Archive for Wednesday, July 7, 2004

Brownback advocates pressure in effort to end atrocities in Sudan

July 7, 2004


— After a trip to the war-torn region of western Sudan, Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., demanded Tuesday that immediate action be taken by the Sudanese government and international community to end the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.

The diplomatic trip was sparked by accusations of ethnic cleansing and attempted genocide of black African Muslims by Arab militiamen called Janjaweed.

The Janjaweed have been accused of trying to drive black African Muslims off what they believe to be their land through the use of terror. There have been daily reports of men slain, women raped, children abducted, and villages pillaged and torched.

Human Rights Watch estimates 300,000 black African Muslims have been murdered and more than 1 million have been driven from their villages and forced to live in one of the 129 refugee camps set up across the western provinces of Darfur.

The terror has sparked a migration of more than 160,000 black African Muslims into neighboring Chad.

Brownback and Wolf urged more U.S. involvement in Sudan, issuing a series of recommendations on what they say needs to be done to resolve the crisis. "The United States must continue to provide humanitarian aid and diplomatic pressure," Brownback said.

The lawmakers applauded U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan for their recent visits to western Darfur, saying the visits built pressure for an international commitment to ensure families within the camps were safe.

Brownback and Wolf recommended that the United States publicly identify those responsible for the atrocities and impose targeted sanctions, including a travel ban and the freezing of assets.

They also called for President Bush to press the United Nations to investigate and hold accountable those responsible for the atrocities. Numerous Sudanese officials have vehemently denied allegations of a government-supported scorched-earth policy.

Brownback also stressed the need for Sudanese and international cooperation to put an end to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur before it spirals out of control and into full-fledged genocide.

The list of recommendations offered by Brownback and Wolf includes the immediate implementation of key provisions of the April 8 cease-fire agreement by the government of Sudan. The cease-fire includes the disarming of the Janjaweed, cessation of attacks against civilians and removal of all barriers to the admittance of international aid into Darfur.

"We must keep the pressure on the government and the international community and not let the suffering of Darfuris slide out of our view. The world must not forget them in their time of need like we did in Rwanda about a decade ago," Brownback said.

They also called for the United Nations to pass a strong Security Council resolution condemning the government of Sudan.

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