Dehumanization

According to the head of UNICEF in Sudan Ted Chaiban, rebel groups, government-backed militia, and the Sudanese national army together employ 6,000 child soldiers. Some of the children have chosen to fight, while others have been forced to do so.

Chaiban believes that these children will become “dehumanized” as war “separates them from their emotions and from their normal growth in a way that is much more severe than an adult going through the same experience”.

Approximately 2.3 million children in Sudan have been affected by the Darfur conflict. 700,000 were born during the last five years, and thus, have lived their entire existence in a state of chaos, turmoil, and instability.

The US Congress recently passed a measure which would reduce military aid to countries whose governments employ child soldiers. Sudan has been named as one of several countries which would be impacted by such a restriction.

US Stands Against Child Soldier Use

darfurLast week, US Congress unanimously passed a law which reduces aid to countries with governments who use child soldiers.
The legislation could impact six countries currently receiving military aid from the US –Afghanistan, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Sri Lanka, and Sudan. In 2008 alone, these six countries received $3.5 million in US military training, $800,000 in US military financing, and $6 billion in US military sales.

Child rights advocate Jo Becker of Human Rights Watch had this to say –

US weapons should not end up in the hands of children nor should US taxpayer dollars finance the exploitation of children in armed conflict.

According to the 2008 Child Soldiers Global Report recently published by the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, at year-end 2007, children were involved in 17 armed conflicts around the world.

Report Cards for Representatives

621There’s an amazing website out there you may not know about. That website is http://darfurscores.org/ – sponsored by the Genocide Intervention Network.

GI-NET has given every house and senate representative a “Darfur score” – a rating of his or her support of Darfur legislation and other anti-genocide measures. A plus (+) added to a letter grade means that the representative has actually traveled to Darfur.

All you have to do is type in your zip code, and, in seconds, you will receive a “report card” for your elected legislators.

If your representatives display high scores, we encourage you to contact them to express your appreciation and urge them to continue their support. If your representatives display poor scores, we encourage you to contact them to express your concern and urge them to lend their support.

Congrats to my senate representatives Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein – who received scores of A+ and A, respectively.

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Look up the Darfur score for your Representative.

Send a message to Obama and Congress

savedarfur_logoTell your congressional representatives that it is critical that President-elect Obama and Congress make Darfur a priority from Day One.

Save Darfur has laid out a strategic 9-point plan for the Obama administration to ensure that every aspect of the Darfur crisis is taken into account. Every point in the plan is important, please send an email to your Representative and your Senators urging them to add their names to a letter calling for a robust international affairs budget.


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Take action and send the email.