Religious, Human Rights Groups Praise Senate for Passing Bill to Help Stop Genocide in Darfur, Sudan
When this newsletter first wrote about the Darfur genocide 14 months ago, we had some hope that the governments of the world would have put a stop to the rape and pillaging by this time. Sadly, this is far from the truth. U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan recently wrote, "The looming threat of complete lawlessness and anarchy draws nearer, particularly in western Darfur, as warlords, bandits and militia groups grow more aggressive." More action is needed, including continued diplomatic pressure and a further expanded African Union presence in western Sudan. At long last, the United States government is moving closer to supporting new measures; though approval by the House of Representatives is still necessary, it is a major step forward for the Senate to have passed its Darfur Peace and Accountability Act this past week, as reported by the Save Darfur Coalition.
Washington, DC - November 19, 2005 - The Save Darfur Coalition, an alliance of 140 faith-based, humanitarian and human rights groups representing 130 million Americans, today praised the Senate for passing the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act (S. 1462) last night and urged leaders in the House of Representatives to pass the bill in the strongest form possible.
The Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, endorsed by the Save Darfur Coalition, has 37 bipartisan cosponsors in the Senate and 107 in the House of Representatives. Among its provisions, the bill authorizes additional U.S. assistance to the African Union’s peacekeeping force in Sudan, calls for a new U.N. Security Council resolution concerning Darfur, and provides for additional sanctions against the perpetrators of the genocide.
“The Senate has done its job, and now the House International Relations Committee needs to do its part by sending a strong bill with real teeth to the House floor for a vote.” said Richard Cizik, Vice President for Governmental Affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals. “Congress needs to pass legislation that provides resources for African Union troops, consequences for the Sudanese government, and directs the Administration to prioritize this fight.”
Since the conflict began in the Darfur region of Sudan in 2003, more than 400,000 people have died, 3.5 million have been driven into hunger and 2.5 million displaced due to violence, according to reports from the World Food Program, the United Nations and Coalition for International Justice. There has been a dramatic rise in violence in recent months, a resulting drop in humanitarian aid due to security concerns, and the kidnapping of dozens of international observers, including one American.
“Now is the time for action. We need to use the moral, physical, and economic strength of America to stop what the Bush Administration has already deemed genocide,” said Coalition Coordinator David Rubenstein. “As the situation worsens, the people of Darfur desperately need more than just empty words from House members, they need action. We are grateful to Senators Brownback and Corzine for sponsoring the bill, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Lugar for discharging it out of his committee with a positive recommendation, and Senate Majority Leader Frist for bringing it to the floor.”
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