Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Darfur this week 10/11/2005

Action Items:

60 Seconds of Action: If you only have a minute to spare, please forward this email to any friends, family, or coworkers who you think might be interested in learning more about the situation in Darfur. Polls have shown that the more people know about Darfur the more likely they are to support increased U.S. action, whereas those who are less informed are less supportive. Since the President and Congress have proven time and again that they pay attention to polls, let’s make sure that there are as many informed Americans as possible. Please let the people you forward this to know that they can sign up for their own copies of these weekly updates by entering their email address under “Get Email Updates” at www.savedarfur.org.

60 Minutes of Action: If you have a bit more time to spend this week, consider writing a letter to the editor of your local paper calling for increased U.S. action on Darfur. A Letter to the Editor is a great way to raise awareness in your community and to press newspapers to increase their coverage of Darfur. In general, letters to the editor should be kept to 200 words or less, and should ideally reference a recent article or current event you read about in that paper. We would be happy to provide you with a more complete list of letter writing tips, as well as some sample letters on Darfur, at your request. Please email us at info@savedarfur.org if you have any questions or would like any additional information.

This week in Sudan:

It has been an eventful and troubling week in Sudan, as the violence continues amid growing international calls for action. Last Thursday, September 29, three staff members of SUDO, a non-governmental organization providing humanitarian aid in Darfur, were kidnapped at the Zam Zam camp for Internally Displaced People on the outskirts of El Fasher in northern Darfur. [LINK] Their kidnappers are thought to be members of a local militia.

Violence was not limited to the camps in Sudan, as the government of Chad closed its consulate in Darfur following Janjaweed attacks on refugee camps in Chad.[LINK] The recent increase in attacks on both sides of the Sudanese/Chadian border has led the U.S. to call on the Sudanese government to “immediately halt attacks and to stop the Janjaweed from perpetrating violence.”[LINK] That sentiment was echoed this week by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, corresponding with the UN Security Council’s ruling that perpetrators of human rights violations in Darfur can be tried in the International Criminal Court. [LINK]

In perhaps the most striking development of the week, the African Union Council on Peace and Security held an emergency meeting on Wednesday, October 5 to address the deteriorating situation in Darfur. The meeting came on the heels of severe criticism leveled at both the Sudanese government and the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (SLM/A) by the head of the AU Mission in Sudan (AMIS), Baba Gana Kingibe, condemning both organizations for their roles in the recent upswing in violence. [LINK] The emergency meeting took place even as the 6th round of peace talks continues in Nigeria. [LINK] What the outcome of both the AU’s emergency meeting and the peace talks in Nigeria will be will hopefully become more clear in the coming week.

For additional information on any of these stories, either click on the links embedded in the above paragraphs, or scroll to a list of the articles below. In addition, a more complete list of articles on Darfur is available here on our website, updated daily.