The history of the world is filled with numerous conflicts that have led to much suffering among civilians. The United Nations estimates the deaths caused by military conflicts to be over 1,000 people every year. There is no any given time in history when the world has been without armed conflict but the rate seems to increase with each passing year.
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According to the UN, most of those who suffer in the current conflicts are civilians especially women and children. Today, it is estimated that 75% of those who die in conflicts are civilians unlike the past where only 5% of non-combatants died during conflicts. One country that has been experiencing military conflict is Sudan.
The conflict in Sudan began in 2003 after people in the Darfur region accused the government of favoring the Arabs in the region over the black African people. The black Africans formed a group known as Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) while the government armed the Arabs who were referred to as Janjaweed.
The start of the war marked the end of a long period of tension over land and grazing rights between the Arabs who are pastoralists and the minority blacks who are farmers. With no other means of survival and the Sudanese government apparently favoring the Arabs, the black Africans resulted to conflict to fight for their rights.
The Sudanese government led by President Omar al-Bashir has been accused of aiding the Arab militias by providing them with weapons and even sending soldiers to fight alongside them.
Survivors of the fight claim that the government would initiate air raids while the Arab militias would drive in the region on horses and camels, killing the men and raping women and children. The United Nations and the Africa Union have sent a strong peace keeping mission into the country to help in restoring peace under a joint force referred to Unamid.
Although this mission has succeeded in bringing some relative calm, there are still some isolated attacks targeting the black minorities. The United Nations, the Arab League, Qatar, and neighboring Chad and Kenya have been in the forefront in trying to broker peace between the warring factions.
There has been conflicting reports regarding the number of the dead with the UN putting the figure at 300,000 while President Bashir has said that only 10,000 people have died so far. Although the war has been ongoing for a long time, the U.S has not done anything much to bring peace in the country.
This is however seen to be changing since the U.S secretary of state has assured that America will take a more active approach toward bringing lasting peace in the country. Despite these promises, the U.S needs to play a more active role in bringing lasting peace to Sudan due to its vast influence. At the look of things, the prospects of peace are in the offing.
In April, the country held the first national election in more than two decades something that was seen as a step in bringing lasting peace. In the first week of 2011, the country is expected to hold a national referendum where people are expected to authorize Southern Sudan to become an autonomous state. This will bring an end to the continuous fighting in the region.
By examining the nature of recent global conflicts, it is easy to note that conflicts cause immense economic and social damage to the involved countries. Production of food becomes impossible in the regions experiencing conflicts and what follows is starvation.
Widespread conflict causes children and women to live in misery and in most cases it threatens even the very existence of the people’s culture. In order to prevent conflicts, there is need to engage in mediation and provide humanitarian help for the affected regions. In most cases, regions undergoing conflicts do not develop since the development assistance goes into supporting the war.