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Dream for Darfur Highlights Genocide

The New-York based group Dream for Darfur will pass a symbolic torch to genocide survivors of the Khmer Rouge Sunday, in an effort to raise awareness of human rights abuses in Sudan.

The “Symbolic Olympic Torch Relay” will be passed in a ceremony at the former torture center of Tuol Sleng, organizers said.

“We know about genocide, that as it occurs people do not pay attention, and we do not think that’s how can we move in the future,” said Seng Theary, executive director of the Center for Social Development, which is helping organize the relay.

The relay is to raise awareness of ongoing killings in the Darfur region of Sudan, “a problem of everyday people around the world,” she said.

More than 200,000 people are estimated to have died in Darfur, due to hunger, disease and killings in ethnic fighting there.

More than 2 million have been displaced. Cambodia has sent 100 deminers to the country to help.

The Dream for Darfur group is urging the Chinese, as host of the 2008 Olympics and a strong ally of the Sudanese government, to intercede.

Cambodians understand genocide, and they understand how it feels when the world watches without notice, Seng Theary said.

“For the last 35 years, no one has cared about our issue, and now that we have had suffering, we have an opportunity to voice our support against the genocide in Darfur,” she said. “That is in the interest of Cambodians.”