Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sudan : Events of 2009

Events of 2009

Four years after Sudan's ruling party and the southern rebels signed the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) ending 21 years of civil war, Sudanese civilians in Darfur, northern states, and the South are still enduring human rights violations and insecurity. The Government of National Unity (GNU) has been unwilling to implement national democratic reforms as envisioned in the CPA. The failure of both Sudan's ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the southern ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) to implement other provisions of the CPA has contributed to insecurity and led to outright violence in some settings.

Accountability for human rights abuses remains practically nonexistent. On March 4, 2009, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for President Omar al-Bashir-the first for a sitting head of state by the ICC-for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.

Darfur

The conflict in Darfur continues to involve government-backed militia forces and rebel and ex-rebel movements that have caused civilian deaths, injuries, and displacement. The government has kept its war machinery in place, with heavy military deployments throughout Darfur, including auxiliary forces such as Border Guards that have absorbed Janjaweed militia into the army. Despite international mediation and diplomatic support, the government and rebel factions have not reached a political solution to the conflict.

In early 2009 fighting between government forces and Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) rebels in Muhajeria, South Darfur, displaced more than 40,000 civilians. The government used indiscriminate force through aerial bombing, often in combination with ground forces, to attack civilian populations linked to rebel movements. In May, during government-JEM clashes in North Darfur, witnesses reported heavy aerial bombing on civilian areas with scores killed and many more injured. After a lull during the rainy season, fighting resumed in September when government forces clashed with rebel movements in North Darfur, killing more than a dozen civilians and destroying several villages. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Friday, January 29, 2010

Al Bashir case: Appeals Chamber to deliver on 3 February, 2010, its judgment on the Prosecutor’s appeal against the arrest warrant decision

Situation: Darfur, Sudan
Case: The Prosecutor v. Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir

On Wednesday, 3 February, 2010, at 10:30 a.m. (The Hague local time), the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court will deliver, in public session, its judgment on the Prosecutor’s appeal against the “Decision on the Prosecution’s Application for a Warrant of Arrest against Omar Hassan Ahmad Al Bashir”.

In that decision dated 4 March, 2009, the majority of Pre-Trial Chamber I found that the material provided by the Prosecutor in support of his application for a warrant for the arrest of Omar Al Bashir failed to provide reasonable grounds to believe that Omar Al Bashir had the specific intent to destroy, in whole or in part, the Fur, Masalit and Zaghawa groups. Consequently, the crime of genocide was not included in the warrant issued for the arrest of Omar Al Bashir.

On 6 July, 2009, the Prosecutor appealed the decision, in relation to that charge, submitting to the Appeals Chamber that the majority of Pre-Trial Chamber I erred when requiring that the existence of reasonable grounds to believe that the person has committed the alleged crime must be the only reasonable conclusion from the evidence presented by the Prosecutor. Read more >>>>>>.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jews share a special bond with suffering people in Haiti, Darfur

By Barbara Yaffe

If solidarity is built through shared suffering, the state of Israel surely has a special bond with countries afflicted by crisis.

Israel, forged after the Holocaust, has been particularly quick to respond to the suffering of those affected by a genocide in Darfur, and more recently, the earthquake in Haiti.

Today marks the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a Polish concentration camp where Jews were gassed, starved or worked to death for no other reason than because they happened to be Jewish. Others, non-Jews deemed enemies of Hitler's Nazi regime, also were tortured and murdered in such camps, built in the 1930s and 1940s throughout eastern Europe.

In 2005 the United Nations General Assembly declared Jan. 27 to be an International Day of Commemoration to Honour the Victims of the Holocaust.

The world's Jewish community, having lost six million in the Holocaust -- six million -- sadly, has an intimate understanding of genocide and loss.

Indeed it's now a core concept of Judaism that Jewish people, who today number fewer than 13 million across the globe (5.3 million live in Israeli; another 5.2 million in America), must not stand idly by when the blood of others is being spilled.

This is the essence of the Jewish mantra, Never Again. Read more >>>>>>>>>

Monday, January 25, 2010

Obama must act to stop slaughter in Darfur

By ROBERT MESSA
Although there are pressing domestic issues dominating the headlines these days, there is an old headline that needs to be revisited.


The declared genocide occurring in the Darfur province of Sudan has seen the systematic slaughter of innocent men, women and children. More than 400,000 people have died according to figures that are only estimated because the brutal regime that is perpetrating this genocide will not let a proper count be taken.

United Nations' estimates put the displaced at 2 million. The Sudanese leadership, in conjunction with paid militias, have raped women who have wandered from their refugee camps, killed men in horrifying ways in front of their own children and most recently, started rounding up the intelligent people who oppose this regime and making them "disappear."

They have killed humanitarian aid workers so that only a few organizations will now take the chance to help the people displaced within the Sudan or those who have fled to neighboring Chad. There is rampant starvation of children and disease from unclean drinking water.
Our present administration in Washington has promised to hold these criminals (the U.N.'s International Criminal Court in the Hague has declared some Sudanese leaders to be war criminals and has issued subpoenas for their arrest in conjunction with crimes against humanity) accountable for their actions. Yet Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Obama-appointed special envoy Scott Gration have decided to give these brutal murderers "carrots" to try to change their behavior, which has not changed in a decade. The leaders of Sudan view the administration's actions or inaction as weakness and have continued their brutal genocide with impunity since there are no consequences to them. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Atrocities still plague Sudan's Darfur region

By Brian Craig,

 Never again, right?  Ask yourself these questions: Do I really know what is going on in Darfur? Do I even know where Darfur is?


Darfur is a racially mixed region in Sudan where genocide has claimed many lives in the past few years. It seems people look beyond this crisis because it's not in "our" area, or because they simply don't care.

If people knew anything about Darfur and the slaughters that are happening to many innocent people, maybe they might actually start to care.

There are estimates of 400,000 people who have been killed since 2003.

The United Nations is trying to help, but it is doing a lousy job. The U.N. can't even establish that this is genocide.

They say that "there were mass murders and rapes of Darfurian civilians," but they could not label the atrocities as "genocide" because "genocidal intent seems to be missing." Innocent people are being killed and raped for no reason.

We know the Holocaust was much more terrifying that what is going on in Darfur, but where are those people who said "never again?" Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

CJC dedicates a Shabbat to Darfur

As part of its ongoing effort to ensure a definitive end to the genocide in Darfur, Canadian Jewish Congress is partnering with synagogues across Canada on January 22/23 for Darfur Shabbat.
Darfur Shabbat asks rabbis and congregants from one end of the country to the other to dedicate a portion of their regular Shabbat service to stopping the genocide for good by focusing on what the Canadian Jewish community can do to help.

“We think that now is a great time to heighten and redouble our efforts to end the genocide so that it is once and for all done,” said Benjamin Shinewald, CJC’s National Executive Director and General Counsel.

While there have been encouraging developments in the Darfur region in the past six months, pressure must be kept up. To remain silent while there is still violence going on would go against a major tenet of Judaism not to ignore the suffering of others. It would also ignore our responsibility to perform tikkun olam (“to repair the world”).
"The idea was to get rabbis from across Canada, and to get rabbis from the three streams of Judaism,” Shinewald said.

Darfur Shabbat is taking place only a few days before the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, which symbolizes the end of the Holocaust. CJC’s intent is to use the date to say that the world’s apathy to the suffering of the Jews during the Holocaust means that as Jews we must speak out against what is going on in Darfur. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Participation at upcoming Darfur Civil Society consultations

18 January 2010

To: H.E. Djibril Bassole, AU/UN Joint Chief Mediator for Darfur
To: H.E. Ahmed Abdalla Aal Mahmoud, State Minister for Foreign Affairs; State of Qatar


We, the undersigned representatives of Darfur civil society organisations in the Diaspora and refugee camps, highly value your relentless efforts to resolve the armed conflict and achieve peace for our beleaguered people in Darfur.

The Darfur Civil Society Inaugural Conference convened in Doha in November 2009 was a welcome step in the right direction. It would empower Darfur civil society and allow their contribution to a peaceful resolution of the country’s crisis including Darfur. In fact, that important gathering comes in fulfilment of UN Security Council Resolution S/RES/1828 (2008) of 31st July 2008 in which the Security Council underlined “… the need for the engagement of civil society, including women and women-led organizations, community groups and tribal leaders” in the peace process in Darfur.

However, we are inclined to believe that inclusive representation of civil society in the Inaugural Conference was not met. The refugees were neglected, the Diaspora was represented by three individuals who could speak only on behalf of themselves and most of the IDP camps have had no meaningful representation. Instead, there was a prevailing presence of supporters of the Government of Sudan some of whom stand accused of playing active role in tormenting the people of Darfur. Yet they were present in Doha to speak on behalf of their victims.

It is very unlikely that the government of Sudan would either "ease security measures and guarantee freedom of movement" in particular for independent-minded representative of the people of Darfur or comply with the recommendations of UN Security Council resolution 1769 (2008)’ to make the participation of the Darfur IDP camps dwellers in civil society gatherings abroad possible. You would appreciate that in such situations the views of the participants at any consultations would not be equitably balanced in case there is disproportionate representation of Darfuris from the IDP camps, refugee camps and those in the Diaspora. To have any inclusive and meaningful consultations with Darfur civil society, we do believe it is imperative that the three groups mentioned above be adequately represented. Partial ownership of a peace agreement is rather self-destructive.

Therefore, we earnestly urge the Joint Mediation and the government of the State of Qatar to ensure adequate representation of Darfur refugees, IDPs and Darfur civil society in the Diaspora in all upcoming civil society consultations so that they can voice their views and play a constructive role in both the peace- making and in the post- conflict peace-building phases.


Thank you,


The list of potential signatories:

Noraldaim Mohammed
Darfur Union in UK & Northern Ireland, UK

Ahmed M. Mohamedain
Darfur Union, The Netherlands

Abdelbagi Jibril
Darfur Relief & Documentation Centre, Switzerland

Dr. Mariam Suliman
Darfur Training Committee, Ireland

Niemat Ahmadi
Darfur Women Action Group, USA

Abdelhadi Abakr
Darfur Call, The Netherlands

Adam Abdalla
Darfur Association Galgary, Canada

Abdelazim Gamal
Darfur Association, Belgium

Mohamedain Ishag
Darfur Heritage & Culture, Belgium

Darfur Association, Norway
Ahmed Haroun

Gibril Hamid
Darfur Friedens- und Entwicklungs-Zentrum, Switzerland

Adeeb Yousif,
Darfur Reconciliation & Development, USA

Ishak Makki
Darfur Victim’s Organization for Rehabilitation Relief, UK

Dr. Mohammed Ali Mustafa
Darfur IPDs & Refugees Union, Chad

Sabir Ibrahim
Darfur Solidarity Group, South Africa

Bakri Abdalla
Darfur Association Ontartio, Canada

Mohamed Suleiman
Darfur Self Reliance Education, USA

Dr. Mahmoud Braima
Darfur Association of North America, USA

Ahmed Adam Ali
Darfur Association of Colorado, USA

Fatima Haroun
Darfur Rehabilitation project, USA

Adam Omer
Darfur Association of Lincoln, USA

Dr. Adam Mohamed Ahmed
Darfur Solidarity Group of North America, USA

Mohamed Adam Sharaf,
Darfur Solidarity of Arizona, USA

Amal Allagabo
Darfur Women Action Group, USA

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Bashir's Pre-Election Victory Lap at the Scene of the Crime

Can you imagine Slobodan Milosevic running for president in Srebrenica? The world would have been justifiably outraged. Yesterday, however, indicted war criminal Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir visited El-Fasher, the capital of North Darfur. While not an official campaign appearance, the trip comes three days after Bashir received the formal presidential nomination of his party in the upcoming elections in April. It is long past due for the world - and particularly the United States - to express its grave concern about the sham electoral process that in a few months could effectively legitimize Bashir's repressive government.

This week at a campaign stop, Bashir vowed to his supporters that the elections would teach the world lessons in dedication and sacrifice. What they are really teaching the world is that a dictatorial and even genocidal regime can forgo its commitments to peace and democratic transformation without suffering any consequences. These elections did not fall from the sky, but - instead - were supposed to be a key milestone in transforming the country after decades of civil war. The Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) agreed to by Bashir's party and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) in 2005 set a path for the Sudanese to rebuild their political institutions, economy, and society.

The death and destruction in Darfur and continued repression of political opponents by the Bashir regime over the last four years vitiated the CPA-inspired hopes that those in power in Khartoum had disavowed intimidation and violence as the chief means to resolve political differences within Sudan. But despite the lack of basic political freedoms and the insecurity that persists in Darfur, the Bashir regime now promotes these elections as a critical moment in the history of Sudan. Their strategy cannot be any clearer: use these elections to consolidate power within Sudan and re-legitimize themselves in the international community.

While Milosevic attempted to steal the Serbian elections in 2000 after a decade of bloodshed in the Balkans, he could not campaign in Srebrenica, the site of the worst massacre during the civil war because Bosnia had gained independence. In stark contrast, Bashir's visit to Darfur serves as a pre-election victory lap at the scene of the crime. Indeed, his regime has declared that Darfur is now safe enough for elections to take place and, if that's the case, it follows that the conflict must be over. Despite clashes this week between rebel forces and the Sudanese army, violence over the last two years has significantly diminished in Darfur. The clever 2010 election strategy though by Bashir attempts to hide the fact that 2.7 million Darfuris remain displaced, a peace agreement with the Darfuri rebels remains elusive, and Bashir and others perpetrators of war crimes remain fugitives from the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes committed in Darfur. Read full article >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Friday, January 15, 2010

Touched by tragic tales from Darfur, student takes action

BY STEPHANIE WAYNE

A Glen Rock High School (GRHS) student has organized a fundraising concert to aid humanitarian efforts in Darfur, a region of the Sudan that has been in a state of civil war for nearly seven years.

GRHS sophomore Amanda Kroll is the organizer of "Peace Through Music," which will be held tomorrow from 6 to 10 p.m. at Barnert Temple in Franklin Lakes. Kroll said all the proceeds will be donated to American Jewish World Service (AJWS), a New York-based organization dedicated to alleviating poverty, hunger and disease among the people of the developing world, regardless of race, religion or nationality, according to its Web site, www.ajws.org.

Kroll and her family are members of Barnert Temple, where Rabbi Elyse Frischman has often spoken of the plight of the Darfuri people in comparison to other genocidal movements in history. On her way home from Sunday school one afternoon, Kroll told her mother, Robin, that she wanted to do something for the oppressed people of Darfur.

"How can I not do something about this?" Kroll said.

According to published reports, the Darfur Conflict began in February 2003 when the Sudan Liberation Army and the Justice and Equality Movement in the region took up arms, accusing the government of oppressing black Africans in favor of Arabs. The AJWS reports that the Sudanese government and its Janjaweed militia continue to terrorize and kill civilians, rape women and girls, burn villages and drive innocent people from their homes in the region. The reported death toll in the war has ranged from the official Sudanese government count of 10,000 to United Nations estimates of 300,000, according to the British Broadcasting Company (BBC).

The AJWS' Darfur Action Committee is dedicated to helping the refugees and to raising awareness of the "holocaust" conditions in that region.

"I think it is terrible, these people are being killed by their government," Kroll said. "They need someone there to help them." Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Sudan army, rebels clash in Darfur

KHARTOUM — Sudanese forces clashed with rebels on Wednesday in a key area of the troubled western region of Darfur, rebels and peacekeepers said.

"We have taken Gulu" in Jebel Marra, the fertile plateau in the heart of Darfur, Ibrahim al-Hillu, spokesman for the Sudan Liberation Army faction of Abdel Wahid Nur, told AFP.

Sudanese aircraft had earlier bombed rebel positions in the Jebel Moon and Jebel Marra areas, Hillu said, adding that clashes had caused casualties among civilians as well as rebels and government troops.

"Today, there were clashes between the army and SLA-Abdel Wahid," an official with the UN-African Union peacekeeping mission (UNAMID) told AFP but did not confirm if the rebels had taken control of Gulu.

"Some NGOs are on the ground assisting the local population," the official added.

Sudanese warplanes have also bombarded positions of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in Jebel Moon over the past few days. Read more >>>>

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Terror in Sudan

To the Editor:

Re “After Years of Mass Killings, Fragile Calm Holds in Darfur” (front page, Jan. 2):

Contrary to the impression given in your article, it is not the rebels but Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Sudan’s president, who is the real catalyst for seven years of government-sponsored terror in Darfur, resulting in 300,000 deaths and the displacement of about three million more.

This same man, who has been indicted on war crime charges, and his National Congress Party were responsible for the deaths of two million in southern Sudan during two decades of civil war as they sought to protect their hold on oil resources.

The “fragile calm” your article depicts in Darfur exists only because Mr. Bashir has largely finished his work there. He is now focused on other priorities, most important of which is rigging the coming elections to maintain his grip on power. Before an election farce legitimizes his reign, the Obama administration should impose strict consequences on his brutal regime. Otherwise, southern Sudan may descend into another war, and three million Darfuris suffering in camps may never be able to go home.

Susan Morgan
Wellesley, Mass., Jan.
3, 2010

The writer is co-founder of Investors Against Genocide and executive director of Pax Communications.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Chadian Rebels Attack, Rape Darfuris - Residents

KHARTOUM (Reuters) - Chadian rebels are raping, beating and looting villagers in western Sudan's North Darfur region, residents said on Monday.

Rights activists said the attacks might be war crimes and urged the Sudanese government and the United Nations to investigate them.

Chadian-Sudanese relations are key to the conflict in Darfur, and the two countries have accused each other of supporting rebels fighting for more power.

A rapprochement between the two neighbours last month included an agreement to form a joint border patrol force and to move rebel forces away from the long and porous frontier.

"We are asking the Khartoum government ... to immediately move these forces out of our areas ... and to compensate the victims of these crimes," a member of the youth movement from the al-Sayah area, Adam Shiekat, told Reuters by telephone.

Shiekat, who used a nickname for fear of arrest, said two teachers from the school in al-Sayah had been arrested by security forces and accused of disseminating information about the attacks.

The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies said those committing the crimes should be held accountable. "These acts may constitute war crimes and (we) call on the government of Sudan and relevant UN representatives to initiate a full and thorough investigation," it said in a statement.

A source in the aid community in Khartoum confirmed there had been numerous attacks and said that since the Chadians moved to the area on December 3, at least 20 women had been raped, a woman eight months pregnant had died from her injuries and four other people had been killed.

"These people are very, very poor and now they are suffering twice -- once during the Darfur war and now again," the source said, adding that the Chadians were stealing the precious little water, food and firewood in the area.

Sudan expelled 13 aid agencies last year, and those left are too scared to speak openly.Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Is Sudan Moving Back to the Brink of War?

By Alex Perry

Sudan enters 2010 poised between war and peace — in Darfur, in its decades old conflict between north and south, and in a host of smaller internal conflicts. The largest country in Africa and home to some of its largest oil reserves, the country faces a general election in April, an independence referendum in the south a year from now, and the indictment by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of its president, Omar al-Bashir, on war crimes charges. Here's TIME's guide to (yet another) year of living dangerously in Sudan:

How likely is a new civil war?

Fairly likely, not least because this has always been a combustible part of the world. Sudan straddles the fault-line between the Muslim Arab world and black, largely Christian Africa and the two sides have a long history of enmity: The first Sudanese civil war lasted from 1955 to 1972 and the second from 1983 to 2005; combined, the conflicts cost more than 2 million lives. Ten aid groups warned this week that 2009 saw a "major upsurge in violence" along the north-south frontier, with 2,500 people killed and 350,000 displaced, and they expressed a widely shared view that such violence is likely to escalate this year to the point of a breakup of Sudan, and a major humanitarian crisis. Rob Crilly, author of the forthcoming Saving Darfur: Everyone's Favorite African War, cautions that aid agencies "have sometimes cried wolf in their attempts to raise funds." But with much of Sudan still controlled by militias, the boundaries of the oil-rich areas between north and south still unresolved, and convincing evidence of large-scale re-arming on both sides, he adds: "At best, the [general election and independence referendum] could ease Sudan along the path towards democracy. At worst, they could herald a new phase of repression, followed by a resumption of war." Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Obama mus act to stop the slaughter in Darfur

Although there are pressing domestic issues dominating the headlines these days, there is an old headline that needs to be revisited.


The declared genocide occurring in the Darfur province of Sudan has seen the systematic slaughter of innocent men, women and children. More than 400,000 people have died according to figures that are only estimated because the brutal regime that is perpetrating this genocide will not let a proper count be taken.

United Nations' estimates put the displaced at 2 million. The Sudanese leadership, in conjunction with paid militias, have raped women who have wandered from their refugee camps, killed men in horrifying ways in front of their own children and most recently, started rounding up the intelligent people who oppose this regime and making them "disappear."

They have killed humanitarian aid workers so that only a few organizations will now take the chance to help the people displaced within the Sudan or those who have fled to neighboring Chad. There is rampant starvation of children and disease from unclean drinking water. Read more >>>>>>>>>.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Let's reaffirm our Darfur commitment

When we enter a new year, we tend to reflect on our gains and our losses from the previous year. In 2009, we accomplished much, but many factors have caused us to forget one very important issue that our country has passed by for many years now: Darfur.
After almost seven years, genocide still continues to threaten the very existence of those in Darfur and all of Sudan.

Since 2003, an estimated 300,000 have perished in this violence and 2.7 million have been displaced or forced to leave their homes. This genocide is seen as the most atrocious humanitarian crisis occurring today. The U.S. called this murder, rape and torture genocide in 2004, yet our country hasn't learned that actions speak louder than words.

As Holocaust survivor and novelist Elie Wiesel stated, "I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." And Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Orchestrating Sudan’s next fateful step

GIVEN SUDAN’S tragic history, marked by decades of civil war between the north and south, and more recent mass deaths and displacement in Darfur, it might seem hard to imagine an even more precarious future. But unless the international community moves rapidly, Sudan’s future could see the division of the country into two unviable states.

The first would be a northern Islamic state ruled by an accused war criminal, lacking legitimacy and basic freedoms essential for political stability and just governance, and facing armed rebellion not only in Darfur, but in the Nuba Mountains, the Blue Nile, and the far north.

The second would be a new country in the south, likely born into “failed state’’ status, dependent on the tender mercies of antagonistic neighbors and international aid donors, divided by violent ethnic clashes, and also lacking even the most modest prospects for effective and transparent governance.

Sudan stands at a critical juncture, with national elections set for April and a southern referendum on independence in 2011. With a lost hope for the unity of Sudan, the northern National Congress Party under President Omer al-Bashir will probably do whatever is necessary to win the national elections, including rigging the vote and repressing the opposition. Badly damaged by the International Criminal Court’s indictment of Bashir on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, the party needs elections to re-legitimize itself and tighten its grip on power. Read more >>>>>>>>

Saturday, January 02, 2010

AY goes global, host fundraising dinner for Darfur

EMC Events - The Grade 12 international business class at AY Jackson Secondary School is making a difference with its global leadership project Mission Possible: Darfur.

The students are holding a fundraising dinner and silent auction on Wednesday, Jan. 13 at Lonestar Restaurant (4048 Carling Ave.) to raise money for field projects in Darfur with proceeds going to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

"We are actually helping people out there," said project co-president Andrea Alamo. "It feels good."

After students pitched various project ideas, the class voted on this cause after students Charlotte Mahon and Aman Ahluwalia attended a seminar on world issues which discussed the ongoing genocide in Darfur.

"After the Holocaust and Rwanda, people said there would be no more genocides, but there are and it is happening," said Mahon, who is the project's co-president.

"It is happening right now," added Alamo.

Mahon explained that this event is put together entirely by the students.

"We want to make this event as big as possible because Darfur is one of the biggest issues of our generation," said Mahon. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>

Catholic school students unite to send aid to Darfur

Eight of Springfield’s Catholic schools recently participated in a joint project to raise funds for Catholic Relief Services’ humanitarian efforts in Darfur. Through a fund-raising raffle, students of Blessed Sacrament, Cathedral, Christ the King, Little Flower, St. Agnes, St. Aloysius, St. Joseph and Sacred Heart-Griffin High School raised $3,000 to assist CRS with ongoing emergency relief efforts in Darfur.

Raffle items were donated from a 25-year collection of collectibles by Barbara Dunlavy and her sister Mary, both of Chicago, who are sisters to Sister Maristella Dunlavy, OP, former principal of Cathedral School. The sisters wanted to make a donation to Darfur and thought that a raffle would be a good way to raise a sizeable gift for Catholic Relief Services programs in Darfur.

CRS assists with the basic needs of the people and works aggressively to support development programs that combat social injustice and promote human dignity in the country of Darfur. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>>