The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (PWRDF) has provided an additional $15,000 emergency relief aid for the troubled region of Darfur, Sudan, where according to the United Nations the “worst humanitarian crisis in the world” is unfolding.
PWRDF channeled its grants (now totalling $50,000) to Darfur through Action by Churches Together (ACT), an ecumenical alliance of churches responding to emergency needs worldwide, of which it is a member.
According to the UN, as many as 50,000 people have died and 1.2 million others forcibly displaced after more than a year of violence blamed on the Janjaweed, a pro-government militia armed by the Sudanese government as part of its military strategy to contain rebel groups in Darfur.
ACT member churches in Darfur and neighbouring Chad have been assisting more than 600,000 people (about 50,000 of them age five and under) with food, shelter, water and health care.
In July, the UN Security Council gave the Sudanese government 30 days to disarm the militia and to do something to stop the attacks, which have resulted in killings, rapes, pillaging, destruction of villages and displacement of African civilians by the mostly Arab Janjaweed or face economic sanctions. The deadline expired Aug. 30 but violence has continued.
Canadian church leaders, including Archbishop Andrew Hutchison, the Anglican primate, have written to Prime Minister Paul Martin asking him to rally world leaders to put an end to the atrocities in Darfur.
Meanwhile, PWRDF is asking Anglicans to send messages of concern — similar to that of the church leaders — to their members of Parliament and to Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pierre Pettigrew.
The World Council of Churches (WCC) executive committee has called on the UN and the African Union to organize a peacekeeping force and to investigate war crimes in Darfur.