ramzi Haidar, AFP / Getty Images

Rebels from the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) in Tina, a small village next to Tawila, a town located 70 kms west of al-Fasher, capital of Northern Darfur, May 20, 2006. This branch of the SLM loyal to Abdulwaheed Mohamed Nur didn't sign the peace deal with Khartoum.

Uriel Sinai / Getty Images

A Sudanese refugee woman and her baby are treated for malnutrition at a local health centre in the Goz Amir Refugee Camp on April 19, 2007 in Chad. Tensions between Chad and Sudan had risen over the last few weeks, following border clashes which left 17 Sudanese soldiers dead as a result of Chadian army attack. Around 200,000 Sudanese refugees have fled to neighbouring Chad from Darfur, and more the 100,000 Chadians had to flee their homes when the violence crossed the border.

Desirey Minkoh, AFP / Getty Images

The village of Tundubai in Sudan's Darfur region, burnt down by the marauding Janjaweed Arab militias is seen, July 31, 2004.

Marco Di Lauro / Getty Images

Newly arrived Sudanese refugees, who escaped bombing from the Sudanese air force in their villages in Darfur, sit under trees as they wait for permission from the UNHCR (United Nation High Commission for Refugees) to settle inside the refugee camp on June 21, 2009 outside Oure Cassoni refugee camp in Bahai, Chad. Since 2004 over 260,000 Sudanese refugees from Darfur crossed into eastern Chad. They live in 12 camps along the border. Over 85 percent of them are women and children. The latest influx of refugees arrived after an attack on three villages in western Sudan in February 2008. Since April 2006 regular rebel attacks on Chadian villages in the border area of Darfur have led to a spiral of escalating violence throughout eastern Chad. Over the last three years about 170,000 Chadians have been forced to flee their villages, often leaving all their belongings behind. In January 2009 over 15,000 refugees from the Central African Republic have entered southeastern Chad, following clashes between Rounga rebels and the national army of the CAR.

Marco Di Lauro / Getty Images

Sudanese refugees attend classes at a school on June 21, 2009 in Oure Cassoni refugee camp in Bahai, Chad. Since 2004 over 260,000 Sudanese refugees from Darfur crossed into eastern Chad. They live in 12 camps along the border.

Scott Nelson / Getty Images

A rebel fighter from the Sudanese Justice and Equality Movement shows his scars and missing fingers suffered from a Janjaweed attack on his village several months earlier while sitting at his base in the Darfur region of Sudan, September 9, 2004.


Refugees hold up drawings depicting Janjaweed attacks, in Djabal refugee camp, Goz Beida, eastern Chad, August 10, 2007.

Jim Watson, AFP / Getty Images

A refugee tries to console her child at the Abu Shouk refugee camp near El Fasher in Darfur, Sudan, August 24, 2004.