UNTIL ALL ACHIEVE WELL-BEING

Welcome to the Wednesday, April 13, 2005 issue of this Peace&Justice action email!

This email contains an update on Darfur, plus an innovative action that may help to expedite the end of the killings in Darfur.

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FURTHER EFFORTS TO END ATROCITIES IN DARFUR, SUDAN

In the last UWAA email, I indicated that we might be near the tipping point regarding Darfur. While hopefully true, movement continues at a snail's pace (which translates into a another 10,000 or so who have died needlessly). That said, things do continue to move, albeit in a compromised and out-of-sync fashion.

In an historic step, the UN Security Council passed a resolution referring Darfur to the International Criminal Court (ICC). This was virtually unthinkable six months ago because the US does not accept the ICC and threatened to veto such a proposal. However a compromise to the UN resolution, exempting the US from prosecution, allowed it to pass with the US abstaining. Eventually this should help Darfur, and if one believes compromised legislation may yet become a springboard for more solid ones, it may help other conflicts.

So THANK YOU to all US citizens who emailed Secretary of State Rice as mentioned in the last email - US dynamics have changed, even if slightly. And thanks to anyone taking action in other countries - the pressure must continue.

Aside: The "out of sync" nature of this step is that the first step, long ago, should have been a comprehensive peace force on the ground in Darfur. At the moment there are around 3000 African Union peacekeepers in Darfur, whereas credible sources indicate over 40,000 are now needed. Without being able to secure the area, the above UN resolution has been met by Sudan with threats and actual actions against humanitarian workers.


TAKE ACTION - BACKGROUND

In April of 1994 the genocide in Rwanda started. In April of this year a group has created an initiative called the Genocide Intervention Fund. Its purpose, apart from education and advocacy regarding genocide, is to allow private donors to give to a fund to be used to bolster the peacekeeping efforts in Darfur. Its significance is that it allows more direct citizen action - previously the only way to get more support for peacekeeping troops was to petition one's government, which of course should continue. But the legacy of that path is, literally, deathly slow.

Thus the suggested action for today is experimental, and I think worth trying. If you follow the background link below, you will see that is has the endorsement of some significant names. The group is clear that while they hope to raise $1,000,000 in the next 100 days - that was how long the Rwandan genocide lasted - that their real hope is that it become a catalyst for action by the major international players. Donations by US and Canadian citizens are tax deductible. And to be transparent, I have no affiliation with them - I simply find it a worthy effort to support - who can say what might come of it?

Background Link:
    http://genocideinterventionfund.org/about/proposal.php

Donate to Genocide Intervention Fund:
    http://genocideinterventionfund.org/donate/




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Rod Downing
rdowning@istar.ca.

Surrey BC Canada
(604) 535-6550