Khartoum Is Starving The People of Darfur

Last August, I, along with Greg Simpkins of the Africa Subcommittee staff, visited Kalma and Mukjar refugee camps in South and West Darfur. We saw first hand how food aid was making the difference between life and death for the thousands of people in the camps. We spoke with many people whose lives had been utterly devastated by the ravages of war, but who were keeping hope alive thanks to the gifts of international humanitarian aid and food aid.

However, our visit to these camps raised a question. What is the Government of Sudan, as well as other developing country governments, going to do about contributing to the elimination of hunger by opening their own stocks of food or by facilitating, rather than hampering, the delivery of food to hungry people in their countries? In Sudan, the government has not only failed to contribute to the feeding of its own people, but has actually interfered with the supply of food to those in need in the Darfur camps like the ones we visited. Moreover, the Government of Sudan placed a commercial embargo on Kalma camp while we were there that prevented the sale of food and other necessary items to those able to buy them in the camps. We in the developed world should help feed those in need, but it also the responsibility of the governments in question to respond to the needs of their own people.