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Mia Farrow Makes Appeal on Behalf of Darfur

Film star and human rights activist Mia Farrow has helped to launch a campaign in London called "Fund 4 Darfur" in an effort to support Darfuris still living in their troubled homeland and in exile abroad. Farrow says the world must not turn its back on genocide in Sudan. VOA's Mandy Clark reports from London.

In a packed theater in London, Mia Farrow tells the story of Darfur through pictures.

The U.N. Goodwill ambassador has visited the region seven times in the past three years and she says she wants to get the public passionate about responding to the crisis.

"The mantra in my family is with knowledge comes responsibility, and there are levels of knowing, and once they reach a certain level they will respond," said Farrow. "I do believe that people are basically good, and I think we need to demand better of ourselves and more of our governance."

The anti-genocide charity, Aegis Trust, is behind the "Fund 4 Darfur" campaign, and Farrow is its public face. Money donated to the campaign is earmarked to help survivors in the Darfur region as well as those who have fled the violence and are living abroad.

The Trust says that more than half of the villages in Darfur have been destroyed, two-thirds of the population is reliant on some form of humanitarian aid and more than 2.5 million people have been displaced by the conflict.

Fighting among rebels, Sudanese government troops and government-backed militias broke out in 2003.

Refugee Issa Abraham Korkor fled from Darfur three years ago and says the region needs peace. "When I'm back in my country, Khartoum, it's dangerous," he said. "It's no safe. It's dangerous to my life. I lived in the (refugee) camp. My brother has died, my father has died."

Farrow's message from Darfur is one of grief and desperation, but also of hope. She says it is up to humanity as a whole to act when governments fail to respond.

"If a baby is drowning and we are walking by in the woods, do we let it drown? Most people, 97 percent say, 'No, we have an obligation.' What if the baby is through the woods a bit and you only hear the cries? Less people, but most, still say 'Yes, when you hear the cries.' What if a messenger comes and tells us a baby is drowning? Do we have a moral obligation? Fewer people say, 'Yes.' What if you are going to be late for work, maybe even lose your job? I am of the opinion that if you know the baby is drowning, your moral mandate is that you must go and save the child," she said.

She says in the case of Darfur, it is time that the world hears those cries and does something to help.