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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs