Mia Farrow to start fast over Darfur

Tue Apr 21, 2009 6:49pm EDT
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By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Actress Mia Farrow, a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador, announced on Tuesday that she will begin a hunger strike next week to show solidarity with the people of Sudan's conflict-torn Darfur region.

"On April 27 I will begin a fast of water only in solidarity with the people of Darfur and as a personal expression of outrage at a world that is somehow able to stand by and watch innocent men, women and children needlessly die of starvation, thirst and disease," Farrow said in a statement.

A spokesman for Farrow said she would stick with the hunger strike as long as possible, which her doctors estimate is a maximum of around three weeks given Farrow's slim build.

Farrow, who was appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the U.N. children's foundation UNICEF in 2000, has been actively campaigning for years to raise funds and awareness for children in conflict zones like Darfur, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Chad and Nigeria.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for the arrest of Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir last month, charging him with masterminding mass killings and deportations in Darfur in western Sudan.

Since then, Sudan has expelled 13 foreign and three domestic humanitarian aid agencies, accusing them of collaborating with The Hague-based ICC.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his latest report on the joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur, known as UNAMID, that the expulsions had put "over 1 million people at life-threatening risk" in Darfur.

A joint U.N.-Sudanese assessment of the situation in Darfur found that the removal of roughly half of the aid personnel there had created a gap in the delivery of supplies and services across Darfur, an area roughly the size of France.   Continued...

<p>Mia Farrow, a UNICEF goodwill ambassador, walks through a shelter in the town of Gonaives September 20, 2008. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz</p>