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PRESS RELEASES

AFRICA PEACE EDUCATION AND PITTSBURGH DARFUR EMERGENCY COALITION

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Thursday, 19 May 2005
 

Contact: Peter Castro Okema

Coordinator, Africa Peace Education – Pittsburgh

Tel: (412) 657-8513 Email: peterokema@gmail.com

Website: http://www.africantransatlantic.org

 

PROTESTING SUDAN GOVERNMENT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH

 The Sudanese Deputy Chief of Missions to the United States of America, Abdel Bagi Kabeir, is scheduled to visit the University of Pittsburgh on Saturday May 21, 2005 starting at 3:00 PM in David Lawrence Hall, 3942 Forbes Avenue. According to the Sankore Institute, an Islamic organization that is co-organizing the program, Ambassador Kabeir is coming to discuss the Darfur crisis. The visit is organized by the University of Pittsburgh Muslim Students Association and the Sankore Institute.

 The Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition, in collaboration with Africa Peace Education, is organizing a symbolic protest at the University of Pittsburgh where Mr. Khabeir is to speak. The Sudanese Ambassador has been a consistent apologist of the Sudanese regime and is coming to Pittsburgh to build credibility for his atrocious Sudan government. The purpose of our protest is to send a message to the Sudanese government that we in Pittsburgh support the helpless Sudanese in the Darfur region and we are angered by the atrocities of the government and the janjaweed militias.

 In the fall of 2004, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell declared that “genocide” had occurred and was still occurring in Darfur, as thousands of Darfur civilians were killed, other thousands maimed, thousands of women raped and millions displaced. This deliberate killing of civilians, combined with the creation of huge numbers of refugees suffering from malnutrition and disease, has so far taken the lives of some 400,000 people in Darfur. According to human rights organizations, civilians in the region continue to die at the rate of 15,000 a month. The Sudanese Government, using janjaweed militias, its air force, and organized starvation, continues systematically to kill innocent civilians in Darfur. Besides the killings, the rapes, and the burning of their homes, many have starved to death because their livestock has been slaughtered, their crops destroyed, and their drinking water contaminated. About 2.5 million people have been forced from their homes and villages. Most of those who survive live in misery in hastily assembled refugee camps both in and outside Sudan.

 Pittsburgh is home and sanctuary to over 50 Sudanese Lost Boys refugees who escaped from the atrocities of the Sudan government. These Sudanese refugees continue to lose members of their families back in Africa to the violence of the Sudanese government troops and the Janjaweed militias. The Sudanese have made Pittsburgh their new home. Together with these Sudanese refugees, we express disapproval of the coming of the ambassador because we believe that the government has failed to provide safety and security of the Sudanese in the Darfur region. We condemn the complicity of the Sudan government with the janjaweed in the commission of atrocious crimes upon the people of Darfur, a complicity unambiguously exposed in the “Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to the UN Secretary General of 25 January 2005.” We are also concerned that the coming of the Ambassador is meant to give a good image to the Sudan government at the expense of the suffering of Sudanese people in Darfur.

 For more information or if you have any questions on Darfur, please contact David Rosenberg of the Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition at (412) 244-7067 or email at Jumphook@aol.com


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