African leaders appeal to Sudanese parties to sign Darfur peace deal (FCN, 05-04-2006)

Urgent need for increased humanitarian aid for the people of Darfur

Statement from Russell Simmons and Benjamin Chavis


We are issuing this statement out of our concern for the people of the Sudan, and in particular for the people in the Darfur region, where more than 300,000 persons have died during the past three years as a result of civil war, drought and the apparent difficulty in getting ample humanitarian aid to those most in need.

Unfortunately, there is not enough public awareness about the unfolding situation in Darfur. We are working with the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding and the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network to make more people aware about the fact that thousands more will die in Darfur if more is not done urgently to bring peace and humanitarian relief to this devastated region.

We are also working to promote dialogue between the government of the Sudan and all the warring factions in hopes that a safe and secure relief route to Darfur can be established and effectively protected.

Thirdly, we support the presence of the African Union peacekeeping forces in conjunction with the United Nations in Darfur to help alleviate the suffering of the people.

We must rise above any temptation to use the tragic situation in Darfur for political motives, economic greed or religious prejudice. We must also not let the reality of large quantities of gold, uranium, oil and other natural resources in the Sudan jeopardize or distort the first priority of giving the thousands of people in Darfur life-saving water, food and protective shelter.

Every human life is precious in the Sudan, throughout Africa and everywhere in the world. We believe that more should be done now to resolve the conflicts in the Sudan and respond compassionately and comprehensively to the human suffering in Darfur.