Thursday, June 23, 2005

National Weekend of Prayer and Reflection for Darfur
July 15th, 16th, 17th

Bills have been proposed in the Senate (S. Res. 172) and the House (H. Res. 333) calling for the designation of July 15, 16, and 17 as a National Weekend of Prayer and Reflection for Darfur. Please contact your Senators and Representatives today to urge their support for the National Weekend of Prayer and Reflection by co-sponsoring S. Res. 172 or H. Res. 333.

Look for an upcoming email announcement about ways individuals and groups can help organize and participate in the Weekend of Prayer and Reflection.

This week's newsletter is divided into the following sections: International News, Darfur Political Developments, Analysis and Opinion, Relief and Awareness Efforts

Weekly News Update

International News and Analysis
U.N. says rape is systematic weapon of war in Darfur
June 21, 2005 - Reuters
Under Secretary-General Jan Egeland told the Security Council women and children were being systematically raped and assaulted in the ravaged region and urged Sudanese authorities to do more to protect civilians and end a culture of impunity.
Secretary-General Annan demands Sudan start disarming militias in Darfur
June 16, 2005 - Sudan Tribune
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan demanded that Sudan's government disarm the militias terrorizing people in Sudan's Darfur region. In a report to the Security Council on Wednesday, Annan warned that militias were still roaming Darfur, chasing people from their homes and harassing others in camps. He put the responsibility for curbing them squarely on the government.
Official says U.S. committed to Darfur solution
June 22, 2005 - Voice of America
Members of Congress are urging stronger U.S. action to quell violence in Sudan's Darfur region. U.S. legislators have made clear what they think needs to be done to stop killing in Darfur, and one of the items at the top of the list is more American support for an expanded African Union peacekeeping force.
G8 foreign ministers call for more Darfur troops
June 23, 2005 - Sudan Tribune
Foreign ministers from the Group of Eight leading industrialized nations called for extra troops to be deployed in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region by the African Union. "Where the [African Union] troops are deployed, they are having a positive impact. Expansion of the force will help stabilize the situation, and we stand ready to do what we can to support this," said a statement at the end of a day-long meeting in London to prepare for the G8 summit at the Gleneagles resort in Scotland next month.
The crisis in Darfur
June 16, 2005 - Washington Post
Despite the efforts of the African Union, Sudan's government continues to arm the Janjaweed milita, widely accused of committing atrocities against civilians in their campaign against rebels in the region. Why has this situation deteriorated into the humanitarian emergency that it is today? What are the prospects for current peace talks between rebels and the Sudanese government? Jemera Rone, counsel for the Africa Division at the Human Rights Watch, answers questions about the crisis in Darfur.

Darfur Political Developments
Rebels threaten to quit Darfur peace talks
June 23, 2005 - The Scotsman
The main rebel movement in Sudan’s troubled Darfur region threatened to quit peace talks with the government, alleging fresh attacks on its positions. It was the latest setback in the effort to bring calm to a region where war has sparked one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.
Ten go on trial for rape and robbery in Darfur
June 19, 2005 - Reuters
Ten men have gone on trial in Sudan accused of rape and robbery in the troubled Darfur region, the head of a special court said on Sunday. The U.N. Security Council earlier this year asked the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate alleged war crimes in Darfur, the first such referral. Sudan says its special roving court for war crimes will be a substitute for the ICC. The treaty which formed the ICC states that any suspect tried in fair and credible national proceedings cannot be tried in the ICC. But a U.N.-appointed commission of inquiry into Darfur has concluded the Sudanese judiciary is not capable of holding such trials.
Sudan drops charges against aid workers
June 20, 2005 - New York Times
Sudan has dropped charges against the two Doctors Without Borders officials accused of spreading false information in a report alleging widespread rape in the troubled Darfur region, the organization said Monday. Paul Foreman and Vincent Hoedt were arrested three weeks ago after the international medical aid organization released a report saying it had firsthand testimony from hundreds of rape victims.

Analysis and Opinion
Oil discovery adds new twist to Darfur tragedy
June 15, 2005 - Reuters
AlertNetSudan announced in April that its ABCO corporation - which is 37 percent owned by Swiss company Clivenden - had begun drilling for oil in Darfur, where preliminary studies showed there were "abundant" quantities of oil. The news has prompted some humanitarian experts to wonder whether oil could be guiding Khartoum’s actions in Darfur, where a scorched-earth policy against rebels' communities has left tens of thousands dead and forced at least 2 million from their homes. The big question now is whether oil will give a motive for warring parties to speed up moves towards peace or make the conflict even harder to solve.
Khartoum accommodated
June 17, 2005 - Eric Reeves
"Current Darfur peace negotiations in Abuja (Nigeria), conducted under the auspices of the African Union, are the first since December 2004. At the time, the National Islamic Front regime in Khartoum deliberately collapsed negotiations by launching a major military offensive on the very event of resumed talks. This is the context in which to understand the regime’s current presence in Abuja. [...] This regime is unchanged in its genocidal ambitions, as is clear from a continuing stream of reports from UN organizations, international humanitarian organizations operating in Darfur, news reports, and confidential sources on the ground."
"You have to go to save your life"
June 17, 2005 - Palm Beach Post Editorial
"Mohamed Fator remembers the day he finally told his mother and three sisters he would be leaving - possibly forever - to try to avoid the fate of the estimated 400,000 fellow Sudanese who have died in deliberate, unceasing attacks in the past two years. [...] David Rubenstein, coordinator of the Washington, D.C.-based Save Darfur Coalition, put it this way: 'Someone said to me today, 'Well, we've done the most already.' I say, when my neighbor's house is on fire, I don't stop putting out the fire because I've done more than anyone else.' He adds, 'Our neighbor's house is burning, and the children are locked inside.'"

Relief and Awareness Efforts
The Donors and Darfur
June 20, 2005 - Washington Post
The United Nations is getting ready to appeal for more money for Darfur, the western Sudanese province that's been targeted with genocide. The reason is simple: The Darfur crisis, which threatens to slide off the radar screen as people grow tired of hearing about it, is quietly getting worse. Back in January, the World Food Program estimated that 2.8 million people would lack food for all or part of this calendar year. This month that number rose to 3.5 million -- more than half of Darfur's population.
World Food Program seeks to feed more than half Darfur’s population
June 17, 2005 - ReliefWeb
The United Nations World Food Program said today that up to 3.5 million people - or more than half the entire population of western Sudan's Darfur region - would need food aid at the height of the annual "hunger season" from August through the month of October.
Ecumenical aid effort helps sexual violence victims in Darfur
June 22, 2005 - Catholic News Services
A relief operation that brings together church agencies from around the world has helped Darfurian refugees build a new stove that consumes much less fuel, and as a result may have saved them from horrible violence.
Choice on Sudan is yours
June 16, 2005 - North County Times (California) Editorial
"Her motives were clear: to raise money to help the victims of the ongoing atrocities in Darfur, to spread the word about the genocide, and to teach her teenagers that individuals can make a difference. Everyone she told about her project wanted to help. Her book club pitched in. Her son's friend designed the tickets. Her daughter's friends sold hundreds of wristbands. More than 250 people bought tickets to the concert at the Encinitas Community Center and $8,300 was raised for the organization Doctors Without Borders, which works directly with the victims."
College students speak out against African genocide
June 17, 2005 - Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
The ink on their final exams had barely dried. A hard-earned summer break was a mere hours old. But instead of catching Zs or hanging 10, a handful of students from the Claremont Colleges set right out on a mission to open eyes. Equipped with a mass of petitions, a few hundred T-shirts and a $400 gift card to Vons, five young women zig-zagged across California last month to spread awareness about the ongoing crisis in Darfur.
One Man's Journey to Hell: "Shake Hands With the Devil" Explores Legacy of Rwanda
June 17, 2005 - Washington Post
Filmgoers eager to see a movie about heroism in the midst of moral ambiguity, about the superhuman efforts of one man against the engulfing forces of evil, about the competing and sometimes self-destructive dynamics of duty, courage and conscience, are hereby urged - no, ordered - to forsake the cartoon fictions of "Batman Begins" and rush instead to see "Shake Hands With the Devil: The Journey of Romeo Dallaire." For a gripping, thoroughly involving account of a flawed but inspiring real-life hero, audiences need look no further.

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