ANCA Darfur Genocide Vigil to Call on US for Decisive Action

WASHINGTON–DC–As the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) joined the growing coalition seeking decisive US action to stop the ongoing Genocide in Darfur–Sudan–it will hold a vigil–"Armenian Americans against the Darfur Genocide," urging the US government to take principled action and avoid the terrible cost of indifference.

The ANCA vigil–part of a series of weekly Wednesday vigils by Africa Action–will take place on Wednesday–May 25–at Lafayette Park–across from the White House–from 5:30-6:30 pm.

In April–the ANCA circulated an action alert to more than 50,000 activists in every US state–and called on Armenian Americans to work for the adoption of Congressional resolutions in favor of the appointment of a Presidential Special envoy to Sudan and the imposition of sanctions against the Sudanese Government.

Known as the Darfur Accountability Act of 2005 (S.495)–the measure–introduced on March 2 by Senators Jon Corzine (D-NJ) and Sam Brownback (R-KS)–calls for a new UN Security Council resolution with sanctions–an extension of the current arms embargo to cover the Government of Sudan–and as well as the freezing of assets of those responsible for genocide and war crimes in Darfur. The Special Presidential Envoy for Sudan would work with all parties and the international community to stop the genocide in Darfur and help craft a comprehensive peace plan.

Following the introduction of the Darfur Accountability Act–Illinois Senator Richard Durbin spoke in the support of the measure–citing a state’s inherent responsibility to stop genocide.

The escalation of Congressional efforts regarding the Darfur Genocide coincides with an expanded Sudanese government effort to deny its role in the ongoing tragedy. In a March 22nd front page Washington Post article–Sudan’s First Vice-President Ali Uthman Muhammad Taha argued that–"his government had received an unfair share of the blame for the war in Darfur." The Washington Post article–which presented highlights from an interview with the First Vice-President continued: "We do understand and appreciate people having sympathy with the victims of Darfur," said Taha–57–who called the situation a ‘sad chapter’ in Sudan’s history. But he added: "This was not genocide–but an unfortunate internal conflict…that has nothing to do with ethnic cleansing. We urge people to see the difference between the innocents caught in the middle and the rebels who are escalating their claims to gain sympathy."

"Genocide denial–of past atrocities or ongoing massacres–only serves to encourage perpetrators–emboldening them with the knowledge that their crimes can be committed with impunity," said Aram Hamparian–Executive Director of the ANCA. "As Armenian Americans–we are reminded by the Sudanese government’s efforts to blame the victims–like its hollow claims of self-defense–of the Turkish government’s campaign–now in its ninth decade–to escape responsibility for the Armenian Genocide."

Additional information about the Darfur Genocide can be found at: Africa Action www.africaaction.org or Save Darfur www.savedarfur.org. For more information or questions on the May 25 Darfur Vigil–call (202) 775-1918 or visit www.anca.org.

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