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Appeal To 'Make Some Noise' For Victims In Sudan

Amnesty International
MEDIA RELEASE

23 JULY 2006
For Immediate Release

Freedom Week Appeal To 'Make Some Noise' For Victims In Sudan

Amnesty International's Freedom Week appeal in the first week of August will support its global crisis campaigning work to protect civilians from atrocities in the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan.

"Darfur is the world's 'forgotten' human rights crisis," said Amnesty International New Zealand Development Manager, John Shaw. "Appalling human rights violations have been taking place there since the civil war in Sudan spread to the region in 2003."

"An estimated 250,000 to 400,000 Sudanese men, women and children have been slaughtered. Thousands of women and girls have been raped. 2.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes — 200,000 to refugee camps in neighbouring Chad. The vast majority of these abuses have been committed by ethnic Janjawid militia groups armed and paid for by the Sudanese government. The atrocities are continuing today, and spreading into Chad."

John Shaw said Amnesty International was among the first and loudest to speak out about Darfur in 2003 and 2004. "But at the start, the response of the international community to these violations was silence. Freedom Week donations will help us build pressure on the world's governments to intervene now to stop the atrocities; and on the Sudanese government to disarm the Janjawid and bring the perpetrators to justice."

Campaigning to end and prevent human rights abuses in Sudan and Chad is now Amnesty International's top campaign priority worldwide.

Freedom Week street collections for the Sudan crisis appeal are being organised by local Amnesty groups. They will take place in over 20 cities and towns on Friday 4 August, and on Thursday 3 August in Wellington. New Zealanders can also make automatic $20 Freedom Week Sudan crisis donations by phoning 0900 HUMAN RIGHTS (0900 48626).

John Shaw said street collections in many cities are expected to be noisy affairs this year, as, for the first time, many local bands and performing artists will be turning out to busk for the appeal alongside traditional collectors.

"The buskers and bands will be helping us make some noise for human rights," said John Shaw.

"Making noise is a pretty good description of what we do as a movement. We raise our voices collectively on behalf of those whose voices cannot be heard: those suffering violence and persecution, like civilians in Sudan and Chad."

The volume will also be turned up at local Amnesty group-organised 'toast to freedom' events at the start of Freedom Week; and in schools and universities around the country during the week, where over 50 Amnesty student groups are staging campaigning and fundraising events.

ENDS

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