Gration: We don’t have all the monitoring mechanisms that we need yet

Yesterday, Special Envoy to Sudan, Scott Gration and National Security Council Director, Samantha Power sat down with Jerry Fowler of the Save Darfur Coalition and Layla Amjadi of STAND.  They discussed a wide range of topics regarding the recently released policy by the Obama Administration.

Click here to watch the complete webcast.

Gration:  We don’t have yet all the monitoring mechanisms that we need.  When the NGOs were expelled, we lost some very valuable NGOs that we have not gotten back in yet…  And the fact is that while we’ve been able to compensate for food and water and healthcare and sanitation, some of the protection NGOs have not been able to get back in…

For us to objectively verify, we’re going to have to have different types of NGOs on the ground and more of those NGOs on the ground. And we’re going to have UNAMID with more freedom of movement and the ability to monitor better what’s happening on the ground, so that we can take action.  And those are the things we’re working on right now.

Other highlights that stuck out at me in this illuminating conference include:

  • Samantha Power mentioned that  everytime President Obama has sat down with Chinese President, Hu Jintao,  “this issue has been discussed”.
  • And Scott Gration mentioned that “a major impediment to [Darfuri] people returning home is the ‘pschological stuff’.”

I’m glad senior officials in the Administration recognize the deep impact of such trauma and how that affects peacemaking.

Save Darfur: A Photo Essay

To commemorate Genocide Prevention Month, Save Darfur held its Honor the Past, Act Now for Darfur event across the street from the White House.

Genocide survivors and anti-genocide advocates gathered together for the ceremony – check out a slideshow of the remarkable event – unbelievable pictures.

I was especially moved by the images of rally participants holding posters showing the names of Darfur villages decimated by Sudan’s means of annihilation and extermination. Very simple act but extremely powerful.

Arrested for Darfur

Enough Project co-founder John Prendergast, left, and Save Darfur Coalition president Jerry Fowler, right, are arrested during a protest at the Sudanese Embassy against the actions by the Sudanese government in Darfur on Monday in Washington.

Enough Project co-founder John Prendergast, left, and Save Darfur Coalition president Jerry Fowler, right, are arrested during a protest at the Sudanese Embassy. Photo by AP.

Earlier today, John Prendergast of the Enough Project and Jerry Fowler of the Save Darfur Coalition were arrested with five other members of Congress.  They were protesting outside the Sudanese embassy over the ongoing genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region.

So who are the five members of Congress?  They include:

  • Jim McGovern, D-Mass.
  • John Lewis, D-Ga., a veteran of the civil rights movement in the 1960s;
  • Rep. Donna Edwards, D-Md.
  • Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the only Muslim member of Congress, and
  • Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif.

Mr. Lewis said, “I don’t understand how the world can just stand by and watch the slaughter of innocent victims in Darfur. Haven’t we learned the hard lessons of Rwanda and Bosnia, of the Holocaust?”

I commend these brave individuals for having the courage to stand up for the people of Darfur.

Read the whole article.

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 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.

A Busy News Day

62Several important developments related to Darfur are surfacing. Here’s the rundown –

The International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Sudanese president Omar Al-Bashir will most likely be issued secretly to protect victims and witnesses and strengthen the chances of apprehending additional suspects. However, Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo stated that the matter of issuance will be decided “sooner rather than later”.

A Janjaweed militiaman was killed in Western Sudan after an argument with internally displaced persons.

Fifteen human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Save Darfur, have challenged the Sudanese government’s claim that the humanitarian and security situation in Darfur is improving. Their report states that the “government of Sudan is lying about the reality in Darfur while conducting a charm offensive”.

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.


Take action and send the email.