Wednesday, August 08, 2007

When dealing with Darfur atrocities, money talks

By Rep. Steny Hoyer

After the genocide in Rwanda, many of us swore that never again would we stand by idly and permit genocide to take place on our watch. Sunday, July 22, marked the third anniversary of Congress' vote, under the leadership of Rep. Don Payne, D-N.J., to declare that the atrocities taking place in Darfur, Sudan, constituted genocide.

Nearly 450,000 people have died, and more than 2.5 million have been displaced, yet the Omar al-Bashir government continues to stall the implementation of a joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force. During our trip to Darfur in April, we saw firsthand that the situation on the ground continues to deteriorate.

If we are to make good on our commitment not to stand by in the face of atrocities, we have a moral obligation to use every tool at our disposal, and that means using both diplomacy and divestment.

The Bush administration has been firm in its dealings with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, and Congress has taken important steps to strengthen the administration's diplomatic hand. In April, the House passed a resolution 425-1 calling on the League of Arab States to recognize the genocide taking place in Darfur and take active steps to bring it to an end.

In June, the House voted 410-0 for a resolution calling on China, Sudan's largest trading partner, "to use its unique influence and economic leverage" to help stop the genocide in Darfur. Read more >>>>>>>>>>>>

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