"Perhaps the most extraordinary aspect of Darfur isn’t that gunmen on the Sudanese payroll heave babies into bonfires as they shout epithets against blacks. It’s that the rest of us are responding only with averted eyes and polite tut-tutting."
– Nicholas D. Kristof, from “If Not Now, When?,” The New York Times, 2007.
As World War II ended, the world beat its collective chest defiantly and proclaimed it would "never forget" the genocide of the Holocaust so that it could "never again" be repeated. The world – as history has proven – has a short memory. The Holocaust was not the world’s first genocide, and it has not been the last.
Holocaust Museum Houston has been active in raising public awareness of the genocide in Darfur and in pressuring government officials to act. Beginning with a resolution of its Board of Directors in August 2004 recognizing the genocide and urging government action, the Museum initiated a program of action through periodic letters to the president, vice president, other executive branch officials and members of Congress. The Museum has maintained visibility on the issue through exhibitions, teacher training, presentations to students and public programs.
Genocide Never Happens by Chance
Sudan, Africa’s largest country, has been in near constant conflict since it became independent from British colonial rule in 1956.
Sudan is divided by religion (70 percent Muslim, 25 percent animist and 5 percent Christian); ethnicity (African and Arab origin Sudanese); tribe; and economic activity (herders and farmers).
In the Sudanese government, power rests primarily with an elite Arab group based in the capital of Khartoum. Historically, regions outside of Khartoum, such as the South and Darfur, in the West, have been marginalized politically and economically. The country’s conflict stems from this exclusion.
In an effort to fight for their rights, African rebel groups in Darfur (made up predominantly of the Fur, Zaghawa and Masalit tribes) took up arms against the government in 2003. In response to this rebellion, the Sudanese government armed and coordinated "Janjaweed" militias to carry out systematic assaults against civilian populations of African tribes thought to be supportive of the rebellion.
Darfur is home to more than 30 ethnic groups, all of which are Muslim. The "Janjaweed" militias — recruited, armed, trained and supported by the Sudanese government — are drawn from several of the groups in Darfur that identify themselves as Arab.
The "Janjaweed" have terrorized and displaced civilians in more than half of Darfur’s villages using mass murder, rape and the systematic destruction of livelihoods. To date, more than 400,000 African Darfurians have been killed, and more than 2 million people have been driven from their homes.
In 2004, the United States government publicly stated that genocide was occurring in Darfur based on the United Nations definition of the term.
In Article II of the United Nations (UN) Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the UN defines genocide as "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
- killing members of the group;
- causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
- deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
- imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
- forcibly transferring children of the group to another group."
Learn More about Current Darfur Legislation
The Genocide Intervention Network has created the first-ever anti-genocide hotline. Call today to be connected directly to your elected officials for free. All you need is your zip code. The hotline will provide you with up-to-date talking points related to current Darfur legislation and other actions your elected officials can take to help end the genocide. Make Darfur a top priority for your governor, representative, senators and the White House. Call 1-800-GENOCIDE or visit www.1800genocide.com learn more.
Learn about Other Advocacy Tools
Visit www.savedarfur.org and click on the "Take Action" tab to learn more about advocacy options you may choose to take on this issue or visit www.ushmm.org to watch a new interactive program on genocide from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Genocide Watch exists to predict, prevent, stop and punish genocide and other forms of mass murder. It seeks to raise awareness and influence public policy concerning potential and actual genocide. Its purpose is to build an international movement to prevent and stop genocide.
Committee on Conscience
The Committee on Conscience's mandate is to alert the national conscience, influence policy makers and stimulate worldwide action to confront and work to halt acts of genocide or related crimes against humanity. In carrying out its mandate, the Committee uses a wide range of actions, including public programs and activities, temporary exhibitions and public or private communications with policy makers. It seeks to work whenever possible with other governmental and non-governmental organizations.
Genocide Intervention Network
The Genocide Intervention Network envisions a world in which the global community is willing and able to protect civilians from genocide and mass atrocities. Its mission is to empower individuals and communities with the tools to prevent and stop genocide.
Using media outreach, public education, targeted coalition building and grassroots mobilization to pressure policy makers and other decision-makers in the United States and abroad, this coalition works to help the people of Darfur.
Student Anti-Genocide Coalition
STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition formerly known as "Students Taking Action Now: Darfur" serves as an umbrella organization for student groups active in promoting awareness, advocating for an end to the current genocide in Darfur, Sudan and working to create a permanent anti-genocide student movement. It serves as a guide for student groups in high schools and colleges, helping them to develop their grassroots efforts for Darfur and anti-genocide activism, to unify their message and to coordinate efforts.
Human Rights Watch
Human Rights Watch is dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world. It stands with victims and activists to prevent discrimination, to uphold political freedom, to protect people from inhumane conduct in wartime and to bring offenders to justice. The group investigates and exposes human rights violations and holds abusers accountable. It challenges governments and those who hold power to end abusive practices and respect international human rights law. It enlists the public and the international community to support the cause of human rights for all.
Amnesty International's vision is of a world in which every person enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights standards. In pursuit of that vision, its mission is to undertake research and action focused on preventing and ending grave abuses of the rights to physical and mental integrity, freedom of conscience and expression, and freedom from discrimination, within the context of its work to promote all human rights.