Here are some interesting maps and history of Darfur and South Sudan:
United Nations Joint Logistics Centre – Since August 2006, the UNJLC has maintained a GIS-mapping capacity in Juba, Southern Sudan, aiming to improve humanitarian logistics coordination. Foremost in that effort has been to accurately map the roads of Southern Sudan and their cargo capacity. Accurate and up-to-date road mapping serves both the humanitarian community and the broader government and private sector needs for basic infrastructure information in the dynamic post-conflict environment.
Logistics Cluster Geoportal – This shows GIS compiled information on roads, ports and logistical obstructions to moving humanitarian aid. According to Logistic Cluster, the “basic infrastructure in the Republic of South Sudan is severely underdeveloped with only approximately 100 km of paved roads… In the northern parts of the country, road infrastructure is crippled by heavy rains during the rainy season cutting off many areas for several months at a time.
Google Earth – In 2009, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, in partnership with Google Earth, released a mapping initiative identifying 3,300 Darfur villages damaged or completely destroyed.
Amnesty International uses satellite evidence of grave crimes continuing in Darfur.
The geo-political conflicts in western and southern Sudan, which have been going on for decades, have strong ethnic overtones. Generally, the conflict is between an Islamic, Arab north and the non-Muslim black Africans of the south and to the west in Darfur. In 2004 UN officials identified that pro-government Arab Janjaweed militias were carrying out systematic killings of non-Arab villagers in Darfur. US secretary of State described Darfur killings as genocide.
The beginning of recent conflict in Darfur area of Sudan began in 2003 as a newly formed Sudan Liberation Movement (Darfur rebels) carried out violent attacks on Sudanese Armed Forces. The SLM rebels in the western region of Darfur rose up against the government, claiming the region was being neglected by Khartoum.
In 2004, as the Sudanese Armed Forces moved to quell rebel uprising in western region of Darfur and hundreds of thousands of refugees fled to neighboring Chad to the west.
By 2006, when a Darfur Peace Agreement was signed, the fighting had resulted in an estimated 350,000 killed and almost 2 million persons displaced. There were numerous UN soldiers present in Sudan since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, but none in Darfur.
In 2009 the International Criminal Court in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Sudan’s President Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
A boundary between North and an independent South Sudan was arbitrated in court in the Hague in 2009 by shrinking the disputed Avyei region and placing the major Heglig oil field in the north and the Darfur war was declared over.
Early in 2011 the southern part of Sudan and Sudan were still trying to resolve succession disputes. Finally on July 9, 2011 South Sudan achieved independence and became the Republic of South Sudan.
Current Geopolitical Status
Control of oil production is still a basis of conflict. The New York Times reported that “By early 2012, the two nations [Sudan and Republic of South Sudan] were locked in an exceedingly dangerous game of brinkmanship over billions of gallons of oil, seizing tankers, shutting down wells and imperiling the tenuous, American-backed peace.
While most of the oil lies in South Sudan, the pipelines and refineries are in the north. Because of this, oil was once thought to be the glue that would hold the two nations together and prevent a conflict. Instead, it seems, oil is becoming the fuse.”
Early in 2012, South Sudan halted oil production over disputes on high oil export fees. In April, 2012 border fighting resumed, with South Sudan troops temporarily occupying the oil field and border town of Heglig before being driven out. Sudanese warplanes raided the Bentiu area in south Sudan this past week, so the conflict persists.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reported in February 2012 that “more than 100,000 people in Darfur have left the sprawling camps where they had taken refuge for nearly a decade and headed home to their villages over the past year, the biggest return of displaced people since the war began in 2003 and a sign that one of the world’s most infamous conflicts may have decisively cooled.”
Personally, I doubt that the human right abuses in Darfur are over – probably just the focus of attention has shifted to the disputes between Sudan and South Sudan. What do you know about this or think?