Canada News

Romeo Dallaire in Vancouver

16 October 2005 at 01:33 | 741 views

Surrounded by academics, activists and students, Canadian
Senator and former Lieutenant-General Romeo Dallaire lent his name to a
nationwide student campaign initiated by Simon Fraser University Students.

“Our goal is to raise awareness and provide real assistance to the people in
Darfur, a region the United Nations has called ‘the world’s worst
humanitarian disaster,” says Clement Apaak, founder of Canadian Students for
Darfur and President of the Simon Fraser Student Society.

It is estimated that some 400,000 people have been killed with a further two
million forced from their homes. In response, this past spring a group of
Simon Fraser University students met in a room and set a goal to raise one
dollar for every student in Canada as a way of showing the young Canadians
were not sitting idly by.

On Wednesday, October 5th, one day before he got his honourary PhD from SFU,
Dallaire spoke at the President’s Forum at the Wosk Centre for Dialogue at
SFU’s downtown campus on the Responsibility to Protect, a foreign policy
approach that obligates the international community to act when grave
humanitarian crises within states are not addressed by their governments. He
took the opportunity to support the One Dollar student campaign.

“The Responsibility to Protect provides us with an instrument to go out in
the streets and hold people accountable,” Dallaire said forcefully to the
audience of approximately 150 people. Speaking more directly to the numerous
students in the room, Dallaire called them to act. “Participate, get out
there, get your boots dirty, it’s worth being part of humanity.”

Also at the event was Dallaire’s colleague on the Prime Minister’s Special
Advisory Team on Darfur, Senator Mobina Jaffer from British Columbia, a long
advocate of human rights and the government’s Special Envoy to the Peace
Process in Sudan. She mentioned the example of a young boy in Sudan who had
grown up in a refugee camp, but wanted the Senator to focus her efforts on
Iraq, a moment which touched the Senator deeply.

“Even those with so little can still be generous,” Jaffer said.

Despite rising tuition and student debt, it is that sentiment that Canadian
Students for Darfur are counting on.


Mark Masongsong
Director of Media & Public Relations
Canadian Students for Darfur