Darfur Fast for Life

We fast in solidarity with the hungry and starving in Darfur and for lasting peace in Sudan

Rabbi Saperstein BLOG 6/17/09

June 17, 2009 By: Admin Category: Rabbi Saperstein

The latest on Darfur

I just walked out of a meeting with General Scott Gration, President Obama’s Special Envoy to Sudan.  Here’s the latest on Darfur and Sudan:

With regards to the internally displaced persons camps in Darfur, General Gration says that the efforts of the U.S., international community, outside groups to encourage the Sudanese government to allow aid back in is being felt with food aid growing again and approaching the levels it was before the eviction of the major aid groups. In other areas, such as health provision, the improvements are not yet so great but progress is being made. With some aid groups returning, or rather differently named aid groups being allowed entrance, there is some hope for the humanitarian situation in Sudan, although there is little question that all of the humanitarian groups will be operating very much at the mercy of the Sudanese government.  The Christian Science Monitor reports, “For now, aid officials believe many short-term needs are being met by aid groups and United Nations agencies that remained in Darfur. But they warn that the long-term impact could be devastating, particularly with the rainy season starting this month.”  It is critical that aid groups are allowed to enter and work quickly at high capacity.

In the meantime, the New York Times reports that attacks on civilians and arbitrary arrests in Darfur continue, and violence in South Sudan has increased to a level greater than that in Darfur.  This weekend, dozens were killed in an attack on an aid convoy in South Sudan.

General Gration recently returned from a whirlwind tour meeting with key international players who can contribute to a comprehensive peace process for Sudan.  As the North-South peace agreement remains tenuous, and as an election on Sudan’s leadership and a referendum on the future of Sudan’s unity approach, the crisis in Darfur is one of many factors General Gration is focusing on.  The State Department is hosting delegations from all the involved parties next week to try to get the peace process on the South back on track.

Tonight over 70 rabbis from around the world will be joining me in my solidarity fast for Darfur.  Their efforts, and the activism of citizens around the world, have helped immensely in drawing the world’s attention to the crisis in Darfur, making it clear that increased death rates are not acceptable.  Now is the time to turn the increased attention into meaningful results on the ground.

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