The Save Darfur Coalition, in cooperation with more than 150 faith-based, advocacy, and humanitarian aid organizations, launched the "Million Voices for Darfur" campaign Thursday in commemoration of the 55th anniversary of the International Genocide Prevention Day.
"The goal of the Million Voices for Darfur campaign is to deliver one million hand written and electronic postcards from Americans to President Bush and Congress demanding that they undertake a stronger and more effective U.S. response to the violence and atrocities plaguing the region," says the Rev. Richard Cizik, vice president of governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals. He says it is a "moral imperative" for the U.S. government to take stronger action.
"During your first year in the White House, you wrote in the margins of a report on the Rwandan genocide, 'Not on my watch,'" states a letter that one million Americans are expected to send to President Bush in accordance with the newly launched campaign. "I urge you to live up to those words by using the power of your office to support a stronger multi-national force to protect the civilians of Darfur."
According to U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, the situation in Darfur is deteriorating and the world must step up efforts to help end the conflict and bring peace.
"Everybody now needs to be deeply committed to make sure a peace agreement is reached in Darfur," he said Thursday, according to Reuters. Because if a peace agreement is not reached, I think very serious things can happen, not only in Darfur but in the whole region.
Over 400,000 people have died since the conflict began in early 2003, with 3.5 million driven into hunger and another 2.5 million displaced. Violence continues to intensify as humanitarian aid falls.
Faith-based and humanitarian aid organizations are calling Bush to make Darfur a priority in 2006.
The new national campaign will serve to raise awareness of the genocide in Darfur through media attention and garner new advocacy. It will feature a speaking tour organized by the Save Darfur Coalition for USMC (United States Marine Corps) Captain Brian Steidle, who served as the U.S. representative to the African Union's mission in Darfur and is an eyewitness to the genocide, along with other speakers. The one million postcards, which are being collected at community events, student rallies, houses of worship and the Internet, will be delivered to the White House and Capitol Hill to promote the necessary actions to end the crisis.
Commenting on Bush's side note on the Rwandan genocide, Cizik says, "We mean to hold him to that promise."
For more information, visit www.millionvoicesfordarfur.org.