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[Published: Friday April 11 2008]

Harry Potter author demands action in Darfur

London, 12 April -(ANA)-Harry Potter author JK Rowling has joinedfellow children's writers in calling for greater protection for children livingin war-torn Darfur.

Rowling's Harry Potter series are the world's fastest-selling books

An open letter signed by 14 authors, including best-selling US writer JudyBlume and Michael Morpugo, declares: "It is time to change thenarrative."

"The world needs to wake up. For too long it has let these childrensuffer. Our politicians need to act on Darfur."

The conflict in Darfur, a region of Sudan, is now in its fifth year.

More than 200,000 people have died in Darfur since rebels took up arms in2003, according to the UN. Two million have fled their homes.

Sunday marks Global Day for Darfur, with protesters around the world callingon the international community to take further action to end the crisis.

"The children of Darfur didn't ask for this war, but are living theirdays caught in the crossfire of reverberating bullets," the open lettercontinues.

"They must be allowed to be children again. Despite the daily terrorthey face, they still have hopes and dreams.

"The world needs to act now to give the children of Darfur afuture."

Human rights groups estimate that more than a million Sudanese children havebeen caught up in the bloodshed, displacement and killing in the region.

Hollywood stars Matt Damon, Thandie Newton and George Clooney are alsotaking part in Sunday's global protest.

"Days like this matter because they keep what is happening in the eyesof the international community," said Clooney, a UN "messenger ofpeace".

"If we all raise our voices the international community will have tolisten and respond." (ANA)

FA/ANA/12 April 2008---

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