12.09.2007

The Elders attempt to bring relief to Darfur




Thirteen former world leaders and present-day activists led by Nelson Mandela called yesterday for the swift supplying and dispatch of a 26,000-member U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force to bring security to the western Sudanese region of Darfur and end the killing, rape and pillaging there.

The group, which calls itself the Elders, includes former president Jimmy Carter, former U.N. secretary general Kofi Annan, Bangladeshi microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunus, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mandela's wife, Graca Machel.
There is a serious risk, he cautioned, that the 2005 peace agreement that ended a separate conflict between northern and southern Sudan may collapse.
Machel, speaking by telephone from Mozambique, said
"Rape has become a norm,"

The Elders have behind-the-scenes access to powerful world figures.

Tutu: "Maybe we can persuade some to use their leverage," he said. "This thing has gone on for too long."

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