FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Susan Morgan, 617 797 0451, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elizabeth Blackney, 541 390 1913, email@example.com
WASHINGTON, DC – February 1, 2014 – From her camp near the Sudan-Chad border, with her children by her side, Achta, a 33-year-old Darfuri mother and refugee, has sent an urgent video plea to President Obama. She asks him simply to “stand beside the Darfuri people.” In 2007, when a Senator, Mr. Obama promised, “As president of the United States I don’t intend to abandon people or turn a blind eye to slaughter.” For Achta and her children, as well as millions of Sudanese displaced by the serial and ongoing government-sponsored genocides in Sudan, President Obama’s promise has yet to be fulfilled.
This video letter is the fourth in a series of letters, coordinated by Act for Sudan, to President Obama from Sudanese genocide survivors. The letters are intended to personally remind President Obama that the people of Sudan continue to be attacked by their own government and its proxies and that his legacy on human rights depends upon his actions. Achta has lost three sons and a daughter to violence and disease since a brutal government-sponsored attack on her village in 2004. In the refugee camp, she and her family have suffered a life of extreme hardship. “We have been here ten years but have no power over our lives and there is no view of peace to go back to Darfur, “ she says in the video letter. “We’ve lived in this refugee camp without good education, without good medical care, without good life – our life is very miserable.” She adds, “It is very important that the U.S. government and the American people help the Darfuri refugees to get our rights.”
Since the Darfur crisis has faded from the media spotlight in recent years, many people are under the misconception that the genocide has ended. However, according to the UN, 460,000 people were forced to flee new outbreaks of violence last year in Darfur, more than the combined number in 2012 and 2011. Furthermore, recent news reports have highlighted that the Sudan government is now giving away the displaced Darfuris’ land to other tribes and foreigners, many of whom supported the government in its scorched earth policies in Darfur. Last week, in a devastating blow to the displaced and marginalized people of Sudan, the government officially suspended humanitarian activities by the International Committee of the Red Cross, including in Darfur.
According to Act for Sudan, in the sixth year of Obama’s presidency, he continues to oversee a disastrous approach to the ongoing genocide in Sudan. This approach has failed to prevent the tragic loss of countless civilian lives and the mass displacement and starvation of countless more innocent people. According to the national alliance, President Obama should develop a pro-democracy and civilian protection-oriented policy on Sudan. As then-Senator Obama reflected on his 2006 trip to a refugee camp in Guereda, Chad, “The United States has a stake for national security reasons, as well as humanitarian reasons, in stabilizing this region….If we don’t, we do so at our own peril.” Achta’s letter will be followed by additional letters in the months to come, and all letters will be amplified via social media by Act for Sudan. Details on the campaign are posted at Act for Sudan.
Act for Sudan is an alliance of American citizen activists and Sudanese U.S. residents who advocate for an end to genocide and mass atrocities in Sudan. Act for Sudan is dedicated to advocacy that is directly informed by the situation on the ground and by Sudanese people who urgently seek protection, justice, and peace. For more information please visit www.actforsudan.org.