UNITED NATIONS, June 17 -- President Obama's special envoy to Sudan, retired Air Force Maj. Gen. J. Scott Gration, said Wednesday that the Sudanese government is no longer engaging in a "coordinated" campaign of mass murder in Darfur, marking a shift in the U.S. characterization of the violence there as an "ongoing genocide."
"What we see is the remnants of genocide," Gration told reporters at a briefing in Washington. "The level of violence that we're seeing right now is primarily between rebel groups, the Sudanese government and . . . some violence between Chad and Sudan."
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DARFUR ADVOCACY GROUPS URGE ADMINISTRATION TO UNVEIL SUDAN PLAN
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a State Department briefing today Special Envoy to Sudan Major General Scott Gration referred to the situation in Darfur as the “remnants of genocide,” and suggested that humanitarian aid to Darfur had been restored to almost the same level as before the government of Sudan expelled 13 aid agencies. In response, the Save Darfur Coalition, Enough Project and Genocide Intervention Network issued the following statement.
“President Obama and Ambassador Rice recently labeled the situation in Darfur as an ongoing genocide, and it is troubling that key players in the administration are not singing from the same song sheet with regard to this fundamental issue,” said Save Darfur Coalition President Jerry Fowler. “The real questions are whether the Darfuri people are in crisis and whether lives are hanging in the balance. The answer to each of those questions is an unequivocal ‘yes.’ It is past time for the administration to speak with one voice on Sudan and unveil its plan to help bring peace and security to the country.”
“The administration’s Sudan policy needs to be judged by the facts on the ground. With millions of people still unable to return to their homes in Darfur, President Bashir still wanted for war crimes and the Comprehensive Peace Agreement fraying badly, it is clear that much more needs to be done,” said Enough Project Executive Director, John Norris.
"The challenges facing Special Envoy Gration are large and many. The world is looking to the United States to lead. President Obama must become involved in a more direct way if the international community is to succeed in reinforcing peace and protecting civilians in Sudan," said Genocide Intervention Network Executive Director, Sam Bell”
About the coalition: The Save Darfur Coalition – an alliance of more than 180 faith-based, advocacy and human rights organizations – raises public awareness about the ongoing genocide in Darfur and mobilizes a unified response to the atrocities that threaten the lives of people throughout the Darfur region. The coalition’s member organizations represent 130 million people of all ages, races, religions and political affiliations united together to help the people of Darfur. For more information on the coalition, please visit www.SaveDarfur.org.
Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on crises in Sudan, Chad, eastern Congo, northern Uganda, Somalia, and Zimbabwe. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises.
About Genocide Intervention Network - Genocide Intervention Network is working to build the first permanent anti-genocide constituency, mobilizing the political will to stop genocide when it occurs. Accessible online at www.GenocideIntervention.net, Genocide Intervention Network empowers individuals with the tools to stop genocide.
RELEASE: Basketball Star Tracy McGrady Funds School Serving Darfuri Refugee Children
WASHINGTON, D.C. — In honor of World Refugee Day, basketball star Tracy McGrady has made a donation to the Darfur Dream Team’s Sister Schools Program to support a Darfuri refugee camp school for one year. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, will use McGrady’s generous donation to begin building and rehabilitating a school this fall serving Darfuri children living in a refugee camp in Chad.
The U.N. World Refugee Day seeks to call attention to the plight of millions of refugees around the world with its theme, “Real People, Real Needs.” More than 250,000 people have been displaced by the ongoing conflict in Darfur, Sudan. Children make up more than 60 percent of the population in the Darfuri refugee camps and are facing major educational challenges, including a shortage of qualified teachers, poorly built school buildings, and lack of supplies.
McGrady’s donation will support the Ocampo School in Djabal camp, located in southeastern Chad, near the border with Darfur. Ocampo School is one of 12 refugee camp schools that the Darfur Dream Team aims to support in the 2009-2010 school year, at a cost of $57,000 per school. In addition to McGrady’s donation, more than 30 American high schools, middle schools, and universities recently joined together to raise funds to support a second school.
“I’m thrilled to join all of these U.S. schools in the effort to raise money so that students in the Darfuri refugee camps will have better facilities, teachers, and more supplies,” said McGrady, who visited schools in the Djabal refugee camp during a trip to Chad in 2007.
The Darfur Dream Team partners include the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR); USA for UNHCR, the Enough Project; Participant Media’s Darfur Now Social Action Campaign; TakePart.com, the Education Partnership for Children in Conflict, co-founded by Angelina Jolie and Gene Sperling; Facing History and Ourselves; and i-ACT. The partnership includes several other professional basketball players including Baron Davis, Derek Fisher, Luol Deng, Jermaine O’Neal, and Etan Thomas.
The program aims to improve the education of Darfuri students living in camps, through the construction and rehabilitation of school buildings, teacher training, and provision of sports equipment and other school supplies; and to foster cross-cultural relationships and mutual understanding between American and Darfuri refugee students through letter exchanges and video blogging.
John Prendergast, Co-founder of the Enough Project said, “This generous donation is just the beginning for the Darfur Dream Team. We're seeking the involvement of many more schools throughout the US and Europe as well as many more NBA players to help create sustained relationships with the students in the refugee camps." Prendergast along with Enough Advisor Omer Ismail traveled with Tracy McGrady to Djabal refugee camp.
The Sister Schools Program‘s web site, www.darfurdreamteam.org, includes an itemized registry that allows schools, basketball players and their teams, companies, and the general public to see the resources and supplies needed by Darfuri refugee camp schools and donate toward items of their choice. Items needed range from textbooks to teacher training to sports equipment; individuals can even donate toward the actual construction of school buildings in the camps.
The Darfur Dream Team’s Sister Schools Program links American middle schools, high schools, and universities with schools in the Darfuri refugee camps in eastern Chad. U.S sister schools will raise funds to improve the education of their Darfuri peers through the construction and rehabilitation of school buildings and by providing supplies, sports equipment, and teacher training. The program will also foster cross-cultural relationships and mutual understanding between U.S. and Darfuri refugee students through letter exchanges and video blogging. The Sister Schools Program is a dynamic partnership involving professional basketball stars Tracy McGrady, Derek Fisher, Baron Davis, Luol Deng, Etan Thomas, and Jermaine O'Neal; United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR);USA for UNHCR, the Enough Project; Participant Media; TakePart; Education Partnership for Children in Conflict, co-founded by Angelina Jolie and Gene Sperling; Facing History and Ourselves; and i-ACT. The partnership will expand to include additional professional basketball players. More than 100 U.S. schools have signed up to participate in the program. For more information about the Darfur Dream Team’s Sister Schools Program, see www.darfurdreamteam.org or contact Stella Kenyi at email@example.com.
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on crises in Sudan, Chad, eastern Congo, northern Uganda, Somalia, and Zimbabwe. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. To set up an interview, go to www.enoughproject.org, or contact Eileen White Read, 202-641-0779, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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