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MEDIA ADVISORYIRD Event Calls Attention to the Beja of Eastern Sudan: Another African People Group Targeted by Islamist Sudan RegimeJanuary 30, 2012Contact: Jeff Walton 202-682-4131, 202-413-5639 cell
What: Beja Cultural Day, Sponsored by the U.S. House Sudan CaucusWho: Institute on Religion & Democracy, Beja Congress, Beja FriendsWhen: Wednesday, February 1, 2 p.m.-6 p.m.Where: Gold Room (#2168) Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC
Washington, DC—Advocates for persecuted minority groups in Sudan are calling attention to the plight of eastern Sudan’s Beja people with an upcoming Capitol Hill event. Beja Cultural Day will feature speakers including author and terrorism expert Dr. Walid Phares, classical Beja music and dance, and commemoration of the 2005 massacre of dozens of peaceful Beja protestors by the Khartoum regime. Co-sponsors include the national Act for Sudan alliance and advocacy groups from across the United States.
Successive Sudanese governments have neglected the Beja and attempted to suppress their cultural identity by prohibiting the Beja language in favor of Arabic and blocking humanitarian relief to the area. The Beja suffer severe rates of poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, and high infancy and maternal mortality, as well as diseases engendered by what has been termed Khartoum’s “jihad of neglect.”
Separately, on February 2, the Beja people will join with the Sudan Marginalized Forces organization, representing the oppressed majority of Sudan’s people, to demonstrate outside the Embassy of Qatar, 2555 M Street, NW, Washington DC, beginning at 12 noon. Qatar has provided financial, political, diplomatic, and media support to the Khartoum regime enabling its acts of terrorism and genocide.
IRD Religious Liberty Program Director Faith J.H. McDonnell commented:
“The Beja are yet another indigenous African Sudanese people group that is marginalized, oppressed, and persecuted by the Khartoum regime.
“As the Khartoum regime’s horrific extermination campaign is taking place in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile, genocide continues in Darfur, and Khartoum-armed militias are wreaking havoc in South Sudan, it is also important that visibility is given to other marginalized and oppressed people groups like the Beja.
“This demonstrates the scope of the Khartoum regime’s atrocities and its audacious marginalization of 85 percent of the people of Sudan by a small, elitist regime.
“The Beja have joined with other groups from Sudan’s marginalized people who want true, secular democracy and religious freedom for all the people of Sudan.
“It is astonishing that the Administration has enabled Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda-affiliated regime topplers in the Arab Spring movement, but refuses to support these true freedom fighters in stopping an ICC-indicted war criminal from terrorizing his own people, the region, and the world community.”
The Institute on Religion & Democracy
1023 15th Street NW, Suite 601, Washington, DC 20005-2601
P: (202) 682-4131 F: (202) 682-4136