I’ve written a lot about Darfur and have been engaged locally and on a national scale to help build a movement to find peace for Darfur. But what really has happened in 2007?
1,000′s of American’s have come together
The United Nations Security Council authorized a UN/AU hybrid peacekeeping force (UNAMID) to deploy to Darfur. The first soldiers in the 26,000 strong force will be deployed in January
Due to international pressure surrounding the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China has begun to take a harder line with Sudan. China not only approved UNAMID, but has also sent its own envoy to Sudan to focus on ending the genocide
Americans have refused to let genocide be committed on their dime. 22 states, 58 universities and 11 major U.S. cities have adopted Sudan divestment policies. Earlier this month, Congress unanimously passed federal divestment legislation (PDF) that will ensure American dollars are not funding the genocide.
While this is all really good news, there is still lots more than needs to be done to actually end the violence. It is hard to remain engaged and care when it is happening so far away from us and with so many other conflicts going on around the world. Engaging China has been a huge step, so too is getting a neutral military presence in place. There is still more that needs to happen before peace and stability can fully return, most noticeably:
UNAMID still needs helicopters and logistical support in order to succeed.
The ultimate success of the divestment movement rests on the 28 states that have not yet acted. 23 of these have divestment campaigns planned in 2008.
Millions of vulnerable civilians remain unprotected in camps across Darfur.
So to you I say keep up the good work and the willingness to care! Let’s make 2008 the year we end the genocide in Darfur.
According to an e-mail sent by the Genocide Intervention Network, the Senate had the opportunity to pass the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act (SADA) and failed to due so, thanks to Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE).
SADA simply put will help protect state and local divestment and prohibit federal contracts with foreign companies helping to fuel the genocide. Legislators and activists have learned from past campaigns and have made sure that the bill will not hurt future business transactions with China and Sudan after the genocide has ended. A summary can be found here (pdf).
The bill sets benchmarks for the Government of Sudan that include:
(1) abide by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1769 (2007); (2) cease attacks on civilians;(3) demobilize and demilitarize the Janjaweed and associated militias;(4) grant free and unfettered access for delivery of humanitarian assistance; and(5) allow for the safe and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons.
The House version of the bill passed back in July 418 – 1 (the dissenting vote was Republican/Libertarian Ron Paul). It would seem that something with such an overwhelming majority would be a no-brainer for passage. An October article in the International Herald-Tribune quoted Hagel saying, “I don’t think we want to give local governments authority in foreign policy decisions.” He eventually stepped aside to let the bill out of committee but is now blocking the bill again.
Take Action and contact your Senators. Find out how your congressional delegation scores related to Darfur issues at the Darfur Scorecard.
Additionally, the UN was finally given permission to supply a peacekeeping force into the Darfur area. To ensure that this force is fully equipped and prepared for success the US and other nations must keep their financial promises. It is that time of year where the budget is being finalized for 2008. Make sure we keep our promises.
We can end this Genocide that is still killing thousands and displacing millions. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
One Campaign’s efforts to “Make Poverty History” continue to grow and they have taken on all the presidential candidates at ONE Vote ’08.
Fast for Debt Cancellation is the theme of the 2007 Year of Jubilee’s fall campaign. Jubilee is trying to get debt cancellation for all developing countries, not just specific ones. This is a rolling fast, so you can participate for one day or longer if you desire.