Save Darfur Coalition Responds to Sudanese President’s Inaccurate Assertions
President Bashir’s comments a clear effort to prolong genocide in Darfur

Washington, DC – The Save Darfur Coalition today responded to Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir’s assertions regarding a United Nations peacekeeping force in Darfur. Bashir was quoted claiming he would not accept a “colonial” UN peacekeeping force in Darfur, and that the push for such a force was coming purely from U.S.-based Jewish organizations.

“President Bashir’s comments are as predictable as they are preposterous,” said Save Darfur Coalition spokesperson Alex Meixner. “Earlier this year, Bashir said that he would not allow a UN peacekeeping force in Darfur because there was no peace agreement to keep. Now that an agreement has been signed, he’s creating new excuses to keep the international community from ending the crisis he created.”

The Sudanese government is responsible for unleashing its proxy Janjaweed militia on Darfur’s civilian population in February 2003 in response to rebel attacks on a military outpost. The campaign of rape and murder by the Janjaweed, with the direct support of the Sudanese military, has left over 400,000 people dead and 2.5 million innocent civilians in refugee camps in the last 3 years.

In his comments, President Bashir said that “the groups that organized the demonstrations … are all Jewish organizations.”  In fact, the Save Darfur Coalition, which organized the main rally, in Washington, D.C., is a coalition of 166 disparate faith-based, humanitarian and human rights organizations dedicated to ending the genocide still taking place in Darfur.  The Coalition represents over 130 million Americans of many faiths from organizations such as the National Association of Evangelicals, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the American Society for Muslim Advancement, the Arab American Institute, the Islamic Society of North America, American Jewish World Service, the Union for Reform Judaism, and the NAACP.

“As a member of the American Muslim community, it is shocking to witness the destruction of life in Darfur,” said Daisy Khan, Executive Director of the American Society for Muslim Advancement.  Khan also serves as a member of the Save Darfur Coalition Executive Committee. “It is the moral duty of any person of faith to do everything possible to act to end this cycle of violence.  In confronting this disaster, I implore Mr. Bashir to be mindful of the Islamic imperative to preserve the life and dignity of one’s fellow human being.”

President Bashir’s description of the planned UN force as an attempt to “re-colonize” Sudan is equally wrong.  Firstly, the vast majority of UN peacekeeping troops come from the developing world, and in fact roughly 50% come from Muslim nations.  Secondly, a large Chapter VII-mandated UN peacekeeping force deployed in southern Sudan is already monitoring the implementation of last year’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement which ended a separate Sudanese conflict, the North-South civil war.  Finally, both the African Union and Arab League have expressed their support in turning over the Darfur peacekeeping operation from the African Union to the UN.

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