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

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    Factions Shift as Civilians Die in Syrian War

    Scenario likely only to further confuse military situation on ground and potentially worsen humanitarian crisis that already has grown to epic proportions

    Presidential Hopefuls Woo Minorities, Evangelicals

    Four GOP candidates to speak at forum at Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina

    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.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.