–New ANCA WebFax Campaign supports Decisive US Action to Stop Genocide in Sudan
WASHINGTON–DC–The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) has joined the growing coalition seeking decisive US action to stop the ongoing Genocide in Darfur–Sudan.
In an action alert circulated to more than 50,000 activists in every US state–the ANCA 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.
The ANCA WebFax letter reminds legislators–"The international community watched as Turkey massacred over 1.5 million Armenian civilians and drove hundreds of thousands more into the desert to die during World War I. After this first genocide of the 20th Century–the nations of the world pledged to prevent such atrocities in the future. And yet–over 6 million Jews and millions of others were exterminated by the Nazis during World War II. The world community again vowed to stop future atrocities–proclaiming–’Never again.’ And yet again–over 1.7 million Cambodians were killed under Pol Pot’s repressive regime in the 1970’s–and less than 20 years later after that–800,000 Tutsi civilians were slaughtered in Rwanda in 1994. I urge you to take action to end this cycle and move us to finally realize the call ‘Never Again.’"
Joining Senators Corzine and Brownback in cosponsoring the Darfur Accountability Act in the Senate are Evan Bayh (D-IN)–Barbara Boxer (D-CA)–Tom Coburn (R-OK)–Norm Coleman (R-MN)–Susan Collins (R-ME)–Mark Dayton (D-MD)–Mike DeWine (R-OH)–Christopher Dodd (D-CT)–Richard Durbin (D-IL)–Russell Feingold (D-WI)–John Kerry (D-MA)–Herb Kohl (D-WI)–Mary Landrieu (D-LA)–Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)–Patrick Leahy (D-VT)–Joseph Lieberman (D-CT)–Patty Murray (D-WA)–Benjamin Nelson (R-NE)–and Jim Talent (R-MO).
Similar legislation was introduced in the House on March 17 by New Jersey Democrat Donald Payne and has 11 cosponsors including Representatives Michael Capuano (D-MA)–John Conyers (D-MI)–Tom Lantos (D-CA)–Barbara Lee (D-CA)–Gregory Meeks (D-CA)–Joseph Pitts (R-PA)–Charles Rangel (D-NY)–Bobby Rush (D-IL)–Thomas Tancredo (R-CO)–and Bennie Thompson (D-MS).
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: "’Genocide’ is a word this is rarely used in human history," explained Sen. Durbin. "There have been genocides against the Armenian people and the Jewish people during the Holocaust–perhaps in Pol Pot’s times in Cambodia–and other times we can point to. Rarely do we use the word. It is a word that is freighted with responsibility. You cannot just say there is genocide in some part of the world and isn’t that a shame. We signed a genocide treaty that said once we detect a genocide–we go to international organizations–the United States does– and demand action. So using the word "genocide," as the Bush administration has done–is a good thing because it prods us to do something–but it is a challenge that we must meet on something this timely and important."
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 Hamparian. "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."
Express your support for the Darfur Genocide Accountability Act of 2005 by sending a free ANCA WebFax to Congress from the ANCA website www.anca.org. Additional information about the Darfur Genocide can be found at: Africa Action www.africaaction.org or Save Darfur www.savedarfur.org.