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Clooneys Launch Darfur Campaign by Shooting Documentary

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Apr 27, 2006 | 5:55am EDT

George Clooney and his father Nick have just returned from a low-key trip to the Sudan to document the country's sick genocide.

The actor felt he had to do something after learning the extent of the situation in refugee camps, where hundreds of thousands of African Muslims have been slaughtered at the hands of violent Arab tribal militia, keen to wipe them out completely.

Upset about how terrible the country's civil war has become, Clooney and his father, a former news anchor-turned-politician, decided to jet to West Africa and shoot footage of their findings.

The movie star, who explained the genocide continues "as the world turns a blind eye," debuted his documentary on yesterday's Oprah Winfrey Show.

The Clooneys started their harrowing tour in South Sudan, visiting harsh camps full of refugees.

Narrating the footage he shot, Clooney stated, "These people had jobs and property before the Arab 'Janjaweed' militia burned their villages, raped their women and killed their children."

Clooney and his father were not allowed to enter Darfur and so traveled north to Chad and then visited the Oure Cassoni refugee camp on the border of Darfur, where they discovered there are more than two million Sudanese living in camps dotted around the border.

Speaking upon his return yesterday, the actor told Oprah, "Their (refugees’) biggest danger is around them--the 'Janjaweed' militia patrol around it and wait for the women to go out at night to get wood and they rape them.

"The women go out to get the wood because if the men did they would kill them, so they choose rape."

The actor said he chose to make the awareness trip with his father because he was "late" to the crisis in the Sudan and after having a "fairly decent year" he felt he should "cash in some of that capital on bringing some attention to things that concerned me."

He ended his Oprah segment by stating, "We need everyone to get up out of their chairs and help support all these organizations--the U.S. government, the U.N.--to try and effect some change here."

Clooney will be among those taking part in the Save Darfur Coalition Rally to Stop Genocide in Washington, D.C., on Sunday.

Clooney's TV campaign comes on the same day as a letter from Angelina Jolie in USA Today newspaper, which the actress paid for. In the missive the Tomb Raider details the genocide in the Sudan and asks all Americans to demand action.

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