AJWS Concerned by Recent Obama Administration Statement on Darfur Genocide

Ruth Messinger: Members of administration must get on same page to effectively bring peace

New York, NY; June 19, 2009 – AJWS, long involved in the fight against the genocide in Darfur, expressed concern today that the Obama administration is sending contradictory signals in recognizing the magnitude of what has taken place and continues to occur on the ground in Darfur. 

“We believe that when conditions are as deplorable as they are, when millions remain displaced from their homes – many of them victims of rape and assault – lacking sufficient food and drinking water, it is dangerous to disagree in public about whether the genocide continues,” said AJWS president Ruth Messinger, in response to recent comments made by the administration’s special envoy to Sudan, Gen. J. Scott Gration.

Earlier this week, Gen. Gration referred to the current crisis as the “remnants of genocide” a few days after Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, used the term “genocide” to describe the current situation.

Messinger added: “What is essential is that we get assurances that the full complement of humanitarian aid has been completely restored and that the Obama administration recognizes that the status quo of the past seven years is unacceptable.  This is particularly the case when the onset of the rainy season continues to pose the threat that waterborne illness will spread rapidly among the population in the camps. This would cause widespread and rapid loss of life, advancing the concerted effort of the Sudanese government to cause a massive civilian death toll.

“Yet opportunity exists to bring peace to the region, allowing refugees and internally displaced persons to return to their homes and begin rebuilding their lives with dignity. Next week, a conference on the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between North and South Sudan will take place in Washington.  A successful CPA conference could allow the administration to then implement its existing agreements and focus immediately on negotiating, as well, for a viable peace in Darfur.  Failure to do so will only lead to more death and displacement.”

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