For Release on:
4 July 2005
Contacts: Prof. John H. Weiss (History)
Cornell University Darfur Action Group
E-MAIL: [email protected]
PHONE: (607) 277-6744 / (607) 280-7974
FAX: (607) 255-0469
Deborah Hyams, [email protected], (607) 257-3168
bike ride against darfur genocide
A 600-mile cross-border bike odyssey, from Ithaca, NY to Canadaپfs capital, Ottawa, to urge
North Americaپfs political leaders to end the genocide in the Darfur region of western Sudan.
WHAT: A 600-mile bike trip from Ithaca, NY to Ottawa, Canada! American human rights activists, frustrated by the inability of US policies to end the genocide and forced starvation in Darfur, have decided to appeal to the Canadian people and government to join American and international efforts to end the atrocities.
WHEN: The Ride Against Genocide begins on July 11th, with a ceremony in Ithaca, NY marking the tenth anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia and emphasizing connections between Darfur and other genocides. It ends on August 8th, with a public reception and presentation of a petition and banner of signed handprints at the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa, in coordination with Canadian MP David Kilgour.
WHERE: The route goes from Ithaca, NY پ¨ Syracuse پ¨ Rochester پ¨ Buffalo پ¨ Niagara Falls, then around Lake Ontario, to Hamilton پ¨ Toronto پ¨ Ottawa. The route also goes through many smaller towns. The riders plan to make public presentations on Darfur at most stops along the route.
WHO: Major sponsoring organizations are the Cornell Darfur Action Group (Ithaca, NY, www.weaversofthewind.org), the Genocide Intervention Fund (Swarthmore, PA, www.genocideinterventionfund.org), and the San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition (www.darfursf.org). For other endorsing/co-sponsoring organizations, see www.weaversofthewind.org.
WHY: The government-sponsored campaign of ethnic cleansing in Darfur has claimed some 400,000 lives since 2003. The Janjaweed militias, allied with Sudanese government troops, have destroyed the majority of villages in Darfur, displacing more than 2.5 million people. Those not now in hiding are living in extremely vulnerable conditions in government-controlled camps inside Darfur or in refugee camps across the border in Chad. Tens of thousands more lives are at risk this summer if the international community fails to take decisive action by expanding the African Union force in Darfur, giving it a mandate to protect civilians, and providing serious NATO support. These latter actions are proposed in the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, recently introduced in the House by a bipartisan coalition of representatives; however, its passage is uncertain. Americans and Canadians need to continue to pressure their elected representatives to monitor the actions of NATO and the AU, which are supposed to be working together to expand the AU force in Darfur; riders will do this throughout the Ride Against Genocide.
The International Crisis Group (www.crisisgroup.org) reported in a recent poll that 84% of Americans agree that the US government should not tolerate the Sudanese government committing genocide or crimes against humanity, and should use its military assets to help stop the humanitarian tragedy in Darfur. The Ride Against Genocide gives Americans and Canadians a chance to advocate for their governments to act on Darfur and honor their commitment to fight genocide: پgNever Again.پh