Darfur Withers as Sudan Sells FoodBackground on Darfur
Genocide Then, Genocide Now A Call for Immediate Action in Darfur
NYT OpEd commentaries on Darfur, week of July 7, 2008ENOUGH comments on warrent issued for Al-BashirOpinion Piece from the Wall Street Journal by the Chairman of the Sudanese Liberation Movement
China has begun shifting its position on Darfur, stepping outside its diplomatic comfort zone to quietly push Sudan to accept the world’s largest peacekeeping force, diplomats and analysts say. New York Times articleGlobe for DarfurDream 4 Darfur
Joint Statement on Sudan: Presiding Bishops Urge Prayers for Peace, International Action for Stability
by The Rev. Mark S. Hanson
, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
and The Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori
, The Episcopal Church
June 4, 2008
Over the past several weeks, we have watched with great sorrow as the new outbreak of violence in Sudan has threatened the resumption of widespread conflict in a nation just three years removed from decades of civil war. Our sense of foreboding is heightened because the violence has come in and around Abyei, a town whose history, resources, and proximity to the border between northern and southern Sudan make it a proving-ground for the success or failure of the nation's still-young peace agreement. At the present moment, untold numbers of people have been killed, much of Abyei has been burned to the ground, and as many as 120,000 people have been displaced from their homes. Urgent action from the international community is necessary to address the present suffering and safeguard against the resumption of widespread and de-centralized fighting across a country already destabilized by the unchecked and catastrophic war in its western Darfur region. In the coming days, we urge all Americans to pray for peace in the Sudan and to call for strong action from the international community to restore stability in a land whose people have been entangled far too long in violence.
First, there is an urgent need for humanitarian assistance—both through government agencies like USAID and through private giving—in order to assist those newly displaced from their homes who now suffer without food, clean water, or shelter. (Please visit ELCA International Disaster Response or Episcopal Relief and Development linked below, to learn how you can give.) Second, increased diplomatic pressure from the international community, including neighbor states and allies of the Sudanese government, is necessary to demand that northern Sudanese military units withdraw from Abyei immediately and allow a comprehensive international assessment of the cause and effects of the conflict. Third, the United States and other parties to Sudan's 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement should insist on full and immediate implementation of the CPA and subsequent agreements, especially as they relate to Abyei. This includes provisions respecting clear borders, fair sharing of resources, and autonomous local governance in the South. These steps are necessary for the remainder of the peace process to unfold as envisioned by its drafters and to avoid the pitfalls we have seen in other areas of implementation such as the current census.
Recently, each of us has had the opportunity to hear firsthand reports of the situation from Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul, the leader of Sudan's four million Episcopalians, as well as from members of a joint Episcopal-Lutheran delegation that traveled to southern Sudan last month. We have heard stories of great hope and courage, but also of the fragility of peace and the dire humanitarian consequences a resumption of war would bring. We hope this joint statement may raise awareness of the crisis, and urge Episcopalians and Lutherans to send a copy of it to their elected officials. In these difficult days, we pray that God, whose blessed Son "came to preach peace to those who are far off and those who are near," would grant wisdom and strength to our brothers and sisters in Sudan, as well as inspiration and purpose to all who watch from a distance and wish to help by heart, hand, or voice.
Gifts to ELCA International Disaster Response, designated for "Sudan Crisis" will be used in full - 100% - for this ongoing disaster response. Gifts may be sent through ELCA congregations, by phone at 1-800-638-3522, online at ELCA
or mailed to ELCA International Disaster Response, P.O. Box 71764, Chicago, IL 60694-1764.
To make a donation to Episcopal Relief and Development?s "Sudan Fund," visit Online
or call 1-800-334-7626, ext. 5129. Gifts can be mailed to: Episcopal Relief and Development "Sudan Fund" P.O. Box 7058, Merrifield, VA 22116-7058.
Darfur Diary May 2008
It is with a deep sense of grief and anger that we inform you that on Sunday, May 4 at approximately 2 PM, the village of Shegeg Karo in North Darfur was attacked by an Antonov aircraft. According to information gathered by the villagers, the Antonov hovered for a long time and then bombed repeatedly, hitting the market and killing 6 students from the Shegeg Karo school. Part of “Darfur Diaries” was filmed in Shegeg Karo. Dero, our guide, translator, and dear friend in Darfur, had built the Shegeg Karo school, teaching the children of the village. When the conflict began he stopped teaching out of fear for the children’s safety. Shegeg Karo had been largely quiet since early 2005, so we asked Dero if he wanted our help to start the school again and he enthusiastically agreed. On May 4, 2007, we held a fundraiser with Mia Farrow to raise the funds to launch the Shegeg Karo school. The school started in September 2007 with 230 students. Until the bombing, exactly one year to the date after the fundraiser, the Shegeg Karo School of Peace was providing education and hope to the children in the village. We were originally told that one classroom was destroyed in the bombing. Later, we learned that the school was not directly hit; the 6 students were killed as they left school and were passing through the market. The youngest child killed was a five year old kindergarten student.
20 shops (most of the market) were destroyed. A reported 5 other people were killed in the market, including a 70-year old man and others injured. There are 3 hand pumps in Shegeg Karo. 1 was already not working. Of the remaining hand pumps, 1 was destroyed, leaving only 1 working hand pump in Shegeg Karo. We have been told that, since the attack, villagers have waited all night long to get a jerry can of water.
No help arrived to the village until Wednesday, May 7. By then, villagers had already driven the four most seriously injured people, including an 8-year old girl named Fatma and a 14-year old boy named Adeen, to a town called Bir Maza, about 4 hours over grueling desert terrain. The International Committee for the Red Cross met them there. We learned on May 8 that Fatma and Adeen both had a leg amputated. We have no way to know if their legs could have been saved had they received medical attention sooner or were spared the grueling drive.
We are not going to abandon the children and people of Shegeg Karo. Their needs at this time are great; including long-term medical care for the two seriously wounded children, repairing or replacing their water pump, rebuilding the market and assisting the families of the victims. We are in direct contact with people from the village and, as they assess their most urgent needs, we plan to support them in every way that we can, financially and otherwise. For information on how you can join us in standing in solidarity with the people of Shegeg Karo, visit DarfurDiariesThe Darfur Epistle to the Black Church
issued from Interdenominational Theological Center
is intended to help mend fences between Africans and African Americans. By bringing light to the genocide and plight of Darfur, it hopes to educate those whose interpretation of what is happening in Darfur is being colored and shaped by an inconsistent and censored media, which will help draw the Black Church into the discussion and plan of action. The Epistle calls for the specific and collective actions to be taken by churches around the world. For more information or to read the Epistle in its entirety, log on to ITC
or call 404-614-6394.
Located in the Atlanta University Center, the world’s largest center of African American higher education, ITC is the premier academy for afro-centric theological study in the world with six participating denominational seminaries, the Harry V. Richardson Ecumenical Fellowship that hosts 15 additional denominations, and a Lutheran Theological Center.
Darfur: Peace Through Economic Justice
Annual Darfur Rally aws held Sunday, January 27 at 3 PM, Central Presbyterian Church
r a day of remembering the victims of genocide worldwide as we work towards an end to the death and destruction in Darfur, Sudan. The one day rally included a "Roll Call of Conscience" of state legislators as we reaffirm Georgia's commitment to international relations based on peace, economic justice, adequate human rights, and development.
For more info visit Georgia Darefur
Update from the Darfur Urgent Coalition of Georgia. Much of this message comes from the recent STAND/GI-NET/ENOUGH/SAVE DARFUR conference call.
NEWS FROM THE GROUND
Despite some media portrayals, violence is increasing in West Darfur. As we noted in our last newsletter, British humanitarian giant OXFAM pulled out of the largest IDP camp in Darfur. This should send a clear signal to anyone who believes that this conflict is not escalating. Humanitarian aid workers are no longer the invisible force behind food, medicine and relief operations, but they are becoming targeted enemies of the government. Certainly, the government places administrative restrictions on some aid workers, seemingly at random, but attacks targeted at aid workers and their equipment, especially vehicle columns, are becoming the norm rather than the exception.
A former Canadian ambassador to Sudan wrote an editorial a month or so ago charging that Canadians should reel back, forget military support of the AU, and let the humanitarian organizations on the ground work out the challenges there, lest Canada suffer the ire of Sudan. While it’s certain that Canadians everywhere trembled at the possibility that Sudanese violence would travel 3,000 miles to the Canadian homeland, the more unrealistic statement was that humanitarian organizations could defend themselves against the Janjaweed and the Sudanese military.
Security must be restored and the full AU/UN force put in place. Despite recent statements by the Sudanese government that the full force was agreed to, less publicity was given to Bashir’s remarks just two days later which said that he categorically does not want the full force implemented without a host of conditions which would, effectively, negate the usefulness of any peacekeeping mission.
Unfortunately, we’re seeing an escalation in violence around Sudan as well. With the Khartoum government supporting rebels in both Chad and the Central African Republic, those countries are finding it harder to insure the safety of refugees from Sudan. Further, the violence seems to be cross-border with humanitarian aid groups caught in the middle of clashes coming from three directions.DARFUR LEGISLATIVE ROUNDUP.doc
Structure of Darfur Urgent Action GeorgiaEducation
is responsible for gathering materials for use by members on educating
the public at large. Much of this is simply centralizing the myriad of items that are already in existence. The Coalition is considering the idea of an education “kit,” most likely based on CD, that can be cheaply reproduced and distributed whenever events are held. These kits could also be sent directly to member organizations. the Education arm will also provide oversight on the Speakers’ Bureau. Janet Greenhill of the Bremen Museum (firstname.lastname@example.org) volunteered to steer this committee.Outreach
deals directly with coordinating the membership activities and helping
to mobilize resources where they are needed. They keep members informed of events and efforts and also assist new members to find a place to serve. Within this, “members” are the people – not the organizations – who are willing to do a variety of tasks. Laura Moye of Amnesty International (email@example.com) will head up this committee.Action
is the area in which, as the name implies, education and outreach are transformed into action. Included within this is an Event Planning component that manages a few events each year, most importantly the Annual Rally and the Global Day for Darfur coming up on April 29. Government Affairs also falls under this area and seeks change through lobbying efforts on behalf of the Coalition with various U.S. government entities and with countries that have a direct diplomatic relationship or fiscal relationship with Sudan. Lois Frank of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs (firstname.lastname@example.org) has agreed to coordinate this initiative, and Zachary Manfredi of Emory Paperclips for Peace (Zachary.email@example.com) is currently leading the coordination of the April 29 event.
A Coalition web site in its final stages of production. The web site will be the hub of communications and should be up by the first week of April. It will house all three initiatives plus a wealth of information regarding Darfur and as many ways to enact change as possible. Much of the website will feature local events and point to other existing web sites – there’s a lot of good information out there about the conflict and the devastation it has caused.
Targeted Divestment Program
One of the ways we can all demonstrate to corporate and Sudanese government authorities that we’re not going to sit by and simply accept the slaughter of innocents is targeted divestment. By contacting large investors such as the ones below and asking them to divest their portfolios of holdings in corporations that are doing business with Sudan, we strike at the heart of what fuels the conflict in Sudan: money. According to the American Jewish World Services President Ruth Messinger, who was in Atlanta this week, 70% of Sudan’s oil revenues go to support the assaults on its own citizens.
The U.S. Senate recently introduced a bill to enforce divestment with regard to
U.S. government investments.
Here’s an article from the office of Sen. Dick Durbin who authored the Senate bill:Durbin
In Texas, the state Senate passed a divestment bill that would require its holdings in more than $100 million in retirement funds to pull out any part that included Sudan. Texas is one of seven states to do this and at this time, 20 states have
bills on divestment moving through legislatures Here’s what the local politicians in Texas have done:Texas Action
Web Resources for information on Darfur
Genocide Intervention NetworkSave Darfur CoalitionUnited States Holocaust Memorial and MuseumDarfur ScoresUNICEFDarfur: A Genocide We Can StopDarfur Urgent Action Coalition of Georgia
Faith Alliance of Metro Atlanta (FAMA)
Lillian & A.J. Weinberg Center for Holocaust Education of The Breman
Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta
American Jewish Committee
Fellowship of Reconciliation, Atlanta
Kennesaw State University Institute for Global Initiatives
Faith and the City
Georgia Commission on the Holocaust - Anne Frank Exhibit
Synagogue Social Action Task Force
Atlanta Friends Meeting
Atlanta Rabbinical Association
JFGA Young Leadership Council
Caucus of Black Legislators
United Nations Association, Atlanta Chapter
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Holocaust Community Council
Concerned Black Clergy
National Council of Jewish Women
Archdiocese of Atlanta
First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta
The Interfaith Task Force, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Georgia
Unitarian Universalist Clergy of Metro Atlanta
Regional Council of Churches of Atlanta
Piedmont Baptist Church
Congregation Bet Haverim
Greater Atlanta Hadassah
The Darfur Urgent Action Coalition of GA Presents