Wednesday, March 30, 2005

When a Whole Way of Life is Destroyed

Haida talking to Physicians for Human Rights researchers at Kashuni refugee camp.
© for Physicians for Human Rights

John Heffernan of Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) contributes to an editorial published in the International Herald Tribune, When a Whole Way of Life is Destroyed:

Sitting in front of his United Nations-supplied canvas tent in a refugee camp along the Chad-Sudan border, a frail farmer, Nourein, 70, told us how his village was destroyed by eight months of aerial bombardments followed by a ground assault. Without protection from the attacks and assurance that his livelihood will be restored, Nourein is not likely to return home. "I have lost my home, my camel, my cows. My crops have been burned, and the medical clinic has been looted," said Nourein, a father of six, grandfather of 20 and lifelong resident of Furawiya, in North Darfur.

Nourein's story highlights a little-noticed effect of the genocide that has killed 300,000 people in Darfur: what the UN Genocide Convention calls the inflicting of "conditions of life" calculated to bring about a group's demise. The systematic plundering and destruction of houses, wells, crops, livestock and assets, combined with restricted access to humanitarian aid and continuing violence, has devastated the way of life of non-Arab Darfurians. The cultural identity tied to their villages and the fabric of their social structures have been virtually eliminated

PHR has made available a preliminary report of their investigations at Furawiya, as well as a a slide show featuring photos by Michael Wadleigh. They have more information about the situation in Darfur at their site.

posted by Fido the Yak at 10:10 AM.


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