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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Forum to discuss UA stance on Sudan crisis

    The UA chapter of Students Taking Action Now, Darfur, or STAND, will host a forum today to discuss violence in the western Darfur region of Sudan, which the U.S. has officially declared a genocide.

    More than 400,000 people have been killed in the violence, and 2.5 million people are internally displaced, according to the STAND Web site, standnow.org.

    The forum will begin with presentations about Sudan by Wendy Theodore, an assistant professor of Africana studies, Pauline Mujawamariya, a UA graduate who survived the Rwandan genocide, two Lost Boys of Sudan who live in Tucson and Jamal Al-Fakhouri, regional resettlement director of the International Rescue Committee in Tucson.

    The U.S. has
    officially declared the violence in the
    western Darfur region of Sudan a genocide.

    The panel will also focus on political advocacy and raising money for various organizations that help refugees both in Tucson and in Sudan.

    The forum will be asking the UA to divest for Sudan, as well as write to government representatives to act on the issues facing the country, , said Tiffany Tom, a senior majoring in environmental science and history and one of the founding members of the UA chapter of STAND.

    Divestment, in this situation, means to no longer support companies that directly invest in Sudan, said Meredith Severino, a journalism senior and a founding member of the UA chapter of STAND.

    Although sanctions prohibit direct investment in Sudan by U.S. companies, many foreign companies still invest in Sudan. The money given to the government is used to purchase weapons for and fund groups in the civil war, such as the Janjaweed militia.

    Seventy to 80 percent of Sudan’s oil revenues go to the government of Sudan’s military expenditures, Tom said. The main oil companies are PetroChina, Petronais and Oil and Natural Gas Co.

    By not supporting such groups, STAND believes the UA could help prevent money from being made available to fighters.

    It is unclear whether the UA supports any companies that invest in Sudan.

    Organizations that provide aid to refugees living in Tucson and also in Sudan will also be at the event.

    One organization, the Sudanese Promise Fund, benefits the 62 Lost Boys of Sudan who are living in Tucson. The fund provides money, usually for education-related expenses.

    “”It’s to pick up the slack of what they can’t get on scholarships or loans,”” said Jill Rich, founder and president of the Sudanese Promise Fund.

    Fuel-efficient stoves for refugees in Sudan are another project that people can donate to at the forum.

    The stoves burn 70 percent less wood than traditional stoves. With less wood burned, women do not have to go collect wood as often, making them less vulnerable to rape or other violence, Tom said.

    The event will be held today from 6 to 8 p.m. in Room 202 of the Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering building.

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