(Washington, DC) – On Friday, February 11, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-KY) introduced a 2011 spending bill (H.R. 1) that would significantly reduce funding for emergency food aid and refugee assistance to Sudan.  The measure is part of a proposed international affairs budget that would be cut by 21 percent ($11.6 billion) over the President’s request.  The budget proposal also cut funding for genocide and mass atrocity prevention.

Sam Bell, Executive Director of Genocide Intervention Network / Save Darfur Coalition, released the following statement in response:

“These severe cuts in humanitarian aid programs are in direct opposition to the United States’ stated commitment to peace in Darfur and Sudan. The timing could not be worse as violence in Darfur is on the rise and south Sudan stands ready to become the world’s newest independent country in less than 5 months.

“The majority of the funding cuts will affect life-saving assistance including food delivery to nearly 3 million Darfuris who are living in displacement camps, unable to return safely to their homes.

“We strongly urge House leaders, including Speaker of the House John Boehner and Chairman Rogers, to reconsider these drastic cuts that will decimate assistance to the world’s most vulnerable populations.”

BACKGROUND:

H.R. 1 proposes cuts to several programs that provide life-saving assistance to Sudan including: a $431 million (50%) cut in the International Disaster Assistance account, a $582 million (36%) cut in the Food for Peace program and a $687 million (41%) cut in the Migration and Refugee Assistance budget.

Funding for genocide and mass atrocity prevention has also been put on the chopping block. The Complex Crises Fund—which has enabled the United States to more effectively respond to situations at risk for mass atrocities—has been completely eliminated. The Civilian Stabilization Initiative that runs programs to mitigate conflict has been reduced by $137 million, which represents a 74% cut. The Civilian Stabilization Initiative funds critical work to prevent violent conflict in areas critical to the interests of the United States like Sudan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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The Save Darfur Coalition and Genocide Intervention Network merged on November 1, 2010 to create a more powerful voice dedicated to preventing and stopping large-scale, deliberate atrocities against civilians. The organization remains committed to its work to end the crisis in Darfur and bring peace to all of Sudan as well as to end violence in other areas of mass atrocities such as Congo and Burma.  The merger creates the world’s largest anti-genocide organization, with a membership base of hundreds of thousands of committed activists globally, an unparalleled nationwide student movement, more than 190 faith-based, advocacy and human rights partner organizations, and a network of institutional investors with over $700 billion in assets under management.

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