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 Washington Solidarity Group FOCUS Darfur 2006

More than three years into the crisis, Sudan's western region of Darfur is acknowledged to be a humanitarian and human rights tragedy of the first order: as many as 5,000 people - overwhelmingly civilians - are dying every month. The situation continues to deteriorate: atrocity crimes are continuing, people are still dying in large numbers of malnutrition and disease, although humanitarian access has improved. The international community is failing to protect the civilians of Dafur or curb the role of outside parties in exacerbating divisions to geopolitical advantage.

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Darfur described the massive scope of atrocities carried out in the territory on all sides. The situation on the ground shows a number of negative trends, which have been developing since the last quarter of 2004: deteriorating security, including the targeting of humanitarian workers; mounting civilian casualties; the ceasefire in shambles; the negotiation process at a standstill; the rebel movements imploding; a rise in cross-border raids in Chad; and new armed movements appearing in Darfur and neighbouring states. Chaos and a culture of impunity are taking root in the region.

The humanitarian situation remains catastrophic, due to the ongoing violence, layers of aid obstruction, the lack of an overall humanitarian strategic plan, and the weakened state of displaced Sudanese. Refugees and internally displaced civilians (IDPs), a disproprotionate number of them women are in terribly weakened states, subject to sexual abuse and without adequate shelter. The numbers of at-risk civilians continue to increase. And as need far outstrips the ability of agencies to deliver aid, localised famine is feared.

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** MARCH 2006 **

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