Darfurians Hold Weekend Protest Outside White House Against Genocide
The U.S. State Department responded Wednesday to a two-day demonstration and 24-hour hunger strike held by Darfurians outside of the White House over the weekend, by saying the United States has engaged many times with the Darfur Women's Action Group, which organized the event.
Protesters said the Obama administration has not done enough to fight genocide in Darfur.
The State Department told South Sudan in Focus that the primary objective of the U.S. in Darfur is to promote sustainable peace and stability.
The protest was part of a Global Week of Action against genocide in Darfur, an event that continues through Monday, April 25. About 100 protesters chanted, "Stop Genocide in Darfur," and "Justice, justice for Darfur."
Niemat Ahmadi, founder of the Darfur Women's Action Group, said more than 1 million people have been displaced because of the ongoing violence in Jebba Marra and other areas of Darfur. Ahmadi told South Sudan in Focus she organized the hunger strike and protest because people are dying and the White House is doing nothing about it.
"We demanded the Obama administration speak up and send special forces to Darfur to assist the situation. The people are dying because of the government of Sudan, and that's why we want the world leaders, particularly the U.S. government, to speak up against the recent attacks in Darfur and hold the government of Sudan accountable."
The "Darfur Genocide" refers to the mass slaughter of men, women and children and the raping of Darfuri women in Western Sudan. The killings began in 2003 and continue today.
The genocide is being carried out by a group of Arab militias said to be funded by the government who are known as the Janjaweed. The origin of the word Janjaweed is unclear. It has been loosely translated into English as "devils on horseback" from Arabic. The Janjaweed are accused of burning Darfurian villages, looting cattle and property, polluting water sources, and murdering and torturing civilians.
Ahmadi believes U.S. President Barack Obama must do more to help the people of Darfur people during his final months in office.
Ahmadia said the Darfurian Diaspora in the United States is uniting with Sudanese in Europe, Canada, Africa and Australia to draw the world's attention to atrocities being committed by the Sudanese government on the people living in Jebba Marra and other parts of Darfur.
The Diaspora have been meeting all week with various U.S. lawmakers about the plight of the people of Darfur. They also are holding workshops in Washington to educate lawmakers, academics, and others about the genocide that has occurred in Darfur.
Source: Voice of America