As Darfur violence surges, Obama Administration Addresses Sudan Crisis with ‘Lack of Urgency’ Advocacy groups outraged over drift in administration policy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : August 6, 2010
CONTACTS:
Jonathan Hutson, jhutson@enoughproject.org, 857-919-5130
Janessa Goldbeck, goldbeck@genocideintervention.net, 202-559-7405
Ann Brown, abrown@savedarfur.org, 301-633-4193

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Human rights advocacy organizations expressed dismay today following reports that the Obama Administration is not approaching the situation in Sudan with the urgency it demands. In a New York Times article published yesterday (“Violence Said to Be Rising in Sudan’s Darfur Region” by Neil MacFarquhar), a senior State Department official was quoted saying, “There is no sense of urgency that this is a crucial moment [in Sudan].”

The comment comes on the heels of an alarming resurgence of violence in Darfur and just months before south Sudan is scheduled to vote for its own independence—a landmark event that, if mishandled, could plunge Sudan back into all-out war.

The Enough Project at the Center for American Progress, Genocide Intervention Network, and the Save Darfur Coalition, offered the following statements:

John Prendergast, Co-founder of the Enough Project, said, “The US and other key countries have largely turned away from serious political engagement in Darfur in favor of the North/South issues. US Special Envoy Gration has fallen into the same trap which has doomed previous diplomatic efforts by allowing the Khartoum regime to play the North/South crisis against the one in Darfur. The old adage of walking and chewing gum at the same time on Darfur and the South seems unattainable to the internationals attempting to address Sudan’s interrelated ills. By not focusing on an all-Sudan solution, they end up with no solution at all, and the crises bleed on.”

Mark Hanis, President of Genocide Intervention Network, said, “Where is Candidate Obama, who promised the American people that he would address the crisis in Sudan with ‘unstinting resolve’? It will take more than rhetoric to ensure that the people of Sudan are not plunged again into war. Voters demand that the president and his administration do the right thing.”

Mark Lotwis, Acting President of the Save Darfur Coalition, said, “It is disturbing to hear that the there is no sense of urgency in the Obama administration in implementing an effective Sudan policy. I recently returned from Darfur and South Sudan and know that conditions on the ground have deteriorated, the Darfur Peace Process is stalled, and critical preparations for the referendum are not being made. The president needs to provide his entire team—Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Clinton, Ambassador Rice and Special Envoy Gration—with a new direction that makes all of Sudan an urgent priority now.”

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Enough Project – Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on crises in Sudan, Chad, eastern Congo, northern Uganda, Somalia, and Zimbabwe. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. Visit www.enoughproject.org.

Genocide Intervention Network – Genocide Intervention Network is working to build the first permanent anti-genocide constituency, mobilizing the political will to stop genocide when it occurs. Accessible online at www.GenocideIntervention.net, Genocide Intervention Network empowers individuals with the tools to stop genocide.

The Save Darfur Coalition – an alliance of more than 190 faith-based, advocacy and human rights organizations – raises public awareness about the ongoing crisis in Darfur and mobilizes a unified response to promote peace throughout the Darfur region and all of Sudan. The coalition’s member organizations represent 130 million people of all ages, races, religions and political affiliations united together to help the people of Sudan. Please join the movement at www.SaveDarfur.org.

Stop Genocide Now/i-ACT is a grassroots community dedicated to working to protect populations in grave danger of violence, death and displacement resulting from genocide. Through active education, advocacy and policy change SGN resolves to change the way the world responds to genocide. All of our projects focus on and utilize the strength and power in grassroots connectivity.  For information, visit www.stopgenocidenow.org.

Investors Against Genocide is a non-profit organization dedicated to convincing mutual fund and other investment firms to change their investing strategy so as to avoid complicity in genocide. The organization works with individuals, companies, organizations, financial institutions, the press, and government agencies to build awareness and to create financial, public relations, and regulatory pressure for investment firms to change. The ultimate goals are that the Government of Sudan ends its deadly genocide in Darfur and that investment firms avoid investing in genocide. For more information, visit www.investorsagainstgenocide.org.

Katie-Jay keeps i-ACT running on several levels. Much of her work entails coordinating partnerships with other grassroots organizations and implementing the campaigns developed by Gabriel and seeing through the details. She graduated from Portland State University with a BA in Sociology and a focus on Community Development. She has previously worked as a community organizer in Thailand, Guatemala, and with grassroots organizations across the United States.

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