Sudan Action Campaign


Since news of the genocide emerged in 2004, AJWS has been at the forefront of the campaign to bring Darfur and Sudan into the national and international political spotlight and to the top of the American Jewish agenda. AJWS co-founded the Save Darfur Coalition and, as current chair of the Interfaith Sudan Working Group and a campaign partner in Sudan Now, continues to lead the Jewish and interfaith communities and collaborate with other advocacy organizations to bring an end to the bloodshed. Donate now to support Darfur and Sudan relief.

Background on the Crisis

  • Violence in Darfur
  • Since 2003, the government of Sudan and its proxy militia, the Janjaweed, have conducted a counter-insurgency operation against rebel groups in the Darfur region of western Sudan. Targeting communities that share the same ethnicity as the rebels, government forces and Janjaweed continue to terrorize and kill civilians, rape women and girls, burn villages and drive innocent people from their homes. It is estimated that more than 450,000 people have died because of the conflict, and insecurity continues to threaten the approximately 3 million refugees and internally displaced persons living both in Sudan and across the border in Chad.
  • In March 2009 and again in July 2010, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for war crimes, crimes against humanity and three counts of genocide. Al-Bashir retaliated against the civilian population by expelling humanitarian aid agencies providing vital services to Darfuris.
  • Ongoing Conflict in Sudan
  • Darfur is but one conflict in Sudan. For over two decades, a brutal civil war raged between President al-Bashir’s government in Khartoum and the southern rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army, leaving approximately 2 million people dead and 4 million displaced.
  • In 2005, a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed by both sides ended the fighting and established an interim period through July 2011 to test the viability of unity between North and South. As dictated by the CPA, a historic referendum on independence for the South would occur on January 9, 2011. Although many outstanding issues remained, the voting took place on-time and in relative peace. Six months later, on July 9, 2011 the Republic of South Sudan became an independent nation. Though the lead up to the South’s independence was marred by abhorrent violence perpetrated by the Khartoum government in border areas, particularly in the Nuba Mountains, the separation occurred in jubilant fashion. Dignitaries from around the world, including a high-level U.S. delegation, were on hand in Juba for this historic occasion.
  • See Darfur photos by AJWS representatives in the field.
  • Read more about AJWS’s work on Darfur and Sudan.

Recent News

  • The Enough Project, American Jewish World Service, Humanity United, Stop Genocide Now and United to End Genocide joined in a letter to President Obama to urge the U.S. government to prioritize discussions related to Sudan and South Sudan in the upcoming U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue.
  • AJWS and fellow human rights, faith and development organizations signed a letter encouraging members of Congress to cosponsor the Sudan Peace, Security, and Accountability Act of 2012.
  • Joining with human rights and faith organizations, AJWS responded to the increase in violence in Sudan by advocating for the United States to increase pressure on the Sudanese government by taking punitive measures in order to end the attacks against civilians and obstruction to humanitarian aid.
  • AJWS signed a letter with other human rights, religious, humanitarian, anti-genocide and peace organizations calling on the Members of the House and Senate State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee to fully fund the President’s Fiscal Year 2013 federal budget requests for conflict prevention and civilian protection programs.
  • A New Nation is Born
  • On July 9th the Republic of South Sudan was officially born. After suffering through two brutal civil wars and amidst border violence and a host of outstanding issues still to be settled, Southern Sudanese celebrated their independence. The United States delegation was led by Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and consisted of dignitaries such as former Secretary of State Collin Powell.

    American Jewish World Service welcomed South Sudan, and joined with partners in the Sudan Now campaign in calling for intensified U.S. leadership in response to recent violence.
  • Peace in Both Sudans
  • The United States led a concerted international diplomatic effort to secure a peaceful referendum for southern independence, but that success is now at risk. Without a change in the U.S. approach, Sudan's internal strife will become an international conflict that could threaten the wider stability of the region. The recently released paper Peace in Both Sudans lays out what United States can do to ensure a lasting peace in North and South Sudan.

    AJWS and organizations concerned about the situation in Sudan wrote to President Obama asking him to stand by his promise to meet the Sudanese government’s aggression and obstruction with consequences.

Take Action

  • Visit our Action Center and get involved.
  • Support Sudan Relief
  • AJWS has established strong partnerships with local organizations and is directly supporting community-led initiatives in Darfur. Please donate to the Sudan Relief and Advocacy Fund today to support our humanitarian aid, education and advocacy work.
  • Learn more about the Sudan Relief and Advocacy Fund
  • Divest Yourself
  • AJWS is part of a national campaign encouraging mutual fund companies to make investments genocide-free. An overwhelming majority of Americans support this type of investing. You can help by examining your personal investments, urging major financial institutions to divest from problematic companies or voting with your proxy ballot at shareholder meetings.


  • 2003
  • The government of Sudan begins a brutal massacre of the people of Darfur (a region in western Sudan) unleashing the Janjaweed militia against civilians. Over 10 years, this campaign of destruction has killed 450,000 people and displaced over 3 million and is recognized as the first genocide of the 21st century.
  • 2004
  • AJWS co-founds the Save Darfur Coalition to bring together American organizations to advocate for peace in Darfur.
  • Secretary of State Colin Powell declares the situation in Darfur a “genocide,” raising the profile of this conflict in the eyes of the international community.
  • 2005
  • A peace agreement ends the civil war that had been raging between Sudan’s North and South since 1983. The agreement calls for a referendum to determine whether the South can secede from the North, to take place in 2011.
  • The end to the civil war does not end the violence in Darfur; the genocide continues unabated.
  • 2006
  • AJWS and the Save Darfur Coalition organize a mass rally on the National Mall in Washington, calling for peace in Darfur.
  • The international community attempts to broker a peace agreement over Darfur but it fails, and the Sudanese government continues the genocide.
  • 2007
  • The UN authorizes 26,000 peacekeepers to Darfur in hope of stopping the killing. The force takes a long time to reach its full strength and, due to resource constraints and limits put on it by the government of Sudan, makes only a marginal impact on improving the lives of the Darfuri people.
  • 2008
  • During the U.S. Presidential primaries, AJWS and the Save Darfur Coalition launch a campaign asking the candidates to prioritize peace in Sudan. In response to these advocacy efforts, Obama, Clinton and McCain all publicly pledge to end the genocide if they are elected.
  • 2009
  • The International Criminal Court calls for the arrest of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir for crimes against humanity. Over the coming years, the warrant has limited his travel and relations with other countries, but he has yet to be apprehended.
  • 2010
  • In advance of the upcoming referendum on southern secession that was required by the 2005 peace agreement ending North/South civil war, the South Sudanese people fear that the referendum will not take place on time, which they believe would unleash a resurgence of violence and potentially start a new civil war.
  • An American interfaith coalition led by AJWS urges the U.S. to apply its influence to ensure that the vote takes place peacefully and on time.
  • 2011
  • Thanks, in part, to pressure by the U.S. and the international community, the referendum passes in relative peace in January, creating the new country of South Sudan.
  • Although the fragile peace generally holds between the North and the South, violence ignites in the border states South Kordofan and Blue Nile—home to groups aligned with the South in the civil war but whose homes are now within the Northern border. The government of Sudan begins indiscriminately bombing its citizens and in an effort to starve out the people, the government blocks humanitarian aid.
  • 2012
  • To protest the humanitarian crisis on the border, AJWS staff participate in a high profile demonstration in front of the Sudanese embassy in Washington, D.C. At the conclusion of the protest, a member of AJWS staff is arrested for civil disobedience along with George Clooney, U.S. Representatives Jim McGovern and Jim Moran, civil rights activist Dick Gregory and Benjamin Jealous—the president of the NAACP.