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UK Shadow ministers sign parliamentary statement on Darfur

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PROTECT DARFUR

Press Release
April 12, 2005

The Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Rt Hon Michael Ancram QC MP, and the Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, Alan Duncan MP, yesterday added their names to the Parliamentary Statement on Darfur, calling for the UK to push for a UN Chapter VII peace enforcement mandate for operations in Darfur, to be led by the African Union with support from wealthy nations. In doing so, they issued the following statements:

Rt Hon Michael Ancram QC MP

"The outside world must not ignore the horrors being committed in Darfur. The international community must face up to its responsibilities. The African Union force must be given the means and the mandate to protect civilians in Darfur, and it must be made clear to the Sudanese Government that there will be penalties for their role in the atrocities."

Alan Duncan MP

"We may be campaigning here but we must not avert our gaze. While ethnic cleansing and systematic rape are being perpetrated in Darfur and tens of thousands of civilians are dying, talk about some kind of new deal for Africa seems hollow. We need strong action to tackle this vast humanitarian crisis."

On 15 March, the Conservatives issued the draft of a UN Security Council resolution that they would table if they won the UK General Election on 5 May. This would provide an African Union peacekeeping force with a Chapter VII mandate to protect Darfurian refugees and internally displaced people, by force if necessary, and to safeguard their return home.

Ancram and Duncan join other senior politicians in the list of signatories to the Parliamentary Statement on Darfur, including the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Charles Kennedy MP.

"We are delighted that leading members of the Shadow Cabinet are putting their names - and committing their party - to the protection of Darfur in this way," commented Dr James Smith, Chief Executive of the Aegis Trust, which coordinates the Protect Darfur campaign. "The Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats are now united on this issue. We call again on the current Government; use your position on the UN Security Council to achieve a UN mandate for peace enforcement operations in Darfur as quickly as possible. The people of Darfur are dying as we speak for lack of protection. They do not have time to wait."

- For more information, contact David Brown, Communications Officer, Protect Darfur Campaign, Mobile: +44 (0)7812 640873, email: david.brown@protectdarfur.org

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