14 September 2006

United Nations Messenger of Peace Elie Wiesel, Academy Award Winner George Clooney to Address Security Council on Darfur Crisis

NEW YORK, 13 September (UN Headquarters) -- Nobel Laureate and United Nations Messenger of Peace Elie Wiesel will address the Security Council on the crisis in Darfur on Thursday, when he will be accompanied by Academy award-winning actor George Clooney, who also has a deep interest in the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

Addressing the Council, as it met on 11 September to discuss the deteriorating situation in the war-ravaged Sudanese region, the Secretary-General warned:  "The tragedy in Darfur has reached a critical moment.  It merits this Council's closest attention and urgent action.  It is vital that we all speak candidly about what is happening, and about what it will take to bring an end to the suffering of so many millions of people."

Mr. Wiesel is committed to the cause of the people of Darfur and has voiced his deep concern, urging the Security Council to protect them.  "There is no choice but to act in defence of defenceless people.  Those who commit genocide must not be allowed to hide behind national borders and claims of sovereignty."

Almost two million people are displaced as a result of the brutal conflict that has engulfed Darfur, an impoverished region on Sudan's western flank, since 2003, while nearly three million people there depend on international aid for food, shelter and health care.  The situation has worsened considerably since the signing in May of the Darfur Peace Agreement between the Government and some of the rebel groups it has been fighting.  In the past two months, 12 aid workers have been killed -- more than in the entire previous two years.

"The situation in Darfur is not getting better, it's getting worse," said Mr. Clooney.  "We need the international community to commit all of its resources to bring an end to this extraordinary suffering.  The critical hour for Darfur is now."  Mr. Clooney visited Sudan and Chad in mid-April.

Mr. Wiesel and Mr. Clooney will address Security Council members at an informal briefing hosted by John Bolton, the Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations.  The Security Council allows for such informal discussions on issues before the Council to take place with civil society groups and concerned citizens.

For media accreditation and for media coverage, visit  or call 212 963 6934.

For interviews with Mr. Elie Wiesel, contact David. L. Phillips 212 490 7788, .

For interviews with George Clooney, contact Stan Rosenfield & Associates, 310 407 3444.

Y. Acosta is the Coordinator of the United Nations messenger of Peace programme, 212 963 7214.

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