Charities keep pressure on Brown for action in Darfur

12 September 2007

by Rachel Harden

CHRISTIAN campaigning groups will take part in the Global Day of Action for Darfur being held in cities around the world this Sunday. The London rally will urge the UK Government to take more responsibility for the war-torn region of Sudan.

Sunday is the second anniversary of the UN signing up to the “responsibility to protect” principle, drafted to protect civilians threatened by mass atrocities.

At the end of August, the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, and the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, wrote a joint article calling for immediate action in Darfur. A month earlier, the UN Security Council voted to send more UN/Africa Union peacekeepers to Darfur, where an estimated 200,000 people have died since 2003.

James Smith, chief executive of the the Aegis Trust, which campaigns against genocide, has praised the Government’s pledge to act. But he said it should rethink its policy on Darfuri asylum-seekers. In a letter to The Times last week, Mr Smith said that the House of Lords was due to hear an appeal by the Home Office on 4 October against a Court of Appeal block on the removal of three Darfuri asylum-seekers.

Mr Smith said that the Aegis Trust had compelling evidence that deported Darfuris have been tortured. Until the situation in Darfur was resolved peacefully, asylum-seekers should not be deported, he said.

Another UK charity, CORD, which works in international conflict zones, has also backed the Brown/Sarkozy initiative. “Only a concerted international effort by all parties to the conflict will bring to an end the suffering of several millions of people in the region,” said CORD’s director, Michael Godfrey.

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