Sudan |

Europe warned of potential new “major” migration crisis

November 26, 2023
Sudan's violent conflict amounts to genocide but could be worse, events in Brussels said. Hundreds of people are killed and seriously injured in bloodshed every day, yet Western countries, including the EU, are said to have remained largely "silent" about events in the region. However, this situation could change quickly if fighting spreads to neighboring countries, resulting in refugees seeking asylum in Europe. This was the central message of the debate held at the Brussels Press Club on 23 November. The European Foundation for Democracy, a political institution based in Brussels, organized the event. This event was timely, as it was just before the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (December 10th). This is a milestone event, and this year's theme is "Equality, Liberty, and Justice for All." Guest speaker Mbacke Ndiaye, an expert on African politics and the Sahel, told reporters there was a risk that the current fighting could spread to neighboring countries. He said this could trigger a new wave of immigration and the potential for up to 25 million new refugees. He warned that this could trigger a massive wave of migration and create a major crisis for the region and ultimately Europe. Another concern is the rise of jihadist groups, which he said are already present and operating in Sudan. He further warned that the current insecurity and tensions could create new safe havens for these organizations, which could pose great risks to the Sahel region. This is important for Europe because many extremist groups in the region have close ties to European organizations, he said. Although the media seem to ignore the issues, there are major potential consequences of what is happening in Darfur for the region including further instability in the region and the impact on other countries in the Sahel and beyond such as Egypt and Libya, plus a new migration crisis – “a major risk for the region and for Europe” – and new safe havens for jihadist groups. “Jihadist groups are already very active in the region and such developments create the perfect environment for jihadist groups to grow stronger. This is a risk for the region, but also for Europe.” Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces, RSF, a Sudanese-Arab militia, is blamed for more than 50 days of attacks on the city’s majority ethnic African tribe. The RSF is a paramilitary organization comprised primarily of Arab groups and an alliance of Arab militias known as the Janjaweed. Founded in 2013, it has its roots in the notorious Janjaweed militia that fought brutally against rebels accused of ethnic cleansing in Darfur. RSF has been accused of human rights abuses, including the massacre of more than 120 protesters in June 2019. M’backe N’diaye asked, “The question is: why the silence by the international community? We see or hear nothing – just total silence and this is disturbing not least when you see huge media coverage of Ukraine and Israel-Hamas in the mainstream media. No one says anything.” M’backe N’diaye said, “I ask myself: How do we make this problem known to the rest of the world? “The number of of people dying is 3 to 4 times bigger than in other conflicts and is estimated that the figure could be 300,000 over the past 20 years. “From time to time we do get some coverage but, even then, the focus is more on the economy than genocide which is another kind of injustice to the ethnic minority under attack.” He was asked to explain what may be behind the apparent media indifference and, on this, he said that one possible reason is that working for the media in Sudan “is very difficult.” The few in the media who do try cover the issue are probably located on the border or outside the country, he said. “But people are being killed and starving and no one is paying attention.” “One problems is that West Sudan is like a no man’s land, with poor infrastructure and facilities, so it is hard for a foreigner to go there and do their job properly. That is a difference with, say, Ukraine. The war in Sudan is a war of poor people.” Another possible reason for such “silence” in the international community is the absence of a functioning civil society or media in the country. “A strong civil society is very important in a democracy but this does not exist there on anything like the same level as elsewhere. “Civil society in Africa barely exists as we know it in the West and there is no altruism or philanthropy either. There is no big movement to say: we have to stop this and do something” In its recent statement the EU said, “The international community cannot turn a blind eye on what is happening in Darfur and allow another genocide to happen in this region.” But M’backe N’diaye says that is exactly what is happening. “It is terrifying to see what is going on and the fact that nothing is being done to talk about all these murders.The aim seems to be to eliminate an entire ethic group and thousands are being killed every day including children and women.  

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