Senators Frist and Clinton Sign One Millionth Postcard Urging President Bush to Advocate Multinational Peacekeeping Force to Stop Darfur Genocide
Coalition Calls for Presidential Special Envoy to Sudan
Washington, DC – Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D. (R-TN) and Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) today joined other Members of Congress in signing the 1,000,000th postcard to President Bush urging him to use the full power of his office to support a stronger multinational force to protect the innocent civilians under attack in Darfur, Sudan. The senators signed the postcard at a U.S. Capitol news conference, helping the Save Darfur Coalition to reach its goal in just five months.
“The American people have spoken in enormous numbers,” said Senator Frist. “They understand that genocide is going on in Sudan. As a doctor, I have visited Darfur. I have seen the suffering with my own eyes. The time for action has arrived. I’m pleased to lend my support and honored to add my voice.”
Senator Clinton added, “As I have repeated often, and described in my letter to the President in March, there are several steps that he can and should be taking now, including appointment of a presidential envoy to Sudan. We also need the President to report regularly to Congress on what is happening in Darfur, a requirement I introduced and the Senate approved as part of the Department of Defense Authorization bill. We must continue to press this Administration and other members of the UN Security Council to take urgent action to protect civilians in Darfur.”
Since February 2003, the worsening genocide sponsored by the Sudanese government and perpetrated by its Janjaweed militia allies has claimed at least 400,000 lives, displaced 2.5 million people and left nearly 4 million men, women and children completely dependent on international humanitarian aid.
The postcards are part of an unprecedented “Million Voices for Darfur” campaign that was launched in January by the Save Darfur Coalition (www.savedarfur.org), an alliance of 167 faith-based, advocacy and humanitarian organizations, to generate 1 million electronic and handwritten postcards to President Bush. The text of the model electronic postcard is as follows:
Dear President Bush,
During your first year in the White House, you wrote in the margins of a report on the Rwandan genocide, “Not on my watch.” I urge you to live up to those words by using the power of your office to support a stronger multinational force to protect the civilians of Darfur
Rev. Gloria E. White-Hammond, M.D., chairwoman of the Save Darfur Coalition’s Million Voices for Darfur campaign, noted, “A million Americans have joined us in declaring ‘Not On Our Watch.’ It is imperative the President understand what these million Americans do: a United Nations peacekeeping force will be the only true protection for the refugees of Darfur. The President should answer these million calls for action by using his leverage on the Security Council and by immediately appointing a U.S. presidential special envoy to Sudan.”
Political and NGO leaders have been calling for a U.S. presidential special envoy to Sudan to coordinate American policy in the country and Darfur region. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick resigned last week – the fourth of the top five high-level Darfur policy officials within the Administration to announce his departure in recent weeks – and calls have increased for a special envoy to ensure that Darfur remains an Administration priority.
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