WASHINGTON (September 20, 2005)– The United States and the international community must do more to bring an end to the ongoing crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan, said the chairman of the bishops' International Policy Committee today in urging support for a "National Day of Action for the People of Darfur."
"The crisis in Darfur must be ended," said Bishop John H. Ricard, SSJ, of Pensacola-Tallahassee.
The National Day of Action for Darfur, set for September 21, 2005, is being organized by the Save Darfur Coalition, of which the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is a member.
Bishop Ricard's statement follows:
National Day of Action for the People of Darfur
September 21, 2005
Most Reverend John H. Ricard, SSJ
Bishop of Pensacola-Tallahassee
Chairman, Committee on International Policy
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
As chairman of the Committee for International policy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, I join with the leaders of religious and secular organizations on September 21, 2005, to support a National Day of Action for the people of Darfur. Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost and more than 2 million people face food and other insecurity as they languish in camps for the internally displaced or in refugee camps in neighboring Chad.
On this National Day of Action, we urge continuing pressure by the international community, including the African Union, on the government in Khartoum, the Janjaweed militias and the rebel forces to cease military operations and provide safe corridors for the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance. We call upon the U.S. Congress to enact the Darfur Accountability Act so that the African Union peacekeeping force might be expanded and given a stronger mandate to protect innocent civilians. The International Criminal Court should also be assisted in bringing to justice those accused of war crimes and genocide in Darfur.
The crisis in Darfur must be ended. We cannot stand idly by while human life is threatened. The United States and the international community can and must do more to end this moral and humanitarian crisis. We continue to offer our prayers that the suffering of our brothers and sisters in Darfur may end soon.