Conflict in DarfurPublished on 1 November 2016 Hansard and Statements by Senator Mobina Jaffer
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer:
Honourable senators, I rise today to speak about the continuing conflict in Darfur, Sudan, a conflict along ethnic and tribal lines.
Canada has a proud history of promoting peace in Darfur. To demonstrate this, I would like to share a memory of my experience in Darfur from 2003.
At that time, Prime Minister Martin asked me to go to Al- Fashir in Darfur. During my time there, I visited a camp, organized by a Canadian woman officer, consisting mostly of women and children escaping from violence. They had nothing in that camp, and they were starving. However, thanks to the funding from Canada, UNICEF was able to set up schools at the camp.
When I arrived in the United Nations plane at Al-Fashir, the mothers at the camp surrounded me to thank our Prime Minister and Canadians for giving their children an education. I was told that while the children may be starving and living under such dire circumstances now, the education Canadians brought them gave them hope for the future.
I can say with pride that Canada left a lasting impact in Darfur through our actions. However, peace has not yet arrived in Darfur, as violence continues there to this day. This became clear to me recently as I attended a conference in Washington, D.C., organized by the Darfur Women Action Group. This event was organized by Niemat Ahmadi, who worked hard with Canadians to bring 17 women from Darfur to the peace process in 2005.
At that conference, I was approached by Darfuri women who recalled Canada’s accomplishments, like how Canada had brought policewomen to Darfur to teach the police how to investigate rape. They spoke nostalgically of how Canada had been a partner with Darfuri women and stated that now they had to face the violence alone.
These Darfuri women wanted me to ask Canadians not to abandon them now. Honourable senators, I rise today to ask you to join me in calling for resumed support for Darfur in the Sudan. We have been a vital source of support for them in the past and can help them once again in a time of great need.