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Our Choice, Too: On the Edge in Darfur

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The Darfur region of Sudan remains on fire. Nearly 2 years after the United States accused Sudan's government of genocide, over 200,000 have perished, and 2.5 million are homeless. In 2004 African Union troops were deployed to Darfur for their first-ever peace keeping mission. Against great odds, the've made a difference, struggling to secure an area the size of Texas with just 7,000 troops. But now the AU says violence is worsening and it may have to withdraw troops for lack of funds. The international community is moving fitfully towards a new approach, shifting responsibility for policing from an African force, to the United Nations. In this report we go on the ground in Darfur. "Darfur: On the Ground" Produced by Jon Sawyer, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting [distant conversation] Kalma Camp, South Darfur Kalma Camp is probably the biggest camp for internally displaced people in the world. Alfred Zumiago, Kalma Camp Coordinator We have approximately 90,000 people.They are here from all parts of South Darfur and also West Darfur. With 90,000 people living in these conditions, it is a very crowded camp. It's not big in size. The organization is working to provide the people living here with about 22 liters of water per person, per day. The program provides people here with food equivalent to 2,100 calories per day. [stick thumping] The African Union presence has been incredibly important. I was here when they arrived. From the first day, the African Union police became a difference in the camp. Gradually these campers become more safe, especially after the presence of the protection force from the African Union military. In November their were 11 incidents, killings, rapes, in the area where the firewood patrol is organized, and now in the last months, four incidents, so it has had a major impact. The firewood patrol is organized in a specific area in the northern part of the camp. Three times a week the African Union, together with the government of Sudan's police, from 8 o'clock in the morning, they follow the women going to fetch firewood and they are there until 2 o'clock in the afternoon. Approximately 1,000 women go out under their protection and they all come back. [kids conversing loudly] It is a pleasure to see people leading some sort of a normal life, and being protected and safe. [helicopter] A.U. base and displaced persons camp - Tawila, North Darfur You've heard them talking about peace. They want peace tomorrow. How do they get it? Lt. Col Wisdom Bleboo (Ghana) - Tawila Sector Commander It is by the national support, with the American government support, with the extended African Union, any way they can do it. Then the people of Darfur can see the peace that they are yearning for, everyday. Success in Darfur is good for the African Union and the whole of Africa, for that matter. We are looking for success and we are committed. We want to work. We want to build this for the people of Darfur and we need the necessary support. [noisy crowd, yelling loudly] Anti-United Nations protest - Hyala, South Darfur Jean Nordmann - U.N. Representative, Nyala A few days ago, the Secretary-General of the United Nations has announced that he would like to have the U.N. come in, as peacekeepers within Sudan and special areas in Darfur, and I think the people misunderstood the speech of Mr. Kofi Annan and believe that, in fact, they are going to be invaded by Westerners. [crowd shouting] I think that they don't understand that the idea of the Secretary-General was more to assist the peacekeepers because it's true that A.U. is only subsidized by few countries. It's true that A.U. is doing a wonderful job, according to us here in Nyala, but they don't have the means that they should have. [♪trumpet and drums♪] The Sudanese say that they would like to take over with a minimum of 12,000 troops. Lt. Col. Alex Angogo (Kenya) - Tine Site Commander, North Darfur Right now the A.U. has 25,000. A.U. medal ceremony marking one year of service If you consider the same strength that A.U. has, there would still be the same status quo. As the Kenyan colonel points out, the crucial issue is not whether the troops are wearing green or blue helmets, but that the force have the guns, money and people it needs. Otherwise, the international community's talk of addressing one of the world's worst humanitarian crises will remain just that: talk. [♪percussion instruments♪] Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria Grave Situation: The Darfur conflict is mainly between non-Arab rebels and Arab Janjaweed millitias (Source:BBC) Sudan's gov. is accused of backing Janjaweed attacks on non-Arab villagers and refugees The US calls the 3 year-old Darfur crisis genocide (Source: Reuters, Amnesty International) Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria "Our Choice, Too: On the Edge in Darfur" Produced by: Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in association with... Azimuth Media, World Security Insititute Reported by: Jon Sawyer Camera: Abdul Nasser Abdoun, Videocairosat Edited by: Steve Sapienza, Robin Bell Photo Credits: Briand Steidle, Getty Images, AP/Wide World Photo Thanks to the generous support of: Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, World Security Institute, Arthur Lieber The Roundtable, Eve and Daniel McCarey, Acropole Hotel, Khartoum ©2006 Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

Video Details

Duration: 6 minutes and 37 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and Azimuth Media
Director: Jon Sawyer
Views: 173
Posted by: pulitzercenter on Apr 25, 2008

This video was produced by students at Georgetown University as part of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting's collaboration with a Justice and Peace class. Students used Pulitzer Center reporting projects to create awareness campaigns about the issues raised in the reporting. The original reporting can be found here:

And information about the Georgetown collaboration can be found here:

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