Art For Darfur Gives Back

Art For Darfur benefiting Amnesty International’s campaigns for Darfur kicks off this Saturday, April 18 at Southern Methodist University.

Located at SMU Meadows School of the Arts, 6101 Bishop Blvd.
Doors and silent auction starts at 7 p.m.
Live auction opens at 8:30 p.m.
All auctions close at 9:30 p.m.
$10 for adults (cash or check only)
$5 for students with ID
Free admission for kids
Attire: snappy casual

Founded three years ago, by non-profit organizations, students, activists, educational institutions and faith communities, Art for Darfur continues to raise awareness and funds for the on-going crisis in Darfur, Sudan. Recent developments in the humanitarian crisis favor the process of getting aid back into the country, which is what Art for Darfur is trying to accomplish.

U.S. Senator John Kerry said Thursday that Sudan has agreed to allow some aid back into Darfur, more than a month after the Sudanese president expelled over a dozen aid groups from the region.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir expelled 13 international aid groups and three local ones after the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for him on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.

Al-Bashir has refused to cooperate with the Netherlands-based court and accused the aid groups of spying for the tribunal -- charges they denied. The Sudanese president's actions sparked sharp criticism from the international community, which expressed concern it would worsen the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

President Barack Obama has appointed J. Scott Gration as the U.S. special envoy to Sudan to try to improve the situation in Darfur and elsewhere in the country.

"Thanks to the leadership of the president's special envoy General Scott Gration and thanks to the willingness of the government here to engage in a new dialogue with us, some of that capacity for humanitarian assistance will be restored," Kerry told reporters in Khartoum after meeting with senior members of the Sudanese government.

Kerry didn’t indicate whether any of the expelled aid groups would be allowed to return to Darfur and called on the Sudanese government to fully restore humanitarian assistance to the wartorn western region. Kerry's visit was the first by a member of Congress since the ICC issued its warrant in March. He is expected to visit Darfur on Friday.

The Darfur conflict started in 2003 when mostly ethnic African rebels took up arms against the government, complaining of neglect and discrimination. Up to 300,000 people have been killed and 2.7 million displaced in the conflict, according to U.N. figures. Sudan says the numbers are exaggerated.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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