Saturday, April 12, 2008

Celebrities support Darfur protests

from press association website

Celebrities including Matt Damon and Thandie Newton are backing protests against the war in Darfur.

The actors are pictured destroying children's toys as a symbol of youngsters' suffering in the area.

The images are being released as part of a global day of protest on Sunday April 13, including a gathering outside the Sudanese embassy in London. Events have been planned in 30 countries to mark five years of war in Darfur.

One million children have been caught up in the unrest, according to human rights groups.

Africa director at Human Rights Watch Georgette Gagnon said: "Five years on the killings in Darfur continue because world leaders have let Sudan - and some rebels - get away with murder.

"Millions of Darfuris are struggling to survive on aid handouts under the daily threat of being raped, beaten or killed. Sudanese leaders need to know they will pay a heavy price for continuing to defy the UN Security Council."

As part of the campaign, authors JK Rowling and Judy Blume have released a letter asking the world to bring childhood back to Darfur.

Damon and Newton, along with Joely Richardson, Laura Bailey and Jemima Khan, are pictured destroying toys and drawings.

George Clooney, who is also backing the campaign, said: "Days like this matter because they keep what is happening in the eyes of the international community.

"If we all raise our voices the international community will have to listen and respond. We need sustained international engagement if we're to see real progress on the ground."

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