|Connecticut Coalition to Save Darfur|
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Community Services Building
333 Bloomfield Road (entrance is on Simsbury Road)
West Hartford, CT 06117
Coalition Hosts Survivor of Darfuri Genocide, Raises Local Awarenes
Vernon, CT — A small crowd gathered on the evening of Thursday, December 9 at Trinity Lutheran Church to learn more about the Darfuri Genocide and an upcoming referendum in South Sudan. The evening ended with a candle light interfaith prayer for peace in Darfur and South Sudan led by Reverend Timothy Oslovich, Pastor at Trinity and Chair of the Connecticut Coalition to Save Darfur, which sponsored the event.
… read more about the screening of The Devil Came on Horseback
View Photos from The Devil Came on Horseback Screening
Connecticut Coalition to Save Darfur activists enjoyed a pasta dinner before they met on October 14, 2010. From left-right, David and Marge Schneider, Mike Winterfield, Bill Young, Janet Wallans, Tim Oslovich, Joel and Doris Abramson, Alan Stein, Josh Schreier.
Please send a letter to the editor of your area newspaper to keep this conflict in the public spotlight.
Below are talking points to guide you when you write it. (Additional background on the conflict or recent news reports can be found on www.savedarfur.org.) Remember to keep the letter to 200 words or less and print full name, address and phone number for the paper's verification process. Many thanks.
Genocide in Sudan
Sudan is Africa's largest country, located just south of Egypt on the eastern edge of the Sahara desert. The Darfur region is a drought-prone area of western Sudan. Darfur is roughly the size of Texas and had a collective population of approximately 6 million people before the crisis in Darfur began in 2003. Darfurians exist largely on subsistence farming or nomadic herding. Most villages are multi-ethnic and, despite ethnic differences, there is a history of peaceful coexistence. Local languages include Arabic, Fur and Massalit.
The conflict in Darfur began in the spring of 2003 when two Darfuri rebel movements - the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) - launched attacks against government military installations as part of a campaign to fight against the historic political and economic marginalization of Darfur. The Sudanese government, at the time engaged in tense negotiations with the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) to end a three decades long civil war between North and South Sudan, responded swiftly and viciously to extinguish the insurgency. Through coordinated military raids with government-armed militia (collectively known as the janjaweed), the Sudanese military specifically targeted ethnic groups from which the rebels received much of their support. The civilian casualties were immense. It has been estimated that 90% of the villages in Darfur were destroyed and millions of civilians were displaced.
An immense humanitarian crisis resulted from the mass displacement of these civilians. From direct attacks and the deterioration of living conditions, many experts estimate that as many as 300,000 people lost their lives between 2003 and 2005. In September 2004, President George W. Bush declared the crisis in Darfur"genocide" - the first time a sitting American president had made such a declaration regarding an ongoing conflict. Despite the world's growing outcry, the violence continued in Darfur.
The United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur (UNAMID) remains without the necessary resources to protect the 2.7 million internally displaced persons who live in large camps across Darfur. There are also around 300,000 Darfuri refugees living across the Sudanese border in neighboring Chad. Overall, the UN estimates that roughly 4.7 million people in Darfur (out of a total population of roughly 6 million) are still affected by the conflict. The population of Connecticut is about 3.5 million. Although violence has decreased considerably, the displaced people continue to live in very vulnerable situations at the mercy of the Sudanese army and janjaweed, relying on international food aid to survive.
Today, the biggest danger in Sudan is the resumption of the North-South Civil War that ended in 2005 with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). The government in Khartoum has not implemented the CPA in good faith and has continued to repress opposition parties, often brutally. South Sudan presently has a semi-autonomous government, and the people of South Sudan will vote in January 2011 on separating from the North and forming a completely independent country. Most experts believe that South Sudan will vote to secede and few believe the transition will be peaceful. A return to all-out war between the North and South in Sudan would lead to many civilian deaths, and the displaced people in Darfur would be cut off from humanitarian aid. Millions of lives are at risk.
The US can help ensure a peaceful and just future for Sudan, but it has to act assertively. The US must continue engage with the governments of South and North Sudan and push assertively for a peaceful and credible referendum in January 2011. In Darfur, more than 2.5 million people remain in camps for internally displaced persons because of the Genocide and depend upon humanitarian aid for their survival, as they are unable to work and live outside the camps because of the lack of safety and mass destruction of their villages. The US has appointed a high-level diplomat to focus on referendum and North-South issues, but Darfur to the West still lacks, but desperately needs, a high-level US diplomat to keep the world's focus on peace and justice there.
Take Action — Write Letters
You Can Help End the First Genocide Of the Twenty-first Century in Darfur and Prevent Genocide in South Sudan
Perhaps the most important thing that you can do is to write to President Obama and your Senators and U.S. Representative, telling them that working for an end to the genocide in Darfur and the prevention of genocide in South Sudan is an important priority. No one is in favor of genocide, but our elected leaders are unlikely to do much to stop genocide unless their constituents urge them to do so. Potential genocide victims don't have anyone lobbying on their behalf - except us.
Practical action steps:
Write to or call President Obama, your Senators and your U.S. Representative, encouraging them to work for the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, for the disarmament of the janjaweed militias in Darfur, and for a just peace in all of Sudan. This includes speaking out immediately to condemn the rigged elections that just happened.
Donate to the United Nations World Food Program or another relief organization and designate it to help the people of Darfur
Join a local Darfur advocacy organization such as the Connecticut Coalition to Save Darfur (www.ctsavedarfur.org)
Encourage others to take the actions above
If you have any questions or would like more information about Darfur/Sudan advocacyvocacy, you may contact
Tim Oslovich, Chairperson of the Connecticut Coalition to Save Darfur at firstname.lastname@example.org or more information is also available at www.savedarfur.org, www.enoughproject.org or www.genocideintervention.net.
The Connecticut Coalition to Save Darfur met with Congressman Chris Murphy in his New Britain office on September 21, 2010. Congressman Murphy agreed to co-sponsor House Resolution 1588
," expressing the sense of the House of Representatives on the importance of the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement to help ensure peace and stability in Sudan during and after mandated referenda. Representatives Joe Courtney and Rosa DeLauro are also co-sponsoring H.R. 1588."
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500.
White House Comment Line: 202-456-1111
Connecticut Senators and Representatives
Senator-elect Richard Blumenthal
(Contact information not yet available)
Senator Joseph Lieberman
706 Hart Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-4041
Fax: (202) 224-9750
Rep. John Larson (CT 1st District)
1005 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2265
Fax: (202) 225-1031
Rep. Joe Courtney (CT 2nd District)
215 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2076
Fax: (202) 225-4977
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT 3rd District)
2262 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Rep. Jim Himes (CT 4th District)
214 CannonHouse Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-5541
Fax: (202) 225-9629
Rep. Chris Murphy (CT 5th District)
501 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-4476
Fax: (202) 225-5933
You can also go the websites of each of the Senators and Representatives to send them email.