Obama’s first meeting with Ban Ki-moon focuses on Darfur

400http-_dyimgcom_a_p_ap_20090310_captc0fe4136c6cb4c4ba03f776782d2a44aobama_un_whgh107President Barack Obama met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon for the first time since the inaguration yesterday.  And they discussed Darfur.  The president declared “the violence in Darfur and inaction in the face of its worsening humanitarian crisis are “not acceptable,” and pledged to work more closely with the United Nations to bring peace to western Sudan’s conflict-wracked region.”

“It is not acceptable to put that many people’s lives at risk,” Obama said. “We need to be able to get those humanitarian organizations back on the ground.”

I am so glad to see President Obama taking a leadership role on this issue.  And making good on his promise during the campaign.

Thank you President Obama for being a champion for Darfur.

Read the complete article here.

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Hope Remains at IDP Camp’s Obama School

Photograph by Stop Genocide Now

Camp Djabal - Photograph by Stop Genocide Now

After Barack Obama was elected US president in November, School No. 1 at the Djabal refugee camp in Chad was renamed the Obama School.

NY Times writer and Darfur advocate Nicholas Kristof recently visited Djabal, home to thousands who have fled the genocide in Sudan.

Regarding the Obama School, Kristof writes –

It’s a pathetic building of mud bricks with a tin roof, and the windows are holes in the wall, but it’s caulked with hope that Obama may help end the long slaughter and instability in Sudan.

Is there reason for the residents of Djabal to be hopeful?

Kristof thinks so.

This Wednesday, the International Criminal Court will release its decision on issuing an arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir. There is talk that top Sudanese officials may oust Bashir if a warrant is issued.

Additionally, several current US leaders back the Darfur cause, including President Barack Obama, VP Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, and UN Ambassador Susan Rice. The Obama administration plans to conduct a review of the policy on Darfur led by human rights defender Samantha Power.

I agree with Kristof. Hope is not lost. Not for those living in Djabal. Not for the refugees in other Darfur IDP camps. And not for the millions around the world who refuse to turn a blind eye to the extermination of a people.

Another Busy Day

The Darfur front is once again ripe with breaking news –

Actor George Clooney met with US President Barack Obama on Monday to discuss the Darfur crisis. Clooney brought with him 250,000 postcards collected by Save Darfur signed by people from across the nation. Vice President Joe Biden was also present for the discussion.

After the meeting, Clooney announced that President Obama intends to appoint a special envoy to Sudan. Contenders for the position include Africa expert and humanitarian John Prendergast and former diplomat to Sudan Roger Winter.

Two workers from a French aid group were shot and killed in South Darfur by gunmen riding camels and horses. Reports state that the workers stumbled upon a robbery in progress and may have simply been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Darfur in the Media (But Not For Long)

Photograph by Stop Genocide Now

Photograph by Stop Genocide Now

With issues like the struggling economy and a new president dominating US news, media coverage of the Darfur crisis has been pretty slim.

However, Darfur was featured on a recent edition of ABC’s World News Tonight, aired on Sunday nights.

Reporter Bob Woodruff took a closer look at the conflict.

Click here to watch a video of the spotlight story – a mere two minutes, fifty-six seconds long.

Darfur Behind Obama “Hope” Poster?

I found this interesting and thought you would too –

The inspiration for the Barack Obama “Hope” poster is believed to be a 2006 photo of the US President sitting next to George Clooney at the National Press Club on Darfur, holding a green Save Darfur wristband.

Click here to see for yourself.

The US Says Stop

Today, a US State Department spokesperson lashed out against this week’s increased violence in Darfur and called for its cessation –

We demand that all parties to the conflict, including rebel movements, cease all violence and provocations in Darfur immediately and commit to the peace process.

Strong statement by the US.

However, one thing is missing – how about a “or else, we will…”?

To read more about the recent fighting between the Sudanese military and rebel group Justice and Equality Movement, click here.