Braving unseasonably cold weather Tuesday, a hardy group of university students called on the government to take an active role in ending genocide in Darfur.
“They just kicked the non-governmental organizations out, which made the situation worse,” said Tragi Mustafa, founder of Save Women — Darfur, who left Sudan in 2001. “The number of dead is increasing. It’s surprising that the international community will watch in silence.”
On March 4, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He responded by expelling more than 13 foreign aid groups providing food and medicine for the 2.5 million internal refugees from Darfur.
Jackie Bonisteel, advocacy director with Stand Canada, visited two refugee camps in Sudan last January.
“It became very obvious to me, that access to humanitarian aid was vital and without anything coming in, people were going to die,” she said. “It was a really desperate situation.”
Bonisteel said they were looking to get students out to let people know they are concerned about the situation in Darfur and they want the government to do something.
Mustafa said she was proud that the ICC took the move, but she said people have to pressure the Government of Canada to have the international community enforce the warrant.
“The international community has to come together and act as one body,” she said. “How long can we say ‘never again‚’ and still let people commit genocide?”