Darfur: A Modern-Day Holocaust

All this week, people in Washington have been reminded of Darfur's victims of murder, rape and mutilation by chilling images projected onto the exterior of the capital's holocaust museum.

"Darfur is an outrage and nightmare taking place basically off camera and out of view of millions of people around the world," says Reverend Jacques DeGraff, a Baptist minister from New York.

DeGraff is a leading member of a group of American clergy who have pledged to turn around what he says is a lack of international action to stop the fighting and atrocities in Darfur.

"Genocide is the most immediate word; holocaust of present-day proportions and nightmare are the three words that come to mind. They come to mind because the world is aware of what is happening. The international community frankly has blood on its hands," says DeGraff.

The numbers from Darfur are staggering. Since 2003, an estimated 400,000 people have been killed. Another 2.5 million have been forced from their homes into refugee camps in neighboring countries like Chad, CBS News correspondent Thalia Assuras reports.

Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, the chairman of the American Red Cross, has just returned from visiting refugee camps in Chad.

"You are just stunned by the size, the scope, the scale. You're stunned by the number of human lives," she says.

The American Red Cross has set up several camps but their efforts are a stop-gap measure. The real solution depends on United Nations peacekeepers to stop the brutal Sudan-backed Arab militia — called the Janjaweed — who have been responsible for the mass killings.

"The Sudanese government has been engaging in dialogue but they have been playing at diplomacy instead of engaging in diplomacy," says DeGraff.

This week, Jan Egeland, the UN's Emergency Relief Coordinator, also accused the Sudanese of obstructing peace and arming the Janjaweed death squads.

As what seems to be a Diplomatic dance continues, the Darfur crisis is poised to become even more tragic.

"(Refugees) continue to flow in. So, if you ask me do we have the necessary support for additional refugees I would say 'no' we do not. We have seen in many cases, the people that are the least, the last and the lost. I think it's important for America not to forget them," says McElveen-Hunter.
  • Amy Bonawitz

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