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George Clooney the UN Messenger of Peace

looktothestars.org: George Clooney was in Southern Sudan on Saturday to help raise awareness of the region’s historic independence referendum, which began on January 9.

The star – who is a UN Messenger of Peace and is well known for his work in Darfur and the Sudan – has met with President Barack Obama twice about conflict in the region, and recently launched the Satellite Sentinel Project, which uses satellite imagery analysis and crowd-sourced mapping to monitor the tense border between North and South Sudan.

“Our job is trying to keep this on the front burner of the news,” Clooney told The Associated Press. “I’m the son of newsman. I understand how hard it is to keep stories on the front of news, and sometimes entertainment and news can be meshed together if you do it properly.

The conflict in the Sudanese region of Darfur began in 2003 when ethnic African rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated Khartoum government. Sudan’s regime is accused of retaliating by organizing a militia of Arab nomads, known as the Janjaweed, to reign terror on the region’s African inhabitants, an allegation the Khartoum denies. It has been estimated that over 200,000 people have been slain since the conflict arose, and the United Nations now states that the humanitarian crisis in Darfur is the worst in the world.

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