Worldwide Mobilization Calls for End to Mass Slaughter in Darfur
NEW YORK -- In response to the worsening situation in Darfur, communities around the world will hold events this Sunday, September 17 as part of the Global Day for Darfur to show international support for the Darfurian people and to put pressure on world governments – in particular the Sudanese government -- to protect civilians there.
Events are planned in 32 countries, and more are being added daily. As the Sudanese government’s line hardens, evident in its mounting military campaign and refusal to allow the deployment of U.N. peacekeeping forces to Darfur, more people are galvanizing to organize events globally. The events range from small candlelight vigils to massive rallies of thousands. A full list of activities is below. The date September 17 was chosen 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 the ‘responsibility to protect’ people at risk of mass slaughter.
“From Cape Town to London, Moscow to New York, concerned citizens are asking why the UN Security Council’s resolutions on Darfur have yet to be enforced. We are still waiting for a no-fly zone, targeted sanctions against the architects of the genocide, and referrals to the International War Crimes Tribunal. No wonder the Khartoum regime doubts the resolve of the international community, and dares to deny UN peacekeepers’ access to Darfur,” said Nobel Peace Prize winner, Bishop Desmond Tutu, who has endorsed the Global Day actions.
While the events may differ in size and scope, there will be some common themes. All the events will call for civilian protection and a range of other policies. (Read the Global Day for Darfur Policy Statement at: http://www.dayfordarfur.org/Our_Goals.htm.) In addition, participants all over the world – and individuals everywhere -- are encouraged to wear blue hats on September 17; when UN peacekeepers enter a conflict zone, they are recognized by their blue helmets and berets. There is also a “blue hats online” website so people around the world can post a photo of themselves wearing an animated blue hat. The blue hat site is at: www.dayfordarfur.org.
“The influence of the Global Day for Darfur is significant because the political will of nations, of democracies, are influenced by the people,” said Senator Romeo Dallaire, Force Commander of U.N Peacekeeping forces in Rwanda between 1993-1994, who will be speaking at an event in Toronto.
The day’s highlights include:
- In Kigali, Rwanda there will be a 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.
- In Phnom Penh, Cambodia: Phnom Penh, there will be a rally and candlelight vigil; some participants will wear shirts that say, "We Are Victims of Genocide in Cambodia, We Are Against Mass Killings in Dafur."
- In Toronto, Canada, General Romeo Dallaire will speak at a rally downtown with a Darfuri woman, a student activist and a Canadian band to help raise awareness of the Darfur crisis.
- In London, England, there will be rallies at the Sudanese embassy, and an interfaith prayer at the Gates of Downing Street featuring prayers written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra.
- In New York, USA, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright will be one of the speakers in a large rally at Central Park.
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.
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
Australia: Melbourne – Seminar, film screening and a symbolic demonstration (with police support) at the intersection of Swanston and Burke Street
Cambodia: Phnom Penh – Rally and candlelight vigil; some participants will wear shirts that say, "We Are Victims of Genocide in Cambodia, We Are Against Mass Killings in Dafur."
China: Hong Kong – Public forum (Amnesty International and Civic Exchange)
Kyrgyzstan: Bishkek -- Roundtable discussion.
Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur – Activists will pass a parliamentary motion.
Mongolia: Ulaanbaatar – Public event and letter writing action to Security Council member states.
Belgium: Brussels – Rally in front of the Sudanese embassy then a march/ride (by bicycle) to a rally outside the Chinese embassy, by bicycle.
Denmark: Copenhagen – Public rally and photo exhibition sponsored by Amnesty International. Images will be projected onto buildings. Teams will wear blue helmets in the streets every day until 30 September collecting signatures and distributing postcards in Copenhagen and other cities.
England: London – Large rallies at the Sudanese and Chinese embassies, interfaith prayer at the Gates of Downing Street.
France: Paris – Outdoor rally and photo exhibition at Place de la Fontaine des Innocents.
Germany: Berlin, Bern, Bonn (3) -- The Society for Threatened People will hold a press conference on September 18th (Berlin); Public rally with posters of refugee faces by Amnesty International (Bonn);
Ireland: Dublin – Candlelight vigil and March to St. Anne’s Church, screening of "Hotel Rwanda."
The Netherlands: The Hague – Rally from Central Station to the Parliament building.
Norway: Oslo – Public exhibit about Darfurians who have died letter signing action.
THE MIDDLE EAST
Egypt: Cairo -- Candle-light vigil and a film screening at The American University in Cairo.
Bahrain: Manama – Press conference and public petition signing at the Bahrain Bar Society.
Canada: Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver – Rally and all-night vigil at the Federal Building (Calgary); Rally and concert (Montreal); Rally (Ottawa); Rally with General Romeo Dallaire – and a Darfuri woman, a student activist and a Canadian band (Toronto) Rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery (Vancouver)
United States: Des Moines, Fort Wayne, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, Seattle -- The Save Darfur Coalition will hold a rally and concert in Central Park in New York City. For other events in the US, visit: www.savedarfur.org/now/eventsoutsideofnyc.
For information about the Global Day for Darfur, visit: www.dayfordafur.org