The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

August 15, 2023

Washington Post: Symbolic Torch Relay Aims to Shine Light on China, Darfur and Death. Lighting a torch at historic sites of genocide, a group of activists, actors and athletes is hoping to press China, as host of the 2008 Olympic Games, to use its influence with the government in Khartoum to stop the killing and displacement of civilians in the Darfur region of western Sudan. "We actually think it is inconsistent for an Olympic host to be complicit in an ongoing genocide," said Jill Savitt, a human rights activist who conceived of the "Olympic Dream for Darfur" campaign. The symbolic torch relay began Aug. 8, two miles from Darfur's border with eastern Chad, the same day the official Olympic torch relay began in Athens. The group is scheduled to light a flame this morning in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, and to march along the route where, in 1994, about 2,500 Tutsis were massacred between a high school and a rubbish dump. The group is being led by actress Mia Farrow and, besides Savitt, includes basketball player Ira Newble of the Cleveland Cavaliers; Eric Reeves, a Smith College professor and Sudan expert; and Ruth Messinger, president of the American Jewish World Service. "By lighting a flame on the Darfur border, we inject hope across eastern Chad and now Rwanda," Farrow said. "If we have the support of those communities who should know better, we will get the strength and inspiration to protect those places." Speaking by telephone from Kigali yesterday, Farrow described the Darfurian refugees she met last week in Chad, saying, "They are grieving. One lifetime is not enough time to recover. Their tarps are old and leaking. People there told us they long to go home. They listen to the BBC twice a day. Some have had their college education severed, yet they want what we want. Their dreams have been put on hold and their hopes extinguished." "China has unrivaled leverage with oil revenue it brings into Sudan and arms sales, so it can play a diplomatic role other than Khartoum's protector," Savitt, the activist, said yesterday by telephone from Kigali. "China will be sensitive to pressure and we want to say, 'China, please bring the Olympic dream to Darfur.' " The group is also coordinating a torch relay in 25 U.S. states from September through December.

Reuters: As other firms exit, phone companies enter Sudan. Bright yellow banners sprang up overnight along the banks of the Nile then spread along the ten-lane highways and crowded market streets of Sudan's traffic-clogged capital, Khartoum. They were the first steps in a campaign by South Africa's MTN to stake a claim in one of Africa's last big undeveloped mobile phone markets. Foreign investors have steered clear of Sudan in recent years, following the international uproar over the crisis in Darfur and subsequent strengthening of U.S. sanctions against Khartoum. Britain's Rolls Royce announced plans to pull out in April, joining Germany's Siemens, Switzerland's ABB and Canada's CHC Helicopter in the queue to exit. But the newly booming telecoms market in the oil-rich east African country has proved too tempting for mobile phone companies to resist. For them, the vast expanses of Sudan's western Darfur region are not so much a disaster zone as one more unexploited mobile phone market waiting to be tapped. Another largely untapped opportunity lies in South Sudan with two of its own tiny mobile operators Gemtel and NOW. Both could be acquisition targets. But along with the huge opportunities come huge risks, among them getting caught up in the international outrage at the Darfur crisis in Sudan's remote west. Sudatel was one of 31 Sudanese companies blacklisted by Washington in May for allegedly "contributing to the conflict in the Darfur region." Other potential complications for foreign investors are illustrated by Paris-based telecoms equipment maker Alcatel-Lucent which has contracts with Sudatel. Alcatel has also been targeted by Darfur-focused campaigners like the Sudan Divestment Taskforce -- a pressure group that targets large organizations to drop investments in companies it sees as supporting Sudan's government.

Reuters: Darfur leader says force must include non-Africans. A key Darfur rebel leader said a viable peacekeeping force for the war-torn western Sudanese region must include non-Africans and toned down his conditions for joining peace talks. African Union (AU) Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare said in Khartoum on Sunday that troops from outside Africa were not needed for a planned joint AU/UN force as African nations had pledged enough soldiers already. The comments angered Darfur rebel leaders who say AU troops in Darfur have been unable to stem the violence. "If anybody talks about only one continent (for the force) that means it is racism and we are against that strongly," Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) Chairman and founder Abdel Wahed Mohamed el-Nur told Reuters late on Tuesday night. "I'd like Konare to behave like the leader of the African people," he said. Nur said troops "of all colours" from all over the world should be included in the 26,000-strong force which will absorb 7,000 struggling AU forces already there.

Agence France Presse: Congo to contribute troops for Darfur peacekeeping force. Congo will contribute troops to a hybrid United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Sudan's war-ravaged Darfur, President Denis Sassou Nguesso said on Wednesday. "The Congolese government has decided to reinforce its presence in Darfur. In addition to the observers who are there on the ground, a company of soldiers from the Congolese armed forces will be put at the disposal of the hybrid force to be deployed soon," the president said on state television. He said this was "yet another chance for us to assume our historic responsibilities," in a speech marking the country's 47th anniversary of independence from France.


The Darfur Daily News is a service of the Save Darfur Coalition.  To subscribe to the Daily News, please email [email protected]. For media inquiries, please contact Ashley Roberts at (202) 478-6181, or [email protected].




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