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American Jewish World Service & Ethnic Cleansing In Sudan

(New York, NY.April 22, 2004) American Jewish World Service (AJWS), a non-sectarian international development and relief organization, is collecting funds to support humanitarian relief efforts for people facing brutal violence, displacement, severe food shortages and racial killings in Darfur, Sudan.

Reports from the region suggest that this situation is developing into a campaign of ethnic cleansing and possibly genocide, characteristics that have particular meaning for the Jewish community. On Monday, the Jewish community commemorated Yom Hashoah, the Holocaust Memorial Day, to remember the six million Jewish victims of Hitler's genocide. At the same time, the world is observing the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide of the ethnic Tutsi minority, and reflecting upon its inaction as 800,000 people were slaughtered. This time, the world must not remain silent.

Today, under cover of a decades-long civil war that has taken two million Sudanese lives, ethnic Arab militias known as Janjaweed are engaging in campaigns to wipe out communities of black farmers who live in Darfur.

Villages are being razed, women and girls are systematically raped, and food and water supplies are being specifically targeted and destroyed. Almost one million civilians have fled their homes due to the escalation of violence; many have crossed the border into Chad, but most are internally displaced within Darfur. The refugees and internally displaced people are in dire need of emergency health and sanitation assistance, access to clean water and nutritional supplements. According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), without humanitarian intervention as many as 100,000 civilians may die over the coming months.

Ruth Messinger, president of AJWS, stated, "We believe that as the American people, and particularly the Jewish community, hear about the gruesome ethnic cleansing in Darfur, they will respond. And our voices will unite once more: "never again"."

American Jewish World Service is accepting contributions to be used to rehabilitate water sources, construct sanitation facilities, dispose of dead animals, promote health and hygiene campaigns, and provide other essential humanitarian services. Donations can be sent to: American Jewish World Service, Sudan Emergency, 45 West 36th Street, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10018. Or call 1-800-889-7146 or visit their Web site at www.ajws.org.

American Jewish World Service supports more than 180 development projects in 40 countries and provides emergency assistance when disasters strike.

Whether through its work on women's empowerment in Afghanistan, income-generation programs in Peru, HIV/AIDS prevention in South Africa, or community development in Ukraine, AJWS works to alleviate poverty, hunger and disease regardless of race, religion or nationality.


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