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Darfur refugees detail horrific memories

April 26th, 2008 · No Comments

60,000 Darfur refugees detail horrific memories in petition
Last Updated: Friday, April 25, 2008 | 4:01 PM ET Comments11Recommend22CBC News
More than 60,000 Darfur refugees living camps in Chad shared their heart-wrenching stories in a petition that was delivered Friday to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The petition, sent to Brown’s house and office at 10 Downing Street in London, begs Brown and other international leaders to crack down on the violence that has raged in the Darfur region of Sudan since April, 2003. Letters detailing the contents of the petition were sent to other world leaders, including Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and leaders at the United Nations.

The refugees who participated included written stories alongside their signatures that talked about the horror of being raped and the terror of watching militants destroy their homes.

Some of the participants, just children, made crayon drawings of their memories, submitting pictures of soldiers with guns and people covered in blood.

“They have displaced us and killed us and raped us in front of our children and husbands,” one woman wrote. “They killed our children and burned our houses.”

The petition was brought forward by the British-based advocacy group Waging Peace. A Canadian woman from British Columbia was involved in collecting the signatures, but she asked not to be identified.

Death toll tops 300,000: UN
On Thursday, United Nations officials said the death toll in Darfur had reached 300,000, topping previous World Health Organization estimates of 200,000. Sudan says only 10,000 have been killed.

More than 2.5 million people have been displaced.

Many who signed the petition begged the UN to send a full contingent of peacekeepers to the region.

A joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force was launched in Darfur in January, but the group so far only has about 9,000 troops and police on the ground out of the 26,000 that have been authorized. The UN has said it’s unlikely the force would reach full-operating capability before next year.

Fighting erupted in Darfur when black African tribesmen took up arms, complaining of decades of neglect and discrimination by the Arab-dominated Sudanese government in Khartoum.

The government has been accused of unleashing a militia of Arab nomads known as the janjaweed to commit atrocities against Darfur’s black African communities.

Tags: darfur

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