Mia Farrow urges students to support Darfur

December 11, 2007 at 4:50 pm (Africa)

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MIA FARROW has appealed to students to raise awareness for the atrocities taking place in Darfur, speaking at the Fund4Darfur launch held in London earlier this month.

The Hollywood actress, campaigner and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador delivered an impassioned speech at the event in Maida Vale, backed up with photos of her experiences from her seven visits to Darfur since 2004.

The Fund4Darfur is a project of the Aegis Trust, the leading UK-based genocide prevention organisation. Farrow was joined by actors Chiwetel Ejiofor and Clare-Hope Ashitey at the December 2 launch. Speaking after her presentation, Farrow emphasised that people, and especially students, could help the cause by educating and promoting awareness to everyone around them.

Farrow explained that students have a vital role as they have many outlets at university to make people aware of the crisis hit region. “They are a pivotal generation that can start a movement of change. If we can gather students from all over the world to support this initiative and put pressure on those who have the power to make things change, then eventually governments will have to listen.”

The recent press attention for Gillian Gibbons’ imprisonment in Sudan has astonishingly given the region more exposure in a matter of days than it has ever received before. One attendee at the launch said: “Over 200,000 Darfuris have been brutally murdered since 2003 and 2.4 million displaced from their homes, however, people seem to care more about the naming of a teddy bear.”

Commenting on the incident Farrow said: “The situation with Gillian Gibbons demonstrates the palpable insanity and cruelty of that regime, and this is only one woman. Imagine what would happen to her out of the public eye.”

Farrow discussed why there was general apathy towards Darfur. “It’s a question of our levels of priorities, we have the leverage and power and we must do our utmost to stop it” she said.

We have to look at Darfur through the prism of Rwanda not the prism of Iraq; then it is very clear what we must do. ‘Never again’ was uttered by so many after the Holocaust, but it simply hasn’t been adhered too.”

Money raised for Fund4Darfur will go to help survivors of the Darfur‘s ethnic cleansing, both in the region and those in the UK facing destitution and the threat of return to Khartoum.

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Beijing’s Genocide Olympics

December 11, 2007 at 4:49 pm (Africa)

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ANTI-GENOCIDE CAMPAIGNERS have called for sponsors of the Beijing Olympic Games to withdraw their support, citing that the Chinese Government is contributing towards the current atrocities in Darfur.

Darfur activists gathered at an eleven hour summit in London on December 2 to celebrate Darfuri culture and highlight what can be done to ease the crisis hit region.

Hundreds of people attended ‘Act for Darfur – The 11th Hour’, which included performances, films, exhibitions, testimonials, music, discussions, speakers and workshops spread throughout the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn.

Hollywood actress and devout activist, Mia Farrow, joined guests and artists from Darfur and delivered the keynote address to a packed theatre. After highlighting the dire situation in Darfur, she focused on the position of China, hosts of what she dubbed the ‘Genocide Olympics’.

“As Khartoum’s largest and closest business partner, China has provoked outrage from the international community for underwriting genocide in Darfur. In recent months, Beijing has responded with steadily increasing talk about its commitment to promoting peace in the region. But it has taken no meaningful action,” she said.

Farrow supports the Dream for Darfur campaign, linking China’s Olympics to the ethnic cleansing in Darfur. Speaking on behalf of the US organisation, Farrow urged sponsors such as Adidas, Visa and Coca-Cola to back out: “Sponsors are supporting China’s efforts to position itself in glowing terms on the world stage. But they are silent about China’s role in the Darfur genocide, and in their silence, they are complicit.”

China, which is the biggest buyer of Sudan’s oil, has consistently rejected accusations it is worsening Darfur’s agony by supporting the Sudanese government. A representative from the Chinese Embassy in London said: “China plays a constructive role in the Darfur issue and this role can be seen by all.”

On July 31 this year, China took a step forward by joining a UN Security Council vote to authorize, under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, the deployment of 26,000 civilian police and troops to Darfur.

22-year old, Emile James, a student from South London who attended the London event said: “Despite claims by China and Sudan that the situation in Darfur is improving, the evidence I have seen here today presents a very different picture. I think it’s wrong that a country that has such a tentative human rights record and faces such damaging accusations should be allowed to host the Olympics.”

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