WASHINGTON–The Armenian National Committee of America Thursday applauded the unprecedented, bi-partisan joint statement issued by Presidential Candidates, Senators Hillary Clinton (D-NY), John McCain (R-AZ) and Barack Obama (D-IL) expressing their collective commitment to ending the ongoing genocide in Darfur.
"After more than five years of genocide, the Sudanese government and its proxies continue to commit atrocities against civilians in Darfur. This is unacceptable to the American people and to the world community," noted Senators Clinton, McCain and Obama. "Today, we wish to make clear to the Sudanese government that on this moral issue of tremendous importance, there is no divide
between us. We stand united and demand that the genocide and violence in Darfur be brought to an end and that the CPA [Comprehensive Peace Agreement] be fully implemented."
"A united stand on stopping the ongoing genocide in Darfur sends a powerful message to the al-Bashir government that ongoing atrocities against defenseless civilians is simply unacceptable," stated ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian. "Only by speaking clearly and unequivocally on all genocides–from the Armenian Genocide, to the Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda and now Sudan–can we finally put an end to the cycle of genocide plaguing our world over the past century."
Presidential candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton had condemned the Sudan genocide earlier this year in statemen’s citing their support for passage of Armenian Genocide legislation (H.Res.106 / S.Res.106) pending in Congress.
On January 19th, Sen. Obama noted "Genocide, sadly, persists to this day, and threatens our common security and common humanity. Tragically, we are witnessing in Sudan many of the same brutal tactics–displacement, starvation, and mass slaughter–that were used by the Ottoman authorities against defenseless Armenia’s back in 1915. I have visited Darfurian refugee camps, pushed for the deployment of a robust multinational force for Darfur, and urged divestment from companies doing business in Sudan. America deserves a leader who speaks truthfully about the Armenian Genocide and responds forcefully to all genocides. I intend to be that President."
Similarly, Senator Clinton, noting that the "horrible events perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against Armenia’s constitute a clear case of genocide," went on to state, "If the mass atrocities of the 20th Century have taught us anything it is that we must honestly look the facts of history in the face in order to learn their lessons, and ensure they will not happen again. It is not
just about the past, but about our future…I support a no-fly-zone over Darfur. I have championed strong international action to ensure that the government of Sudan can no longer act with impunity, or interfere with the international peacekeeping force, which is essential for the protection of the people of Darfur."
In a February 2nd letter to the ANCA, Senator McCain commented that "It is fair to say that this tragedy, the brutal murder of as many as one and a half million Armenia’s under the rule of the Ottoman Empire, has also been one of the most neglected. The suffering endured by the Armenian people during that period represented the prologue to what has come to be known as humanity’s bloodiest century."
The Armenian Genocide Resolution, H.Res.106, introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) with lead supporters George Radanovich (R-CA), Congressional Armenian Caucus Co-Chairs Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI), Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA), currently has over 200 cosponsors.
On October 10th, the House Foreign Affairs Committee adopted the resolution, which calls on U.S. foreign policy to properly reflect the genocide of over 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children from 1915-1923 in Ottoman Turkey. A similar measure in the Senate, led by Assistant Majority Leader Richard Durbin (D-IL) and John Ensign (R-NV), has 34 cosponsors.
Situation in Sudan Deteriorating
Ongoing and escalating violence in Sudan–including the recent destruction of the contested town of Abyei–reinforces the importance of this united statement from the candidates. Following the Justice and Equality Movement attack on the capital May 10, reports from the ground indicate that the Sudanese government’s response has been heavy-handed and rife with human rights abuses.
The reports indicate widespread detentions and disappearances, summary executions, crackdowns on Darfuri journalists and lawyers, and the looting of Darfuri homes and businesses in and around Khartoum. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir virtually promised a new round of brutal attacks in Darfur on May 20, leaving millions of civilians in the villages, cities and IDP camps in fear for their lives.
ANCA activists have teamed up with Save Darfur, Genocide Intervention Network, STAND, Africa Action and a host of other organizations in a united effort to end the genocide in Darfur and strengthen the burgeoning anti-genocide constituency in the United States. Last week, the ANCA joined Africa Action and a host of other groups in organizing a rally in front of the US Mission at the United Nations in New York City to deliver thousands of handprints and messages from all over the country demanding decisive US action to end genocide in Darfur and promote peace for Sudan. To read about that rally.