Call for UN forces counters Sudanese President Bashir’s effort 
to stall UN Security Council action on draft resolution

WASHINGTON, DC – A coalition of Darfuri ex-pat community groups from the U.S. today sent a letter to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan calling for the deployment of a strong UN peacekeeping force to protect their friends and relatives in Darfur.  The letter, which was signed by eight groups representing a wide range of Darfuri society, was delivered just days after a draft resolution authorizing such a UN force was presented to the Security Council.

“Our brothers and sisters still in Darfur cannot afford another month of debate.  The time to act is now,” said Mr. Suliman Giddo of Darfur Peace and Development.  “The government of Sudan created the crisis in Darfur, and they are still today trying to preserve it.  The United Nations must not delay sending real help to Darfur, and must not for one instant consider allowing the perpetrators of genocide to reinforce their Janjaweed militias.”

Mr. Giddo’s comments refer to the government of Sudan’s disingenuous proposal to help protect the Darfuri people by deploying even more of the same Sudanese troops who have been aiding the Janjaweed militias in their genocidal attacks.  Appallingly, the Sudanese proposal has received the support of the Arab League, despite the clear contradiction in allowing the architects of the current crisis to supplant international efforts to end it.  Despite the transparent nature of President Bashir’s maneuver, any possible delay to UN Security Council action comes at the cost of more lives in Darfur.

“Everyday, more of our families suffer, and everyday, the international community comes up with excuses not to act,” said Dr. Mahmoud Braima, President of the Darfur Association of the USA.  “If the world is genuine in its desire to end this genocide, it must do so now, before it is too late.”

The Darfuri leaders’ calls for UN peacekeepers and their rejection of the Sudanese government’s plan are being echoed by their Sudanese countrymen elsewhere as well.  “Bashir’s proposal is his latest attempt to divide the international community and prolong the conflict he helped create by delaying the badly needed UN force,” said Salih Mahmoud Osman, a Darfurian Member of the Sudanese Parliament and a leading human rights advocate in Khartoum, Sudan.

“The world’s leaders must not be blinded by the false promise of a Sudanese military solution to a problem created by the Government of Sudan,” said Osman Humaida, Director of the Sudanese Organization Against Torture.

Since early 2003, over 400,000 men, women, and children have died as a result of what the U.S. government has officially recognized as the first genocide of the 21st century.  In addition to the dead, 2 million Darfuris now live in makeshift camps in Darfur and Chad, and a total of close to 4 million continue to depend fully on international humanitarian aid for their survival.  Increasing violence in recent months, including a dramatic upswing in the direct targeting of aid workers, has left hundreds of thousands of Darfuris cut off from the very aid they have been forced to depend on.

The Save Darfur Coalition, a non-profit coalition of over 170 faith-based, human rights and humanitarian organizations working together to provide protection to the people of Darfur, is pleased to be able to help distribute the Darfuri groups’ letter.  On September 17, the Coalition will take further action to attract attention to the crisis in Darfur by sponsoring a rally in New York City coinciding with the 61st meeting of the United Nations General Assembly.  September 17 will also see other Darfur awareness events take place across the world as part of the first Global Day for Darfur.  For more information on the September events in New York and abroad, please visit www.SaveDarfur.org andwww.DayForDarfur.org.

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