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Hundreds Rally for Darfur

Africa Action Press Release

Hundreds Rally for Darfur at U.S. Mission to the UN Pressure Escalates on Bush Administration to Do More to End Genocide During June Presidency of UN Security Council

Friday, May 23, 2008 (New York, NY) – Nearly 300 activists joined leaders yesterday at a rally in front of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, calling on the Bush administration to make protecting the people of Darfur and promoting peace for Sudan the top U.S. priority for its presidency of the UN Security Council during the month of June. Surrounded by banners covered in thousands of handprints collected from concerned citizens around the country, a delegation of leading advocates, including several Sudanese figures, delivered a statement of demands for immediate action to a representative of the U.S. Mission.

"This moment is critical for President Bush to show that he means what he says about ending genocide in Darfur and helping the people of Sudan build a lasting peace for their country," said Gerald LeMelle, Executive Director of Africa Action. "In June, the administration should use all diplomatic and economic leverage necessary to overcome both the government of Sudan's obstruction and all logistical roadblocks to the full deployment of the UN-led peacekeeping force for Darfur known as UNAMID. President Bush should empower U.S. diplomacy at the UN and other venues by speaking out himself on this issue. He should personally state that U.S. relations with Sudan will never normalize until UNAMID is fully in place and freely operating and Khartoum fulfills all its obligations made under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended Sudan's North-South civil war."

"I'm very concerned about the deteriorating situation in Darfur and Khartoum since the May 10 JEM attack on the capital," said Mohamed Yahya, Executive Director of Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy. "I urge the U.S to use its leverage during the leadership of the Security Council to lead the international community to pressure Khartoum to stop harassing innocent lives, and to face the consequences of crimes against humanity and genocide."

Other speakers included Queens New York City Council Member Eric Gioia, Rev. Herbert Daughtry, pastor of the House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn and head of the National Religious Leaders of African Ancestry Concerned about Darfur, Yahya Osman, Vice President of the Darfur Rehabilitation Project, Motasim Adam, President of the Darfur People's Association of New York and Rev. Father Mesrob Lakissian, pastor of St. Illuminator's Armenian Apostolic Cathedral.

The statement Africa Action and allies delivered to the U.S. Mission is available at www.africaaction.org along with other policy resources explaining how the U.S. can help end the genocide in Darfur and support a lasting peace for Sudan.

Yesterday’s event was organized by Africa Action, African Services Committee, American Jewish World Service, Armenian National Committee of America, Chadian Association of North America, Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy, DarfurMetro, Darfur Rehabilitation Project, Darfur People's Association of New York, Darfur Vigil Group, the ENOUGH Project, Genocide Intervention Network, Making a Difference, NY City Coalition for Darfur, Rock to Save Darfur, Shine a Ray of Hope, STAND and TransAfrica Forum.

ends

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