NBC is featuring coverage of the situation in Darfur, Sudan this week. CNN and MTV and other media will be covering the events at UCLA this week on Wednesday, March 15, and Thursday, March 16, related to the divestment vote.
Wednesday, March 15
Mark Brecke, Documentary Photographer and Filmmaker
Mark Brecke is an independent filmmaker and documentary photographer. Covering ten years and three continents (Asia, Africa, and Europe), his work documents the stories of people victimized by war, ethnic conflict, and genocide. The focus of Mark's recent work is on the crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan. From October to late December of 2004, he visited the refugee camps of eastern Chad and traveled for five weeks in Darfur with the SLA (Sudanese Liberation Army). Since his return he has been touring with his images of Darfur and giving lecture/slide presentations at a variety of venues, small and large, including law schools, galleries, and radio programs such as Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now."
Stephanie Nyombayire is a sophomore at Swarthmore College and a native of Rwanda who came to the US nearly four years ago. Having lost nearly one hundred family members and friends during the Rwandan genocide in 1994, Stephanie speaks on college campuses about the personal experiences that have driven her to take action as Outreach Director for the Genocide Intervention Fund (GIF). Stephanie also serves as Secretary of the Swarthmore African Students Association.
Jason Miller is one of the co-chairs of the UC Sudan Divestment Taskforce. Jason is a MD/PHD student at the University of California, San Francisco. He has worked tirelessly on the UC Divestment Campaign.
Invited - Danny Glover
THURSDAY, MARCH 16 -- DIVESTMENT DAY -- UC Regents to Vote on Divestment
There are activities planned throughout the day to coincide with the University of California Board of Regents Meeting and the Final Vote on Divestment from Sudan.
Activities include marches, speakers, musical performances, demonstrations, UC Divest Sudan pin distribution, solidarity die-ins, and more!!
March through campus at noon with drummers -- meet at Covel Commons, march to Bruin Walk and back to Covel Commons.
Incredible Darfur t-shirts available - minimum donation of $10 requested; t-shirts are completely sweatshop free!!
Tentative Schedule for Thursday, March 16 -- 8 AM - 4 PM:
9 AM -- Regent Meeting Public Comments Session
Activities and performances until approximately 2 PM.
2 PM -- Regents Meeting Open Session on Divestment -- Discussion by Regents
Vote follows open session -- between 2 and 4
Speakers throughout the day and during the public comments session:
Mark Brecke, Stephanie Nyombayire, Jason Miller, Professor Edmond Keller, Professor Edward Alpers, Professor Paul Von Blum, Renee Firestone (Holocaust survivor), Cham Nan Chao (Cambodian genocide). Invited but not yet confirmed: Danny Glover
Cham Nan Chao
Cham Nan Chao is a student at the University of California, Los Angeles. Cham is a member of the Darfur Action Committee at UCLA, and lost multiple family members during the Cambodian genocide.
Holocaust Survivor Renee Firestone was born in Hungary and was deported to Auschwitz at the age of 19. While most of her family perished, she somehow survived and emigrated to the United States in 1948. She has lectured all around the country and was featured in the 1998 Academy-Award winning documentary "The Last Days."
We need you there!
For more information, contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org - Darfur Action Committee
This week in Sudan:
The African Union’s Peace and Security Council met Sunday, March 12, to decide whether or not the AU would ask the United Nations to take over primary responsibility for peacekeeping in Darfur. The end result was unfortunately not a positive one, with the AU agreeing to Sudan’s demand that they not allow a transfer to a UN force until a peace agreement is reached. The peace talks, currently in their seventh round in the Nigerian capitol of Abuja, have not seen much progress over the last year, although the AU’s decision will hopefully refocus international attention on the urgent need for a more productive peace process.
One must wonder, however, whether Sudan will agree to any meaningful terms for peace, given that to do so would invite the UN to deploy a force in Darfur, something that they have adamantly opposed. That opposition was seen earlier this week in the form of a Sudanese government-incited demonstration in Khartoum, where an estimated 30,000 people gathered in the streets and chanted anti-western slogans such as “Down, Down, USA” and “Darfur will be the grave of the conquerors” in an attempt to weaken international resolve in advance of today’s AU meeting.
The AU’s decision came despite a last minute effort by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, who spent most of the week abroad meeting with African and European leaders. While it remains unclear how the Bush Administration will respond, Congress is poised to take the necessary first step of providing increased funds for AU peacekeepers in Darfur by way of an expected amendment to the FY06 supplemental appropriations bill when it come to the House floor next week. Despite the disappointment with the AU’s decision, the 7,000 AU peacekeepers remain the only line of defense for millions of Darfuri men, women, and children, and must be supported.
Elsewhere in Congress this week, the House International Relations Committee passed the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, setting the stage for passage by the full House and then a possible conference with the Senate before it goes to the President for signature. The bill authorizes additional U.S. aid to the African Union and calls for a U.S. special envoy to help speed up the Darfur peace process, among other provisions.
The situation on the ground in Darfur and in neighboring Chad, meanwhile, continues to worsen by the day. The United Nation’s refugee assistance agency, UNHCR, announced Thursday that it was cutting its budget for Darfur by 44%, citing an inability to deliver humanitarian aid due to security concerns.
First genocide of the 21st Century…
This is Darfur, Sudan...
A silent genocide rages on in the Darfur region of Africa's largest country, Sudan. For the first time in history, the US government has declared that ongoing atrocities perpetuated by the Sudanese government against its own citizens amount to genocide, giving institutions like the University of California the impetus to act. Following on a rich history of socially-responsible decision-making, the University of California has the opportunity to condemn the Sudanese government by divesting UC funds from companies that support Sudan's actions.
Date: Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Time: 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM
2414 Ackerman Student Union
Los Angeles, CA 90095
Cost: Free and open to the public; parking is available for $8.
UCLA Darfur Action Committee and UC Divestment Taskforce