(KAMPALA, September 15, 2006) Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to participate in a host of events throughout Africa and across the globe this Sunday, September 17 in support of the beleaguered people of Darfur.
“The situation in Darfur has never been as critical,” said Dismas Nkunda, a spokesperson for the Darfur Consortium, a coalition of Africa-based and Africa-focused NGOs dedicated to finding a solution to the human rights and humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan.
“As the violence and suffering escalates in Darfur, the Government of Sudan continues to resist the decision by the UN Security Council to deploy critically needed UN peacekeepers to Darfur” said Nkunda. “The overwhelmed African Union force is under tremendous pressure. While Sudan demands that the AU pull out its troops if it cannot operate without UN assistance, on the ground the African soldiers are hearing increasingly desperate pleas to stay.”
“Without the protective shield of international peacekeepers Darfurians fear a return to all out war. As the Government of Sudan moves thousands of troops into the region, senior UN officials warned last week that a catastrophe is imminent,” added Nkunda.
“This week thousands of ordinary citizens throughout Africa will call on African leaders and the African Union not to desert the people of Darfur. On Monday, the African Union will have the opportunity to respond to these voices when the Peace and Security Council meets in special session in New York.”
Background on the Global Day for Darfur
Events for the Global Day for Darfur are planned in 32 countries with more. September 17 was chosen as the date because it marks the start of the United Nations General Assembly and the first anniversary of the commitment by 150 governments at the UN World Summit in New York to a “responsibility to protect” people at risk of grave and massive violations of their human rights.
Among the events taking place in Africa are:
* Ethiopia: Addis Ababa — Panel discussion and film screening on Mesquel Square.
* Gambia: Banjul – A rally, followed by a march from Westfield to Independent Stadium.
* Ghana: Accra – Peaceful march ending at the Old Parliament House (Amnesty International Ghana)
* Kenya: Nairobi — Film screenings, a photo exhibition, an open forum, and a weekend of prayer.
* Nigeria: Abuja — “Prayers for Darfur” Rally at the National Mosque and National Ecumenical Center. Public screening of “Hotel Rwanda”; and a rally at the Sudanese Embassy in Abuja.
* Rwanda: Kigali – Rally at the Intercontinental Hotel in the centre of Kigali followed by a march to Ecole Technique Officiele – the site of the UN base during the Rwandan genocide, where many people were massacred when the UN pulled out.
* Senegal: Dakar — Concert on 9/17 with rap groups and young musicians.
* Sudan: Juba
* Tanzania: Dar-es-Salaam — Panel discussion with experts and commentator Adam Simbeye on the weekly “This Week in Perspective” followed by a march with speakers and music.
* Zambia: Lusaka – Public rally organized by Amnesty International on Sept. 18.
For more information contact Dismas Nkunda at + 255 742 219 693.
See also www.darfurconsortium.org or www.dayfordarfur.org.