The Darfur Consortium

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Darfur in the News

U.S. and European Media

July 27, 2023

Bloomberg: Buffett Sells PetroChina Shares Near Record Price (Update1). Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc. pared its stake in PetroChina Co. two months after the billionaire rejected investor demands to sell out of China's biggest oil producer because of links to Sudan. Berkshire sold 16.9 million shares, reducing its share of the stock issued in Hong Kong to investors other than the Chinese government to 10.96 percent from 11.05 percent, the Beijing-based company said in a filing to the exchange today. Berkshire owns about 1.1 percent of the company's entire capital. Buffett sold the stock at an average price of HK$12.441, higher than the record close of HK$12.44 set July 9. The shares have gained 16 percent since May 4, when PetroChina announced details of the nation's biggest oilfield discovery in almost half a century. A day later, Buffett told Berkshire shareholders "we have no disagreement with what PetroChina is doing.'' China National Petroleum Corp., PetroChina's parent, holds oil reserves and pipelines in Sudan, where the government has been accused of supporting genocide. In 2003, rebels seeking a larger share of Sudan's political power and oil wealth attacked the government. The announcement came after market close. PetroChina shares declined 38 cents, or 3.1 percent, to HK$11.76 in Hong Kong.

Reuters: Spielberg may quit Games role in Darfur protest: ABC. Film director Steven Spielberg may quit his position as artistic advisor to the 2008 Beijing Olympics if China does not take a harder line against Sudan over Darfur, ABC News reported. China, a huge investor in Sudan's oil industry, has resisted sending U.N. peacekeepers to the country's troubled Darfur region. Human rights groups and other critics have accused China and others of breaching international rules and fanning bloodshed by selling Sudan weapons that have been diverted to Darfur. "Steven will make a determination in the next few weeks regarding his work with the Chinese. Our main interest is ending the genocide. No one is clear on the best way to do this," Spielberg's spokesman Andy Spahn told in an article on its Web site on Friday. "All options were on the table," Spahn told the Web site, including quitting, but his decision would depend on an anticipated statement on Sudan by Beijing in the coming days. "We expect to hear something from the Chinese government sometime soon, very soon. We're pretty far down the road in discussions and then we'll decide if the path is productive or not and then consider other options," Spahn told

Voice of America: Petitions on Darfur Submitted to China's Embassy in Washington. "My name is Joey Cheek. I am on the U.S. Olympic team. And I am here to deliver petitions that we have collected over the last week imploring China to continue to act strongly to protect the civilians in Darfur," said Cheek. Cheek, a gold and silver medalist who last year donated his Olympic bonus money to aid refugees in Darfur, clutched two thick binders containing petitions urging China to pressure Sudan to honor commitments to allow a hybrid United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force into Darfur. Only Cheek was allowed inside the embassy, after a half-hour wait at the door. He reemerged moments later, saying embassy officials received the petitions and reacted positively to his idea of organizing a joint visit by U.S. and Chinese athletes to Darfur. Speaking with reporters, Cheek said China, which has invested heavily in Sudan, has great leverage over Khartoum and should be urged to use that leverage to maximum effect when it comes to Darfur. "We acknowledge the role that China has played up to this point in diplomacy and behind the scenes in trying to move forward on the hybrid peacekeeping force [for Darfur]," he said. "However, now, seven months later, people are still dying. The aid groups have decreased their presence on the ground from last year. And it appears that, financially, the connection [between Bejing and Khartoum] is only stronger." Nearby, several dozen demonstrators bore signs in English and Chinese urging action in Darfur. Cheek gave them an assessment of their efforts that was alternately somber and upbeat. "I think we have got a lot of work ahead of us," said Cheek. "The work that each of us has done so far in being able to stand here and deliver this message -- I know that it does make an impact. So, personally, I would like to thank you all for spending some of your time out here today, and I know that our efforts are not in vain."

Raleigh News & Observer: Bill would divest state from Sudan-involved companies. A Senate committee is expected to vote Thursday on a plan to divest state pension funds from companies that do business with the government of Sudan. As many as 400,000 people have been killed in Darfur, Sudan since 2003, when Sudan's Arab-led government armed janjaweed militias to quell an uprising by non-Arab tribes demanding more political autonomy. Activists who have pushed for increased U.S. involvement in the crisis have turned to divestment as a way to fight the Sudanese government. "Two million people are displaced in this tragedy," said Sen. Larry Shaw (D-Salem), who introduced the bill today to the finance committee. "This is the right thing for North Carolina to do." The Sudan Divestment Task Force claims that more than 50 universities, 15 states [sic], and 5 cities have placed restrictions on their investments in the two years since the group, an arm of the Genocide Intervention Network, was founded. The state pension fund divested from nine companies that do business with Sudan in November, part of a broader divestment policy announced by N.C. Treasurer Richard Moore. The current bill, which calls for targeted divestment from certain companies who are involved with Sudan, has passed the House.

Christian Science Monitor: Darfur refugees tap the sun's power to cook. Imagine a town where everyone used solar power to cook their food, and reduced their reliance on finite sources of fuel, like firewood. At lunchtime, in front of every mud-walled hut, tens of thousands of pots are bubbling away inside silvery enclosures that tap sunlight. The town you're imagining is actually a refugee camp in the deserts of Eastern Chad, where 17,600 Darfur refugees fled from neighboring Sudan four years ago. Nearly 90 percent of the families here use solar cookers to prepare their midday meals. In a pilot project by a Dutch aid group called SVAAKO, 6,000 portable solar cookers have been given out to the refugees, and there are plans to introduce the stoves to other camps. Camp residents, all of them women, make the solar stoves themselves in a small workshop, spreading glue on sheets of cardboard and attaching sheets of aluminum foil. The stoves are cheap to produce: less than $20 per unit. Hawa Hamid Rahman, who fled Darfur four years ago, has used the device since January to feed her family during the lunchtime meal of bread and stew. At dawn and at dusk, she still uses firewood to cook, brought by a local non-government organization. She no longer travels out into the thorn-bush desert to collect it herself, because she says locals occasionally beat refugee women who collect firewood too close to their villages.

The following op-ed by Mia Farrow appeared in today's Wall Street Journal.

'No Hopes for Us'

If we hear of eastern Chad at all, it is as a spillover of the genocidal slaughter in Darfur. But this swath of land along Darfur's border has become a full-scale catastrophe in its own right, and it is without the immense and effective humanitarian infrastructure which is sustaining millions of lives in Darfur.

When I first came here in November 2006, I met Abdullah Idris Zaid, who was lying in the tiny Goz Beida hospital. It was a terrible month in eastern Chad. The Janjaweed, Darfur's government-backed Arab militias, joined with Chadian Arab tribes on a rampage of destruction; 60 villages were burned and scores of people were killed, raped, and mutilated. Mr. Zaid's eyes were gouged out by Janjaweed knives.

This month I found him in the Gouroukoum camp for displaced people. He is 27 years old, a husband and a father. His 4-year-old daughter Boushra led him to the mat outside his hut and gently placed a cup of water in his hands. He told me that this is the third place they have sought refuge, and still he does not feel safe.

"They will come again," said Mr. Zaid. "They said, 'we do not want you black people here.' The Janjaweed come from Sudan. If the United Nations does not send troops into Sudan and stop them, then they will return."

Eastern Chad has been plunged into chaos and lawlessness. In border towns, pick-up trucks outfitted with machine guns and loaded with armed, uniformed men careen through the dusty streets. No one knows who they are: the army, Chadian rebels, bandits? It makes little difference to the victims of the escalating violence. For about $5 (U.S.), anyone can get a uniform in the marketplace. As I passed through the town of Abeche, a U.N. refugee agency guard was murdered and two staffers severely wounded. About 100 humanitarian vehicles have been highjacked in the last year; aid workers have been robbed, beaten, abducted and killed.

Eight months ago, 40,000 Chadians had been displaced by Janjaweed attacks. Today the number is 175,000 and rising. People have fled from their burning villages and the fields that sustained them to squalid camps across eastern Chad. "Mortality rates of children under five are double what is accepted as the threshold for an emergency," says Johanne Sekkenes, a Doctors Without Borders program director. "The situation here is massively deteriorating. The needs are huge. Assistance has been too little, and it comes too late."

There have been years of debate as to how the tide of violence engulfing the region can be stemmed. Until recently, the excuse for inaction was the steadfast resistance of the Sudanese government to U.N. peacekeeping presence. Sudan's recent consent to a limited force under African Union command comes in the wake of countless broken promises and falls far short of what is needed. Nonetheless, it leaves the onus squarely on other countries that have the power to contribute troops, but lack the political will to do so.

And so the cacophony of voices continues, deliberating as to whether and how a force should be dispatched, and who should contribute the resources and troops. No one seems to be listening to the most important voice of all -- that of the people of Darfur and eastern Chad, ringing loud and clear from refugee camps across the region.

Oumda al Fatih, is the leader of 20,000 Darfurians at Goz Amir refugee camp. Between the camp and the Darfur border there is nothing but the ashes of destroyed villages. "Twice, Janjaweed from Sudan came here and attacked us," he told me. The refugees had fled these attackers before, but now they were far from home. With no idea where to find water in the unfamiliar desert, they did not even try to run. "We sat on the ground and we held our children and waited for two days. And we were thinking, 'No hopes for us. No hopes for us.'

"We are the ones being killed, tortured and raped. We are the ones who have lost everything. We are refugees with no freedom, no rights, not enough food, no fields; we are living in terror. We accept the U.N. troops. We are asking for help."

This is the voice of the people of Darfur and eastern Chad. It calls urgently for an international force with the resources and mandate necessary to protect defenseless civilians and the aid workers who are struggling to sustain them. These desperate pleas are what we should be hearing and responding to -- urgently.

The following editorial appeared in Thursday's Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Darfur Exhibit: See, hear and speak out

The more you know about the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, the more you may be moved to push for an end to it.

The National Constitution Center is offering several chances to be moved, including a dramatic photography exhibit through Monday. Images are being digitally projected on outdoor walls - that's why the show runs from 8:45 p.m. until midnight.

The Constitution Center also will screen a Darfur documentary, the Devil Came on Horseback, on Saturday evening and host a panel on confronting genocide on Monday.

You can help. If the world is silent about Darfur, U.S. officials won't push as hard to find a resolution, Sudanese leaders will feel free to continue their pogrom. So attend these events, and speak out.


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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