Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Africa: Oct '07

IWPR report on Darfur gives victims of conflict a voice and sets scene for roundtable debate.
By an IWPR
IWPR this month produced a special report aimed at giving victims of the Darfur conflict a voice and a chance to have their opinions - which are so often neglected in the western media - heard.



IWPR staff spent months talking to people displaced in camps, as well as Sudanese NGO workers, lawyers and journalists, finding out about their experience of the conflict, their awareness of the International Criminal Court and its role in prosecuting those suspected of greatest responsibility for atrocities committed.



The report, entitled ICC Struggles to Reach Out to Darfuris, was translated into French and Arabic on IWPR’s website and republished around the world. It provided the backbone for a round-table discussion on Darfur, called Voices From the Ground.



Hosted in conjunction with Radio Netherlands Worldwide, the discussion featured a panel of experts, including a female Sudanese NGO worker who was flown over from Darfur especially to participate.



Hafiz Mohammed of Justice Africa, who had just returned from Sudan, provided insight on the political climate in Khartoum, while IWPR Executive Director Tony Borden spoke of the challenges of getting information in and out of Darfur, without endangering lives.



The ICC was represented by Beatrice Le Fraper du Hellen, head of the cooperation division of the prosecutor’s office.



Dozens of reporters, activists, academics and members of the international justice community turned up to hear the panelists’ first-hand experiences of living in and working in Darfur.



Radio Netherlands broadcast several clips of interviews with people living in camps for internally displaced people in Darfur, some of whom spoke Arabic. Their words were translated into English for the purpose of the event, and the clips are now on the websites of both Radio Netherlands and IWPR.



Participants had the opportunity to pose questions to the panelists. Even those well acquainted with the situation gained something from the event.



“Although I’m really informed, I learned new things and have now first-hand knowledge, thanks to the panel and IWPR,” said international relations student Jort Hemmer.



Reporters from Een Vandaag, a national Dutch evening television news programme, interviewed International Justice Reporter Katy Glassborow on the opinions of Darfur victims.



An edition of Een Vandaag will juxtapose clips of the interview with Katy with excerpts of an interview they carried out with ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.



The interview will air on November 8 and 9, and can be viewed on www.eenvandaag.nl



The Netherlands’ Darfur Media Week began on November 5, and several newspapers and television news programmes used our report, round-table discussions and panelists as context.