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George Clooney lobbies for attention to situation in Sudan [video]

December 6, 2010 | 10:47 am


George Clooney After a recent visit to Sudan, George Clooney has released a video to raise awareness of the situation in Africa's largest nation in terms of area, in the hopes of heading off a civil war.

"We were late to the Congo. We were late to Rwanda. We were late to Darfur," Clooney says in the video, produced by the Enough Foundation and the actor's Not On Our Watch organization. "We felt like this was a chance to be able to finally stop a war before it starts."

Clooney seeks signatures on a Sudan Now petition that calls for "President Obama to do everything he can to stop a war before it starts."

For his human-rights work, Clooney won the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award at the 2010 Emmy Awards in July. He co-founded Not On Our Watch with actors Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Don Cheadle and Brad Pitt, producer Jerry Weintraub and human-rights lawyer David Pressman, who traveled with Clooney to Sudan in 2006 and is currently the U.S. National Security Council's director for war crimes atrocities and civilian protection.

The Sudanese are scheduled to vote Jan. 9 regarding the secession of the south, which holds three-quarters of the country's oil reserves. A Christian Science Monitor analysis report suggests that the Sudanese people expect the south to secede, but that they aren't sure if it would happen peacefully or lead to another civil war. Twenty years of civil war in Sudan ended in 2005.

In one of the many documents released by Wikileaks, a U.S. diplomat last year recommended postponing the referendum by four to six years, the BBC reported, to protect Egypt's access to the Nile River while water rights are being renegotiated. The New York Times' Nicholas D. Kristof, in praising the Obama administration's recent diplomatic actions, after criticizing its efforts in August, notes that the referendum committee may indeed ask for a delay -- but he also says "much will depend on the stance of the international community" as to whether a vote would be seen as legitimate.

In other Clooney news, the actor has reportedly signed on to co-produce and likely direct the film version of the play "Enron," which did big business in Britain but closed after 38 performances on Broadway. "The Smartest Guys in the Room," a 2005 documentary about the fall of Enron, was nominated for an Oscar.


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Photo: George Clooney attends the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice & Human Rights Ripple of Hope awards dinner in New York on Nov. 17. Credit: Michael Loccisano / Getty Images