News / Africa

Activists Urge Congress to Help Stop Genocide

  • Volunteers select artificial bones to display on the National Mall, Washington, D.C, on June 8, 2013, at the "One Million Bones" installation, which aims to raise awareness of genocide and atrocities. (Jill Craig/VOA)
  • Artificial bones displayed at "One Million Bones" installation on the National Mall, Washington, D.C., June 8, 2013. (Jill Craig/VOA)
  • A child carries artificial bones for display at the "One Million Bones" installation on the National Mall, Washington, D.C, June 8, 2013. (Jill Craig/VOA)
  • A volunteer lays artificial bones at the "One Million Bones" installation on the National Mall, Washington, D.C, June 8, 2013. (Jill Craig/VOA)
  • A girl selects artificial bones for display at the "One Million Bones" installation on the National Mall, Washington, D.C, June 8, 2013. (Jill Craig/VOA)
  • A South Sudanese man speaks with a project staff member at the "One Million Bones" installation on the National Mall, Washington, D.C, June 8, 2013. (Jill Craig/VOA)
  • A volunteer lays artificial bones at the "One Million Bones" installation on the National Mall, Washington, D.C, June 8, 2013. (Jill Craig/VOA)
  • View of the "One Million Bones" installation on the National Mall, Washington, D.C., June 8, 2013. (Jill Craig/VOA)

Activists in DC for 'One Million Bones' Event

Jill Craig
Thousands of anti-genocide activists dressed in white placed more than a million artificial bones on the National Mall in front of the U.S. Capitol this past weekend, to draw attention to atrocities being committed in Africa and around the world.
 
On Monday, more than 200 activists, including Benjamin Kashira, lobbied U.S. lawmakers.
 
“I urge all Congress here in Washington to do something about Sudan and the eastern Congo,” Canadian resident Benjamin Kashira, a native of the restive eastern part of the DRC, said. “Otherwise, this is going to be a holocaust."
 
Kashira was on Capitol Hill as part of “Act Against Atrocities Day," in which participants urged some 50 members of Congress to approve pending bipartisan legislation that would hold human rights violators accountable, invest in a comprehensive peace process, and support democracy-building in Sudan and the DRC.
 
The lobbying effort was organized by the Enough Project, a Washington, D.C.-based anti-genocide advocacy group, while the "One Million Bones” installation served as the backdrop for its message.
 
Mark Hackett of Memphis, Tennessee, said he left culinary arts school to work full-time to eliminate genocide in Africa six years ago after meeting a refugee from Darfur, the troubled region in western Sudan where the United Nations has said at least 300,000 people may have died in 10 years of conflict.
 
“Having been to Sudan myself a year ago and having seen all the devastation, that’s enough to move you,” said Hackett, who is now the CEO of the Sudan advocacy group Operation Broken Silence.
 
“But I think that when you meet the people there and they still have hope despite living under this government for you know, 20-plus years now, if they can have hope, then I think we can, too.”
 
Akshaya Kumar, a Sudan policy analyst with the Enough Project, said she hopes that the activists' calls will spur lawmakers into action.
 
“By bringing constituents’ voices to the Hill, and saying that people – not just activists from the Enough Project but average people -- care about these issues, we hope that Congressmen are going to be more engaged and active, and the American government will play an important role in finding foreign policy solutions,” Kumar said.
 
Pennsylvania native Stacey Camelli doesn't have much activist experience, but after reading about the genocide in Rwanda, she became interested. She was lobbying Congress for the first time this week.
 
“I think it’s responsibility,” she said. “You can’t just watch these things happen to people, whether it’s local or it’s over in Sudan or the Congo. You just have to get involved and start somewhere. And this is my starting place.”
 
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), there are 2.3 million internally displaced persons, some 140,000 refugees, 7,000 asylum-seekers and an estimated hundreds of thousands of people at risk of statelessness within Sudan.
 
UNHCR says that more than 2.2 million people have been displaced in the DRC since the beginning of 2012 after ethnic tensions and inequitable access to land in the east and northeast areas of the country led to renewed violence.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid