This morning, some sad and disappointing news on the Darfur peace process and another nail in the coffin regarding the Sudanese government’s true intentions vis-à-vis peace in Darfur.
Mandate Darfur, a unique Darfurian-led initiative largely underwritten by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, is working to "shape the future of Darfur around principles of peace, security, justice and development" by engaging Darfurian citizens–including refugees in eastern Chad and internally displaced people, or IDPs, in Darfur–and helping to empower them to participate as stakeholders in a revitalized Darfur peace process.
But today, Mandate Darfur announced that they had been forced to cancel its groundbreaking conference, which intended to bring together hundreds of Darfuri activists in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia next week:
After many months of working with Darfurian civil society to build a mandate for peace, we regret to acknowledge that the Sudanese government is obstructing the safe passage of Darfurian delegates from Sudan , forcing us to cancel the conference.
The Mandate Darfur conference was to be a coming together of genuine representatives of Darfur from across all geographic, ethnic, religious and political backgrounds, including traditional and young leaders and a strong contingent of Darfurian women.
The fact that Khartoum is preventing Darfurian delegates from attending this peaceful, constructive civil society conference in Ethiopia casts a shadow over today’s announcement that the Sudanese government plans to “invite new aid groups to work in Darfur and allow those still operating there to expand their activities.”