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					Canadian Students for Darfur MBC Room 2250 Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive Burnaby, BC, V5A 1S6 Tel: 604.268.6564 Fax: 604.291.5843 www.csfdarfur.net Dear, SUPPORT AND ENDORSE OUR WORK FOR DARFUR INTORDUCTION AND BACKGROUND We write to ask for your help and support on behalf of the people of Darfur. We will welcome the chance to do a presentation if possible. Canadian Students for Darfur (CSFDarfur) is non-profit, non-partisan and nonreligious organization founded and operated by students. The mission of the Canadian Students for Darfur is to increase public awareness throughout Canada about the ongoing crisis in Darfur, fundraise to assist aid agencies working in Darfur, and urge the Canadian government to become further involved in resolving the crisis. Our organisation has been endorsed by organisations including CUPE 3338, the Canadian Federation of Students, the Simon Fraser Student Society, the Teaching Support Staff Union, as well as prominent Canadians such as Senator Romeo Dallaire, Senator Mobina Jaffer, Federal NPD Leader Jack Layton, and MP Bill Siksay, just to name a few. As well, we have chapters in other post secondary schools and high schools in Canada. Our goals are:
    Educating Canadians on the issues facing the people of Darfur and engaging them in discussions around possible solutions to the crisis. Promoting a national fundraising campaign to support aid agencies that are undertaking relief efforts in Darfur during the present conflict as well as the continuing support in the post-conflict situation. Pressuring the Canadian government for continuous involvement in the resolution of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Urging the international community to hold accountable, those responsible for the crimes against humanity committed against the people of Darfur.

The impact of the Darfur conflict, three years now, on people of the region has been described as the world's worst humanitarian crisis by the United Nations. Over two million people are estimated to now live in camps, having fled their homes and at least 400,000 are thought to have died during the crisis. Oxfam, a partner of CSFDarfur, takes care of 800,000 refugees from the conflict. Sudan’s government and the pro-government Arab militias are accused of war crimes against the region's black African population, although the UN has stopped short of terming it genocide. The rest of this letter provides a brief history of the situation in Darfur, and information about CSFDarfur as well as some of our other programs. It is important to note that CSFDarfur does not take sides in the conflict and only advocates and solicits help on behalf of the victims of the Darfur conflict. THE CONFLICT IN DARFUR The conflict began in the arid and impoverished region early in 2003 after a rebel group began attacking government targets, claiming that the region was being neglected by Khartoum. The rebels say the government is oppressing black Africans in favour of Arabs. There has been tension in Darfur, which means land of the Fur, for many years over land and grazing rights between the mostly nomadic Arabs and farmers from the Fur, Massaleet and Zagawa communities. There are two main rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (Jem), which have been linked to senior Sudanese opposition politician Hassan al-Turabi.

What Is The Government Of Sudan Doing? It admits mobilising "self-defence militias" following rebel attacks but denies any links to the Janjaweed, accused of trying to "cleanse" large swathes of territory of black Africans. Refugees from Darfur say that following air raids by government aircraft, the Janjaweed ride into villages on horses and camels, slaughtering men, raping women and stealing whatever they can find. Many women report being abducted by the Janjaweed and held as sex slaves for more than a week before being released. Human rights groups, the US Congress and US Secretary of State Colin Powell say that genocide is taking place - though a UN team sent to Sudan to find out instead said that war crimes had been committed, but there was no intent to commit genocide. Sudan’s government denies being in control of the Janjaweed. After strong international pressure and the threat of sanctions, the government promised to disarm the Janjaweed. But there is little evidence of this so far. Thousands of extra policemen have been deployed but the refugees have little faith in the Sudanese security forces. Sudan announced trials in Khartoum of some members of the security forces suspected of abuses, but this was a campaign against UN-backed attempts to get some 50 key suspects tried at the International Criminal Court in The Hague. What Has Happened To The Civilians? Millions have fled their destroyed villages, with many heading for camps near Darfur's main towns but there is not enough food, water or medicine. The Janjaweed patrol outside the camps and Darfurians say the men are killed and the women raped if they venture too far in search of firewood or water. Aid workers have warned that many thousands are at risk of starvation and disease in the camps - and one million children threatened by malnutrition - especially during wet seasons when access is restricted. Up to 4 million people may be affected by food shortages, the UN warns. Attempts by security forces to persuade the refugees to leave the camps and return home have led to violence and brought condemnation from the international community. Meanwhile, a drought and a big reduction in the number of active farmers mean a heavy dependence on food aid. Some 200,000 refugees have also sought safety in neighbouring Chad, but many are camped along a 600km stretch of the border and remain vulnerable to attacks from Sudan. Chad is worried that the conflict could spill over the border. Its eastern areas have a similar ethnic make-up to Darfur. Lots of aid agencies are working in Darfur but they are unable to get access to vast areas - accusing the government of blocking their movements by demanding visas and using other bureaucratic obstacles. Is Anyone Trying To Stop The Fighting? The government and the two rebel groups signed a ceasefire in April 2005 but this has not held. Subsequent African Union brokered peace talks in Nigeria have failed to make much progress though agreement has been reached on banning military flights in Darfur and on humanitarian aid. Peace talks have stalled around the two main issues of power and resources sharing. The Darfur groups are asking for a vice presidential position to be given to them as was the case with southern Sudan, and for the unification of Darfur into one political unit as opposed to the current divisions of Darfur into two regions. They also want revenue from oil resources exploited in their region to be returned to the region for development. The government of Sudan has been reluctant to grant these requests. Some 7,000 African Union troops have slowly been deployed in Darfur, the size of France or half the size of Ontario on a very limited mandate. The number is expected to rise to as many as 12,000 with the west pledging logistical and financial support. Khartoum is resisting allowing them to beef up their powers to disarm combatants. The United Nations has been criticised for doing too little, too late - but some significant diplomatic progress is now being made. The Security Council agreed to impose travel bans and an asset freeze on those who commit atrocities in Sudan's Darfur region. A dossier of evidence compiled by a UN commission has also been passed to the ICC in The Hague along with the names of top war crimes suspects. More recently, the UN has agreed to mobilize at least 20,000 troops to help with peace keeping and protection of civilians in the region. However, even this troop level is not enough as pointed out by experts including Senator Romeo Dallaire. Dallaire has recommended at least 44,000.

The Sudan government has hinted that it may let Darfur run its own affairs more if this would help solve the crisis. It has agreed to let southern Sudan have its own government as part of a deal to end 20 years of conflict in that region. But so far the crisis shows no signs of abating. How Many Darfurians Have Perished? Nobody knows how many people have died during the two-year conflict in Sudan’s western Darfur region. But the widely quoted United Nations figure of 70,000 is clearly wrong, because it was based on a study that does not include those killed in the violence and just covers a six-month period. The UN says that more than two million of the estimated six million population have fled their homes, but the organisation is reluctant to suggest how many might have died in total. Some analysts are estimating that the true death toll could be four or five times higher than the 70,000 figure. One significant problem in establishing a clear idea is that the Sudanese government and their allies, an Arab militia known as the Janjaweed, are blamed for most of the deaths, so the Khartoum authorities show little interest in encouraging any accurate assessment. Indeed they consistently underplay the scale of the crisis. Myriad international differences on Darfur have also contributed. The UN Security Council remains unable to agree on how to sanction the government or the perpetrators of abuses from all sides. The small African Union force meant to monitor a ceasefire is ineffective and under strength. This has led to continuing clashes, meaning many parts of the province remain insecure and inaccessible to those who might investigate. A UN mission sent to Darfur to establish whether US claims of genocide in Darfur were accurate failed to give any kind of toll, despite cataloguing hundreds of violent incidents and many eyewitness accounts of village massacres. The commission concluded that grave human rights abuses were taking place but there was no genocide. It is calling for war crimes trials. Given the lack of clarity and sensitivities for agencies working in Sudan, there has been speculation and extrapolations from researchers outside Sudan about how many might have died in Darfur. The calculation has been to guess how many might have died in violence based on eyewitness accounts - and then add on those that could have died from other causes over and above those that would normally have died in this harsh and sporadically violent part of the world. This has led to claims that several hundred thousand may have died. The only major study of deaths in Darfur so far has been conducted by the UN's World Health Organisation which estimated that as many as 70,000 people had died of disease and malnutrition caused by the conflict between March and October 2004. Senior WHO official Dr David Nabarro told BBC News that they are to conduct a new mortality survey in March to establish whether, as he suspects, mortality rates have fallen. Added to this, is a figure for how many may have been killed in the violence. Amnesty International's best estimate for how many may have died from violence since the conflict began - which took account of attacks on hundreds of villages - is 50,000. The UN's emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland has admitted the total death toll in Darfur could be much higher than the 70,000 WHO figure but says he does not know. US academic Eric Reeves estimates the figure at 340,000 at the beginning of 2005. UK-based Dr Jan Coebergh, who once worked in Darfur, has examined a range of aid agency health surveys. He puts the figures slightly lower at about 300,000 - but he admits it is little more than a stab in the dark. Today, most believe that at least 400,000 have died as a result of the conflict. Another 2.5 million have been displaced and the rape of women and girls continues with impunity. As Dr Coebergh told BBC News, "the important thing is that the deaths stop. How many more will die while the international community argue?" THE DARFUR FUND Canadian Students for Darfur (CSFDarfur) is working in partnership with Oxfam Canada. Robert Fox, executive director for Oxfam Canada, has agreed to support the efforts of CSFDarfur as the goal of assisting the victims of Darfur is shared between both organisations. Oxfam has a long history of work in Sudan where it supports a wide range of programs, including providing humanitarian aid to 800,000 people in

Darfur. 100% of the funds raised will go to Oxfam for their aid work in the region less overhead costs and bank charges. Our goal is to raise 1 million dollars within the year. How to Donate There are several ways to donate to the cause. A donation of at least $10 must be given to Oxfam to receive a tax receipt. While these are two methods of contributing, all of the donations will be used to help further Oxfam’s humanitarian work in Darfur regardless the method you chose. Donate to Oxfam Canada    Make an online donation at www.oxfam.ca. Please ensure to type in "CSD Appeal" in the comment box when making your donation. Make a donation by phone at 1.800.466.9326 and mention Oxfam Canada CSD Appeal. Mail a cheque made out to Oxfam Canada CSD Appeal:

Oxfam Canada National Fundraising Office Suite 200, 215 Spadina Avenue Toronto, ON M5T 2C7 Oxfam will administer the Canadian Students Darfur Appeal (CSD Appeal). Donations made by cheques, phone or online must designate Oxfam Canada CSD Appeal to properly track funds. Donate directly to CSFDarfur If you donate to CSFDarfur, you will not receive a tax receipt. If you chose to do so, you can donate online, or mail a cheque made out to Darfur Fund to: Canadian Students for Darfur MBC 2250, Simon Fraser University 8888 University Drive Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6 All donations are kept in the Darfur Fund, launched by Senator Roméo Dallaire. The fund was set up at Scotia bank in Vancouver (account #: 0002119 transit #: 50450). This will all go to Oxfam as well. Why the Darfur Fund All aid agencies working with the victims of this unfolding tragedy have indicated the need for more resources outside what governments are providing; food, water, shelter, and treatment; physical, mental and emotional treatment needed by the victims. The ultimate goal is to see an end to the killing of people, raping of women, and the burning of villages. In the meantime, attention must be devoted to providing the surviving victims of the conflict with the basic necessities they need to survive and begin the process of rehabilitation, reconciliation and eventual self-sufficiency in a peaceful and stable homeland. Your big donations are tax deductible. 1 Million Dollar Target We are trying to raise 1 million dollars in one year or sooner. The fundraising campaign A Dollar a Student for Darfur will continue until we reach the set target. Although the fund drive targets students, any person can contribute to the fund, including organisations, corporations and companies.

ONGOING CAMPAIGNS We are also seeking sponsors and funding for our ongoing campaigns:

Postcard Campaign (ongoing): The cards are addressed to Prime Minister of Canada, asking the government to maintain Canada’s involvement in the resolution of the humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Public Awareness (ongoing): Brown bracelets and T-shirts about Darfur have been produced. These and other promotional materials help to create awareness. Petition to World Leaders Campaign (on going): We have an on line petition targeting world leaders we believe have the power to pressure the government of Sudan and the rebel groups to find a political solution to the crisis in Darfur. The petition is on our website and every one can sign. PROPOSED EVENTS FOR 2006 PROPOSED EVENTS FOR 2006 Darfur Vigil – April, 2006: We are planning to hold a national vigil to keep Darfur on the minds of those who know about the issue as well as draw attention to the suffering of the victims of that conflict. As suspected, we plan to make this a national event as well Darfur Benefit Concert – May, 2006: We are looking for venues to start a series of concerts to collect donations for the Darfur fund as well as raise awareness. We expect to nationalize this by asking our chapters ands supports to take this up in other cities and town across Canada. Darfur Peace Walk– June 25, 2006: We plan to hold this walk and are in discussions with the organisers of the world peace forum to make this part of that event. There is indication that we will be able to link the Darfur walk with the WPF. We plan to make this a national and annual event. Darfur Conference – October, 2006: We will be holding a national conference on Darfur to solicit policy ideas from Canadians and experts on Darfur on how Canada and Canadians can help bring about peace and push for the protection of innocent people in the region. At the end, we expect to present recommendations to the government of Canada and the international community on the way forward on the Darfur conflict and reconstruction after the conflict. We will be contacting the following persons in our search for a possible keynote speaker: Senator Romeo Dallaire, Jack Layton, David Kilgour, Peter Mackay, Eric Reeves, Bill Clinton, Kofi Annan and Steven Louis. Representatives from labour, human rights, humanitarian, academic and student groups will be invited. We humbly await your response and endorsement, and look forward to working with you on the Darfur issue. We hope you will advocate for the innocent people of Darfur who have fallen victim to this tragedy of our new century. It is wrong for women to be raped, men to be killed and for villages to be burned. Regards, Clement Apaak Founder and Chair, Canadian Students for Darfur “Let Never Again Mean Something” www.csfdarfur.net


				
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