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

    Video US Observes Memorial Day With Wreath-laying, National Concert

    Obama lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora