23
Jul
2004

Human Rights Emergency in Darfur, Sudan

(excerpt)

As you read this, more than two million innocent Sudanese men, women and children face dislocation, disease and starvation. They are victims of unspeakable state-sponsored crimes against humanity and abuse.

In this day and age, it is hard to believe that ethnic cleansing still exists.

Right now, more than 1.2 million people have been uprooted in the Darfur region of Sudan with over 150,000 refugees living - barely - along the border between Sudan and Chad, their homes, possessions and livelihoods destroyed by government-backed militias.

Amnesty International was the first human rights group to call the world's attention to the horrific crisis. I call upon all people of compassion to help by making an emergency donation to support our efforts.

Omega see also:
//www.amnestyusa.org/news/document.do?id=23FE42969B6C168A80256EC900529ED0

AMNESTY'S EMERGENCY CAMPAIGN

From the beginning, Amnesty has mobilized its credibility, worldwide diplomatic contacts and unique moral force to focus attention on Darfur. Amnesty has been on the ground in the region four times in the past year and a half - most recently in Chad in May.

Here is what Amnesty has done and will be doing to alleviate the massive suffering and restore law and order:

-- Securing UN Intervention: Amnesty has helped spur UN action. A Security Council resolution is in the drafting stage calling on the Sudanese government to reign in the militias. But we need to go farther. The UN must deploy monitors in sufficient numbers to oversee the protection of refugees. Right now, the Sudanese government is acting with impunity and blatant disregard for the law.

-- Pressuring Secretary of State Powell: The US government considers Sudan a state sponsor of terrorism and has sanctions in place. Amnesty has asked Secretary Powell to demand an immediate cessation of government-sponsored violence, and to continue pressing for UN action.

-- Activating the African Union: Through our long-standing relationships with African leaders and diplomats, Amnesty has been able to help organize their concern about the apparently deliberate slaughter and dislocation of the black African population of Darfur.

-- Involving the Government of Chad: More than 150,000 refugees from the violence are living in desperate conditions. Disease is rampant. Food and water are in acute shortage. Our greatest near-term concern must be for the masses of refugees in camps inside Chad or huddled desperately along the border.

THE SITUATION IS GETTING WORSE

Even worse, in the midst of their desperate struggle to survive, the refugees continue to be attacked. This is particularly true for the women who must foray from the mass of refugees to fetch water or food. Men lie in wait. Rape and other forms of violence have become commonplace leaving these women with horrific physical, emotional and psychological scars.

The disaster in Sudan is growing worse daily now that the rainy season has begun, making roads impassable and increasing the risk of civilian deaths by starvation and water-borne illnesses like malaria. Still, the Sudanese government continues to impede and restrict access to the Darfur region by humanitarian aid groups. This includes repeated requests by Amnesty for visas to allow our monitors to document first-hand a tragedy that is ballooning into a terrible humanitarian catastrophe.

Omega see also:

//www.amnestyusa.org/news/document.do?id=23FE42969B6C168A80256EC900529ED0

With your immediate help and continued participation, Amnesty will be better able to sustain what may be a long struggle in Sudan. I will report to you from time to time on our progress in halting and reversing this heartbreaking chain of events.

With much gratitude and respect,

Sincerely yours,

William F. Schulz
Executive Director
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