Mary Baldwin Fashion Show to Raise Awareness

November 7, 2006

Mary Baldwin University’s African Student Kollective (ASK) are hosting a fashion show at 7:30 p.m. November 11 in the Student Activities Center to promote and raise awareness about the 2.5 million displaced people in Darfur and the 400 thousand that have been killed. Donations are encouraged to help send support to Darfur.

Who should the community get involved? Deciding to get involved and help the people of the Darfur Conflict is a personal decision you have to make, but here are some facts about the conflict that can help you make your decision:

  • The Darfur conflict is an ongoing armed conflict in the Darfur region of western Sudan, mainly between the Janjaweed, a militia group recruited from the tribes of the Abbala (camel-herders), and the non-Baggara people (farmers) of the region.
  • The Sudanese government, while publicly denying that it supports the Janjaweed, has provided arms and assistance and has participated in joint attacks with the group, systematically targeting the Fur, Zaghawa, and Massaleit ethnic groups in Darfur. The conflict began in July 2003.
  • Estimated number of deaths in the conflict have ranged from 50,000 (World Health Organization, September 2004) to 450,000 (Dr. Eric Reeves, 28 April 2006). As many as 2.5 million are thought to have been displaced.
  • The mass media has described the conflict as both “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide.” The U.S. Government has described it as genocide, although the United Nations has declined to do so.
  • After fighting worsened in July and August 2006, on August 31, 2006, the United Nations Security Council approved Resolution 1706 which called for a new 20,000-troop UN peacekeeping force to supplant or supplement a poorly funded, ill-equipped 7,000-troop African Union Mission in Sudan peacekeeping force.
  • Sudan strongly objected to the resolution and said that it would see the UN forces in the region as foreign invaders. The next day, the Sudanese military launched a major offensive in the region.
  • August 24, the International Rescue Committee reported that hundreds of women were raped and sexually assaulted around the Kalma refugee camp during the last several weeks.
  • Because the African Union Mission in Sudan is under funded and badly equipped, it is said that until December 31, violence in Darfur will be worsening, with government troops and allied militias, as well as rebels, blamed for new attacks.