For Immediate Release
Four Years after U.S. Recognizes Genocide, Darfur Crisis Continues on Bush’s Watch
Africa Action Urges This President and the Next to Prioritize Peace and Justice for Sudan
WASHINGTON - On September 9, 2004, the Bush administration recognized that the
violence in the Darfur region of Sudan constitutes genocide.
Remembering these words, Africa Action today urged President Bush to
make security and accountability in Darfur priorities for the remainder
of his presidency, and the next U.S. president to pursue a
comprehensive, long-term commitment to peace and justice for Darfur and
Since January, the United Nations (UN) estimates that 210,000 people
have been displaced in Darfur and to eastern Chad. Flooding from the
rainy season has exacerbated this humanitarian crisis, but the biggest
threats to the people of Darfur are man-made. Lawlessness abounds, and
the UN-African Union (AU) Darfur peacekeeping force known as UNAMID has
been unable to protect innocent communities or humanitarian workers
from violence by militias, rebels, bandits and government troops. Over
30 civilians were killed by government forces in a late August attack
on the Kalma internally displaced persons (IDP) camp in South Darfur.
"Four years after condemning the conflict in Darfur as the world's
gravest crime, President Bush has left the people of Sudan a legacy of
tragically unfulfilled promises," said Gerald LeMelle, Executive
Director of Africa Action. "He should make the best of the remainder of
his term by doing three things. First, the U.S. should work with
international partners to achieve the rapid deployment of all 18 formed
police units (FPUs) mandated for UNAMID to provide 24 hour protection
for IDPs in Darfur. Second, President Bush should push to enforce the
existing UN Security Council arms embargo for Darfur and expand this
weapons ban to all Sudan. Finally, the U.S. should resist international
efforts to suspend International Criminal Court (ICC) proceedings
investigating Sudan's President Omer al-Bashir."
Only around 10,000 of the UNAMID's 26,000 uniformed personnel have been
deployed, due to a combination of Sudanese obstruction and operational
difficulty training, equipping and integrating different national
forces. A recent report by a consortium of civil society groups working
in and for Darfur further criticized those forces on the ground for not
doing enough with their existing resources to protect civilians.
"The international community's painfully slow progress in effectively
deploying UNAMID demonstrates how critical it is to have a coordinated,
long-term approach to human security and democracy in Sudan," said
Michael Swigert, Africa Action's Associate Director for Policy and
Communications. "U.S. presidential candidates Barack Obama and John
McCain have both promised ‘unstinting resolve' to end genocide and
promote peace for Darfur and all of Sudan. To demonstrate the depth of
their commitment, they should discuss the issue at their foreign policy
debate on September 26."
Over the coming months, Africa Action and partners will be mobilizing
public pressure to hold the next U.S. president accountable to his
commitment to peace and justice for Sudan. For more information on
this grassroots action or how to end genocide in Darfur, visit www.africaaction.org.