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UMW Action Alert - Sudan Update
Contact: Office of Public Policy GBGM-Women's Division 100 Maryland Avenue, NE Room 530 Washington, DC 20002 (202)488-5660 Fax:(202) 488-5681
Office of Public Policy
GBGM-Women's Division
100 Maryland Avenue, NE Room 530
Washington, DC 20002
Fax:(202) 488-5681

While the high-profile visits of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, and U.S. Senator Sam Brownback (R-TX) have brought greater media attention to the atrocities taking place in the Darfur region of the Sudan, the humanitarian crisis continues to worsen. A recent report by the human rights organization Amnesty International confirms that Black African women in Darfur are being systematically brutalized and raped by members of the janjaweed, the government-supported Arab militias that have perpetrated most of the violence.1 The conflict has forced 1 million people from their homes, and an estimated 2.2 million people are in urgent need of food, medicine and other basics.2 Humanitarian aid efforts cannot keep up with the overwhelming demand for health care, water, and shelter. Lack of funding from the international community combined with a set of bureaucratic obstacles put in place by the Sudanese government have hampered the already difficult work of aid workers. Now the rainy season threatens to make parts of the Darfur region unreachable.

However, signs of hope are on the horizon. Thanks to the impassioned efforts of various members of Congress, both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed resolutions declaring that the atrocities taking place in Darfur meet the international standard for genocide (H.CON.RES.467 in the House; S.CON.RES. 133 in the Senate.) In late July, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum labeled the situation in Darfur as a “genocide emergency,” marking the first time the Museum has used that classification for any world conflict.3

While some human rights organizations and the U.N. have stopped short of calling the situation
in Darfur genocide, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan has said that “[i]t is clear that serious
crimes have been committed and there has been gross and systematic abuse of human rights.”
He added that “the international community must intensify [its] efforts to protect the innocent in Darfur.” 4

Members of the international community are slowly mobilizing. The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution on July 30 giving the government of Sudan 30 days to disarm the janjaweed under the threat of diplomatic and economic penalties. The African Union announced that it may increase its peacekeeping presence in Darfur from 300 to 2,000 troops, and the European Union is considering sanctions against the Sudanese government.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) estimates that 80,000 people in Darfur have died of violence, disease and malnutrition since the beginning of the conflict. The death toll could reach at least 300,000.5

Let the White House and the State Department know that you support continued pressure on the government of Sudan to acknowledge the atrocities, disarm the janjaweed, and remove all barriers to the provision of humanitarian aid.

Secretary of State Colin Powell
U.S. Department of State
(202) 647-4000

President George W. Bush
White House Comment Line
(202) 456-1111

August 2004

1Amnesty International, “Darfur: Rape as a Weapon of War and Its Consequences,” July 18, 2004, http://www.aiusa.org.
2The Associated Press, “Sudanese Protest U.N. Deadline for Darfur,” August 4, 2004.
3Radsch, Courtney C., “Holocaust Museum Calls Crisis in Sudan ‘Genocide Emergency,’
4BBC News, “UN chief warns Sudan over Darfur,” July 22, 2004, http://news.bbc.co.uk
5“‘Realism’ and Darfur,” The Washington Post, August 1, 2004, p. B6.

Date posted: Aug 10, 2004