Home | Press Releases    Thursday 12 August 2004

Statement of John Kerry on the Continuing Atrocities in Darfur

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To: National and International desks, Political Reporter

Contact: Mark Kitchens of Kerry-Edwards 2004, 202-464-2800

LOS ANGELES, Aug 12 /U.S. Newswire/ — Senator John Kerry released the following statement today:

"The UN has reported that the Government of Sudan used helicopter gunships to attack innocent civilians in the western region of Darfur. By continuing to commit massive atrocities, the Government of Sudan has chosen to defy the international community and, predictably, break its hollow promises to halt the killing and allow full humanitarian access.

"Soon after I called these atrocities by their rightful name, both houses of Congress unanimously declared that this systematic killing of African Muslims by Arab militiamen and the Khartoum government constitutes genocide. For the first time in its history, the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has declared a "genocide emergency." President Bush should do the same. America, the beacon of hope and values in the world, should lead the effort to halt the genocide.

"At least 50,000 civilians have already died. Well over one million people have been displaced from their homes, and hundreds of thousands have taken refuge in neighboring Chad. On June 3, U.S. AID Administrator Andrew Natsios warned that up to 1 million people could die by the end of the year. By USAID’s own estimates, at least 1,000 people are now dying each day - perhaps 30,000 this month alone while the Khartoum Government exploits the thirty day grace period provided in the U.S.-drafted UN Security Council resolution.

"How many more innocents must die before the Bush Administration leads the international community to end the violence and to hold accountable the planners and perpetrators of genocide? Effective American leadership could still save hundreds of thousands of lives. The United States must use the full force of U.S. diplomacy to obtain immediate international agreement to:

— Provide the $350 million the UN needs for life-saving humanitarian assistance;

— Impose comprehensive UN sanctions, including an asset freeze, arms embargo, and oil sanctions, on the Government of Sudan, if it fails to take all the steps required by UN Security Council resolution 1556;

— Obtain UN Security Council authorization for a Chapter VII humanitarian intervention to protect civilians and deliver humanitarian assistance. The forces already pledged by the African Union could form the backbone of any such mission, assisted by European and other forces. The U.S. should at least contribute logistical support; and

— Authorize an International Commission of Inquiry into war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

"The United States should leave Khartoum no doubt as to what to expect when the thirty-day period expires on August 30."

Paid for by Kerry-Edwards 2004, Inc. Web: http://www.johnkerry.com

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