Amnesty International recently reported the bombing, burning, and looting of villages and the raping of women in South Sudan by Sudanese government forces. Not only did the forces prevent United Nations peacekeepers from going to the region to protect civilians, but they are also believed to have used chemical weapons. Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Sudan’s president, has been indicted on charges of genocide. Prosecution has only been halted because “world powers have not moved to arrest him.” It is estimated that this violence has displaced over 100,000 people since the beginning of this year. Over the course of the conflict surrounding Darfur in a clash between government forces, pro-government militias and rebel groups in the past decade, more than two million people have been displaced and more than tens of thousands have been killed.
In the most recent “scorched earth” attack, most civilians were killed fleeing the attacks or by bombings. Anyone who resisted giving up their property or tried to prevent rapes was also killed. Serious violations of international humanitarian and international human rights laws are being committed by Sudanese government forces. World powers have repeatedly promised to halt these kinds of mass atrocities in war zones, but attention remains elsewhere. What will it take for world powers to care? Unlike ISIS, the Sudanese government poses little threat to Western nations. Yet for the millions of people who have lost their homes, their lives, and their dignity, the impact the past decade of conflict has had cannot be overstated.