Darfur war: where celebrities campaigned for peace

·2-min read

From George Clooney to J. K. Rowling and Angelina Jolie, the brutal civil war in Sudan's vast Darfur region prompted A-list celebrities to speak out for its long-suffering civilians.

Here's a snapshot, as the UN-AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur comes to an end:

- George Clooney -

Hollywood megastar George Clooney has campaigned tirelessly to draw attention to the Darfur conflict, which he branded a "genocide" in 2012, accusing Khartoum of crimes against humanity.

In 2010, he was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace by then secretary general Ban Ki-moon in recognition of his work.

He set up "Not on Our Watch", a humanitarian group that focuses global attention on Darfur and has raised over $9 million for the region, with his "Ocean's Thirteen" movie castmates Brad Pitt, Matt Damon and Don Cheadle.

- Do they know it's Christmas? -

British pop stars in 2004 re-recorded "Do they Know its Christmas," the hit song that raised money for famine-hit people in Ethiopia 20 years earlier, this time to raise money for the hundreds of thousands of people displaced in Darfur.

Midge Ure, the Ultravox front man who wrote the original Band Aid single with Sir Bob Geldoff, took part, along with Bono, Dido and Robbie Williams and Sir Paul McCartney.

- J. K. Rowling -

In 2008, children's writers including Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling signed an open letter calling on world leaders to take urgent action over Darfur to protect the stricken region's children.

"Children barely old enough to walk, let alone run, have seen their homes burnt and razed to the ground, their mothers raped and their fathers killed," read the letter by the 15 authors, also including Judy Blume and Cornelia Funke.

- Angelina Jolie -

Hollywood actress Angelina Jolie visited Darfur in 2004 as goodwill ambassador for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), later expressing shock at the "unbelievably horrible" conditions.

In 2017, she met a teenage boy from Darfur at a refugee camp in neighbouring Chad who said he wanted those responsible to be put on trial.

"I hope that those responsible for the atrocities in Darfur will be held to account, not only for that young man's sake, but for the world's," she said.