Posted April 6, 2006 – Shortly after finishing his 300-mile freedom walk from New York to D.C., former Sudanese slave Simon Deng learned that his symbolic efforts to help stop the rape and murder in Darfur were not in vain.
The U.S. government approved a measure Wednesday that would allow sanctions against individuals, or their relatives, responsible for "genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity" in the region. Their assets could also be frozen.
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The bill also seeks U.S. support for international and African Union humanitarian efforts and programs to protect civilians and encourages President Bush to deny Sudan access to oil revenues by blocking cargo ships or oil tankers from harbors in the United States.
“This is good news,” an excited Deng told BET.com, “but it’s a small step toward the big actions. We need to go after the perpetrators, those who commit the crimes, because when it comes to Sudan, the crimes have been committed in such a big magnitude, [and] nobody has ever been held accountable,” he said.
Deng said he will keep walking and doing anything he can until the atrocities are brought to an end and justice is achieved.
Deng was captured and enslaved as a child. He eventually escaped and made his way to New York, where he works tirelessly to promote awareness of the tragedies in his homeland.
An estimated 400,000 people have died in Darfur as a result of the genocide, according to human rights watchers. About 2 million of Deng’s people have either been displaced, kidnapped, raped or harmed in other ways.