WHY THIS ISSUE IS IMPORTANT: After the Sudanese government and the main Darfur rebel group signed a peace agreement on May 1, Bishop Wenski, Chairman of the Committee on International Policy, urged the sustained engagement of the international community to take full advantage of this historic opportunity. In an editorial published last month in America magazine he wrote, This peace accord will open the way for the United States to hold the Sudanese government to its promise of allowing the African Union peacekeeping force (AMIS) to be transformed into a more robust and mobile UN mission with a strong mandate. It is essential to strengthen significantly the presence and responsiveness of peacekeeping forces in Darfur, both to guarantee implementation of the peace agreement and to win the confidence of the people.
Until that UN force becomes a reality, the long-suffering people of Darfur continue to need your help. Humanitarian resources remain inadequate and security both for the people and those trying to assist them is deteriorating. The House of Representatives will be voting later today on whether or not to provide critical additional funding for humanitarian aid to Darfur. In this region where a state-sponsored campaign of atrocities has already claimed over 400,000 lives and left millions more homeless and starving, this money could literally mean the difference between life and death.
In answer to the Gospels call to protect human life and dignity, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has joined the Save Darfur Coalition, an alliance of over 150 faith-based, humanitarian and human rights organizations that organized the Million Voices for Darfur Campaign. Since the U.S. bishops joined the leaders of various faith communities and other people of good will at the Save Darfur Rally on April 30, real progress has been made. Our leaders clearly received the message that our nation cannot remain silent in the face of killings, rape and wanton destruction. Make sure that your voice continues to be heard.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: Please call your Representative now and ask that he or she vote for the Obey/Hyde/Lantos amendment to add $50 million in humanitarian aid for Darfur. Your phone call could help make a difference to the lives of millions of innocent people in Darfur who live in daily fear of violence, starvation and rape.
You can find contact information for your Representative at http://www.house.gov or, if you know who your Representative is, simply call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to his or her office.
TAKE ACTION NOW! Make sure that your Representative knows that you want continued high-level U.S. leadership to bring a definitive end to the intolerable moral and humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Please tell your Representative today that the United States must make maintain its resolve and commitment to save the people of Darfur by supporting the Obey/Hyde/Lantos amendment to increase humanitarian assistance by $50 million.
For more information, contact:
Theodore Rectenwald, Policy Advisor for African Affairs, 202-541-3149, TRectenwald@usccb.org