Magazine article New Internationalist

Don't Ignore Darfur: Take Action

Magazine article New Internationalist

Don't Ignore Darfur: Take Action

Article excerpt

1 Pressure your government

In 2005 UN members agreed that governments had a 'responsibility to protect' their populations from genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity, and that the 'international community' has a responsibility and right to intervene if a government fails to do this. Write to your government calling on them to fulfil this responsibility, including:

* A much larger international peacekeeping force in Darfur, with a mandate to protect civilians and humanitarian workers

* An international presence along the Chad/Sudan border

* Targeted sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, on senior Sudanese Government officials

* Support for a more inclusive peace process in which Darfurian civil society is fully represented

* Indictments by the International Criminal Court of more individuals who are suspected of crimes against humanity in Darfur, and pressure on the Sudanese regime to hand them over

2 Join the 'Day for Darfur' movement

The third 'Day for Darfur' took place in 35 countries on 28 April 2007. There were over 445 events, from Stockholm to Dar es Salaam to Los Angeles. People gathered at rallies, marches, 'die-ins', conferences and vigils to demonstrate their solidarity with the people of Darfur, and their impatience at their governments' failure to stop the killings.

To find out when the next Day for Darfur will take place, and what's going on in your country, go to

3 Challenge china

China's support forthe Sudanese regime has been one of the biggest stumbling blocks in the way of decisive UN action on Darfur. Activists in the US have launched a campaign to force China to reconsider its position by targeting the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. This seems to be having some effect.

On 28 March 2007, film star Mia Farrow, of all people, wrote an uncompromising feature in the Wallstreet Journal, brandingthe Games the 'Genocide Olympics', and likening Steven Spielberg, official 'artistic adviser' for the Games, to Nazi filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl. A mortified Spielberg wrote to the Chinese Government. Worried that the reputation of the Games - intended to showcase China's new superpower status to the world - will be sullied, Beijing appears to have told Khartoum to let 3,000 UN peacekeepers in. Khartoum complied.

For more information on the campaign, see www. …

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