9 Apr 2013

Aid donors discussing Darfar

5:23 am on 9 April 2013

An international donor conference is underway in the Gulf state of Qatar to form a strategy to rebuild the Darfur region of Sudan.

The conference is seeking some $US7.2 billion in development aid aimed at making Darfur more self-dependent.

Some 300,000 people are thought to have died during a decade of conflict in Darfur, according to UN estimates. As many as 1.4 million remain homeless.

Sceptics say efforts to bring peace to Darfur are flawed, pointing to continued instability and division.

Demonstrations against the Qatar conference took place across Darfur on Friday by opponents of a peace deal which was signed in Qatar in 2011, but rejected by major rebel groups.

But the BBC reports a draft development strategy issued before the conference said delays would only make recovery harder.

"There will likely never be a time when an ideal set of conditions for recovery is apparent in Darfur," it said.

The conflict in Darfur began in 2003 when rebels began attacking government targets, accusing Khartoum of oppressing black Africans in favour of Arabs.

The Janjaweed militia was accused of carrying out a policy of ethnic cleansing and genocide against Darfur's black African population in response.

Though violence in Darfur has come down from its peak, the BBC reports there are still clashes between government forces, rebels, bandits and rival ethnic groups.

President, Omar al-Bashir is under indictment by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide.