U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met with women in refugee camps who have been raped in Sudan’s Darfur province.
The conflict in Darfur erupted in 2003, when Sudanese rebel groups of African ethnicity demanded power-sharing with the Arab Sudanese who controlled the central government in Khartoum. The Sudanese government and the Arab “Janjaweed” militias that it arms have carried out numerous attacks and massacres of civilians of the African Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa ethnic groups in Darfur.
Violence against women in Darfur has been a major problem throughout the conflict. The visit of Secretary of State Rice was part of a continuing U.S. effort to press for steps to end the violence and achieve a political settlement in Darfur. Secretary of State Rice says there has been some progress, but much more remains to be done. She emphasized that the U.S. is looking for actions, not words.
The United Nations has estimated that over two million Sudanese have been forced from their homes in Darfur on Sudan’s western border with Chad; and as many as one-hundred-eighty-thousand have died in the last two years. “I am here," said Secretary of State Rice, "because the United States cares about what happens to these people. I am here to see what more we can do." Ms. Rice said that the U.S. has contributed seven-hundred-million dollars in humanitarian aid -- food, shelter, health care, and education for the refugees:
“Not only is America giving new money, we are revolutionizing how much of that money is given, together with Africans who believe in good governance, democracy, and open society.”
At the same time, the United States is providing over one-hundred-fifty million dollars to support expansion of the African Union mission in Darfur. That mission is having a major impact in ending violence in the areas where it is deployed.
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.