May 22, 2018

We don’t know what is on the list of benchmarks, but we can tell what is not

It has been several weeks since U.S. activists made a concerted effort to get the collapse of SGBV services in Darfur onto the radar of Secretary Clinton, General Gration and Ambassador Rice. Letters were sent, meetings were held, follow-up was provided.

I wouldn’t have expected anything to actually shift on the ground within this timeframe, but I would have thought that when going to speak before an audience of activists at the USHMM tonight, Rice might have at least prepared an answer on what she is doing on the issue.

So when GI-Net President, Mark Hanis put forward a question about when the women of Darfur could expect to see a to see a reinstatement of the services they lost following the March expulsions, I expected her to come up with something better than “I can’t answer that specifically.”

Actually what she meant was she can’t answer it at all. She gave some generalities about what UNAMID is trying to do (it’s true, their human rights officers in particular are trying and – if you actually talk to them – they themselves will tell you that they are not in a position to cover the gaps), and that humanitarian services have played a huge role for women (no kidding).

I think it’s pretty safe to say that getting the Sudanese government to permit the restoration of services for rape survivors is not in that “classified annex” of specific benchmarks by which the Obama Administration is measuring progress.

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