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Thursday, October 14, 2010

TAKING A STAND ABOUT A HUMANITY-DEFINING SUBJECT

There are especially disturbing reports about the Government of Sudan planning to move millions of displaced Darfuris from the internal camps in which they live to areas where there is even less protection, less humanitarian aid support, and no eyes to witness any further atrocities.

Consider signing the letter drafted by George Clooney and John Prendergast to President Obama. Please ask friends and family to forward a request to also sign it.

For more action opportunities, please visit 100 Days of Action page.


The following is my letter sent to President Obama today via the link above and again at whitehouse.gov/contact



Subject: Sudan, Darfur and USA Leadership Responsibility


October 14, 2010


Dear President Obama,


I believe that we are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. I have heard you use this phrase more than once yourself. I consider myself first a human being with compassion and empathy and politically I consider myself a Democrat. I believe Democrats historically have been compassionate to fellow human beings, and are not all out for ourselves, but after trying our best to live our lives responsibly, have expectations that the government should protect our interests with regulations and social programs. And I believe that duties of citizens include the responsibility to know what our politicians are doing in our name and that we must be actively and proactively involved. Furthermore, I believe that we must think about our responsibilities locally and globally, which includes how we address issues such as women’s rights worldwide, human trafficking and genocide.


Since 2004, I have been a community leader who has brought attention to the genocide upon the Darfuri people of Sudan in the state of Rhode Island. In my lifetime, I have watched USA President after President, tolerate genocide in spite of all the correct and moral promises, such as “Never again”. Unfortunately, we have never meant “never again”. We only have said those words when the time that “we” could have done something to divert the madness of genocide is over. We say those words, in order to make ourselves feel better about our lack of doing something. We feel guilty and we try then to assuage our feelings or explain away our behavior of staying away from “The Problem”.


On January 9th, Southern Sudan will hold its independence referendum. Both North and South are preparing for war, leaving civilians at grave risk of major human rights violations. Is this going to be one more time that that we, of the USA and the international community could have diverted another “hell on earth”, but chose not to?


I'm asking you to do all you can to help avert a terrible conflict there. Specifically, I hope you can do more in three areas:


1. Peacemaking: Intensify our support for the North/South peace process and dispatch a senior diplomat to revitalize the Darfur peace effort.


2. Protection: Focus the post-referendum UN peacekeeping mission on civilian protection, particularly in border areas where civilians are most vulnerable to conflict and rights violations.


3. Pressure: You have said there will be benefits for peace and consequences for war. These should be big enough to get the attention of the Sudanese or they won't matter.


Sincerely,

Sandra Hammel

Use Your Voice to Stop Genocide RI


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Here is a letter from George Clooney and John Prendergast asking us for the same proaction ~

If you had 90 days to prevent another Darfur, what would you do?

On January 9th, Southern Sudan will vote for its independence. The country is currently led by an indicted war criminal, Omar al-Bashir. Both north and south are preparing for war, leaving civilians at grave risk of major human rights violations.

Send a message to President Obama asking him to act now.

The U.S. Secretary of State has called the situation a "ticking time bomb." The Director of National Intelligence has said that "mass killing or genocide is most likely to occur in Southern Sudan." President Obama has said that "the stakes are enormous."

We have a brief window of opportunity to do something that has rarely been done: stop a war before it starts. But if the international community is too hesitant or too late in its efforts -- as was the case in Darfur -- hundreds of thousands could die. The last war between the North and South was ended by a U.S.-led peace process, but not before two and a half million men, women, and children perished.

What can we do? Take action now by emailing President Obama.

Republicans and Democrats stand arm in arm for this cause, a cause which does not require sending US troops or billions of dollars. In fact, a combination of international pressure and robust diplomacy ended the last North/South war in 2005. It can work again.

Tell President Obama that we support every effort to use robust diplomacy -- in coordination with all our diplomatic partners -- to ensure a successful referendum, and peace in the South and Darfur. Our President has the power to gather the political will to stop a genocide before it starts, and we must demand that he do so.

The international community was late to Darfur. Late to the Congo. Late to Rwanda. Late to Bosnia. Tell our President that the people of South Sudan can't afford for us to be late again.

Your voice can stop a war.

Send a personal message to the president on the Sudan Now website.

–George Clooney and John Prendergast

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Darfur Daily News

AFP: War crimes-accused LRA chief likely in Darfur: think tank. The war crimes-accused head of the Ugandan rebel group Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, is likely in the southern part of Sudan's troubled Darfur, International Crisis Group said Wednesday. The International Criminal Court has an arrest warrant out for Kony for war crimes and crimes against humanity, with his outfit accused of massacres, mutilation, using child soldiers and taking girls as sex slaves. Kony is believed to be in the area of Daffak in southern Darfur where an attack took place September 2, according to information from Darfuri rebels from the Liberation and Justice Movement.

Bloomberg: Sudanese General Tanginye Holds Talks About Joining Southern Sudan's Army. A former Southern Sudan militia leader currently serving as a general in Sudan's army began talks with the semi-autonomous region's leader to switch sides ahead of an independence referendum next year. "We have not reached that conclusion, but we are in the process of negotiating," Sudanese Armed Forces Major-General Gabriel Tanginye said in an interview after a meeting today with Southern Sudanese President Salva Kiir in the capital, Juba. "The president is my brother and he is my leader," he said.

AFP: S.Sudan foes mend fences before independence vote. The south Sudanese leadership has been setting aside its differences with armed dissidents and civil war militia foes as a landmark referendum on independence for the region looms in January. Southern regional president Salva Kiir has offered an amnesty to rebel fighters and sought to reconcile with his leading political adversary, former foreign minister Lam Akol, in a bid to ease tensions in the run-up to the vote.

Reuters: North, south Sudan disagree over Abyei vote. A referendum on the future of Sudan's oil-producing Abyei region should be postponed, northern officials said on Thursday, but the south dismissed the proposal as unacceptable.

BBC: George Clooney call to freeze Sudan leader's assets. The Sudanese leader is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes in Darfur - charges he denies. Mr Clooney told the BBC that freezing his bank accounts would be a good way of putting pressure on Khartoum. The Hollywood star has just returned from Sudan in his role as a UN messenger of peace ahead of January's referendum on secession for the south.

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