"Dear Sudan" to Deliver Caskets to Consulates

Bay Area "Dear Sudan" group to deliver caskets to consulates to call attention to the cost of lack of ction on Darfur Genocide.

Bay Area "Dear Sudan" group to deliver caskets to consulates to call attention to the cost of lack of ction on Darfur Genocide.

Bay Area grassroots groups advocating to stop the genocide in Darfur will deliver caskets stamped with the words “Darfur Genocide” to San Francisco consulates of several countries including Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, and France on Wednesday and Thursday, May 31 and June 1. (Specific information on times and locations will follow.)

“We are calling on countries that have pledged funds for humanitarian aid, but have not paid, to make good on their pledges now,” said Tim Nonn, who heads Dear Sudan, a volunteer-based movement comprised of groups from Bay Area communities.

The action comes in the wake of news that the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) will reduce food rations to Darfur refugees to 1050 calories per person per day, half the minimum daily requirement of 2,100 calories per person. WFP is the main supply of food to 2.5 million Darfuris, displaced when their villages were destroyed by Janjaweed (government-sponsored militias), and who now live in refugee camps.

Despite repeated appeals to donor nations, WFP has received only $238 million this year, or 32 percent of the funds needed to provide food assistance to the people of Darfur. “…We have been pushed into this last resort of ration cuts in Sudan so we can provide the needy with at least some food during the lean season,” said WFP executive director James Morris. The lean season is during the rainy season of July to September.

According to Nonn, Dear Sudan hopes to meet with consulate officials and urge them to actively support United Nations Resolution 1679, passed unanimously by the Security Council on May 16. The United Nations calls for funding for humanitarian aid to restore food rations to the normal rate and supporting peacekeeping efforts with money, logistical support and troops.

In a recent letter to the UN Security Council, human rights groups noted an increase in violence against civilians by the government of Sudan. Leaders of Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group stated, “Darfur’s most urgent need is for a significantly stronger international force to be deployed without delay."

Since violence erupted in early 2003, more than 400,000 civilians in Darfur have died from violence, hunger and disease related to the ongoing genocide. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the Sudanese government continues to violate international humanitarian law despite a recent peace agreement, and government-sponsored atrocities were contributing to the uprooted population of an estimated 2.5 million persons.

“The caskets are stark reminders that while some are guilty of the crime of genocide, all of us – whether individuals or governments -- are responsible for ending the genocide in Darfur,” said Nonn.