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Farrow witnesses plight of Darfur’s children

© UNICEF Noorani/2004
Mia Farrow with women at a camp in Darfur. The threat of violence remains a daily fear.

NYALA, Sudan/NEW YORK, 8 November 2004 – UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Mia Farrow and her son Seamus are in the troubled Darfur region of Sudan, to witness first-hand the worsening humanitarian crisis.

Ms. Farrow has been visiting camps for people forced to flee their homes; an estimated 1.5 million people have been displaced by the fighting. She has also met with representatives of the Sudanese Government and the African Union in an attempt to raise awareness of the plight of children.

Rape, violence and general insecurity remain the most pressing concerns. Ms. Farrow heard accounts from many women who had suffered abuse. Women are most vulnerable when they leave the camps in which they are forced to live in order to collect the firewood they need to survive.

“I had heard that protection was the priority at this point – and it sure is,” says Ms. Farrow. “They have to live with the choice of whether they can cook the meals for their family, and which of them is going to go out and face this sort of assault on a daily basis.”

Ms. Farrow says the cause of the conflict in Sudan is extremely complex but a lasting peace settlement is essential to protect children. She has tried to bring the continued violence against people forced from their homes to the attention of the government.

Her 16-year-old son Seamus is a UNICEF Youth Ambassador and is concerned about the effect of the conflict on boys and young men. He spoke with a number of teenagers and says they run the risk of joining armed groups.

“For the boys my age, the problem is they have nothing to do,” he says. “They are really just stagnating in these communities. It’s a big problem in that they are being recruited into local militias and resorting to banditry because they can’t make their usual living, which is farming the land and pursuing business.”

The couple were able to see the work UNICEF has undertaken since the crisis began nearly two years ago. More than 900 classrooms have been built or rehabilitated, water and sanitation has been provided for many thousands of people, and more than two million children have been vaccinated against measles and/or polio.



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9 November 2004: Mia Farrow talks with women in Darfur's camps. 

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8 November 2004: Mia Farrow and Seamus interviewed on CNN, about Darfur

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8 November 2004: Mia Farrow and her son Seamus talk about what they have seen in Darfur

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