April 16, 2008 / 7:11 PM / 10 years ago

Mia Farrow says Olympics committee fails Darfur

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Mia Farrow on Wednesday accused the International Olympic Committee of ignoring China’s support for Sudan, which the United States and humanitarian groups say has been waging genocide in Darfur.

Mia Farrow speaks during an interview at the Center for Social Development in Phnom Penh January 19, 2008. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

“The IOC is shrinking its own mandates, they have put aside their humanitarian instincts,” Farrow told reporters in a conference call.

Farrow’s group, Dream for Darfur, gave the IOC an “F” in a report card, called “Foul Play: How the IOC Failed the Olympic Charter and Darfur.”

The group formed last year to use the Beijing Olympics as leverage to influence China’s policy on Darfur. China imports most of Sudan’s oil.

Farrow said the IOC had no plans to encourage an ‘Olympic Truce’ in Darfur. The truce, which dates from ancient times, calls for a month of peace around the Games.

In response, the IOC said it cannot pressure governments to fix international conflicts.

“The IOC is a sporting organization with no political mandates to instruct countries how to behave,” Giselle Davis, a spokeswoman, said by phone from Switzerland.

She said the Olympic Truce is a “symbolic matter which gives the world the opportunity to stop and think about conflicts throughout the world.”

International experts estimate some 200,000 people have died in the violence in Darfur and that about 2.5 million have fled their homes. Khartoum denies genocide and puts the death toll at 9,000.

Farrow said she will visit refugee camps in eastern Chad during the Olympics to broadcast Darfur images. Her group will launch a campaign to press TV viewers to turn off commercials and watch their Internet broadcasts instead.

China has also faced pressure from Western governments for a bloody crackdown in Tibet.

Editing by Alan Elsner and Michelle Nichols

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