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Genocide: The Threat in Sudan

Posted: August 3, 2004

Faith-based, Humanitarian and Human Rights Organizations Unite to Respond to Massive Crisis in Darfur, Sudan


The emergency in Sudan's western region of Darfur presents the starkest challenge to the world since the Rwanda genocide in 1994. A government-backed Arab militia known as Janjaweed has been engaging in campaigns to displace and wipe out communities of African tribal farmers.

Villages have been razed, women and girls are systematically raped and branded, men and boys murdered, and food and water supplies targeted and destroyed. Government aerial bombardments support the Janjaweed by hurling explosives as well as barrels of nails, car chassis and old appliances from planes to crush people and property. Tens of thousands have died. Well over a million people have been driven from their homes, and only in the past few weeks have humanitarian agencies gained limited access to some of the affected region.

Mukesh Kapila, the former United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Sudan, said on March 19 that the violence in Darfur is "more than a conflict, it's an organized attempt to do away with one set of people." The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum has issued its first ever genocide emergency. John Prendergast of International Crisis Group warns, "We have not yet hit the apex of the crisis."

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) estimates that 350,000 people or more could die in the coming months. Ongoing assessments by independent organizations such as Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors without Borders) suggest that USAID's estimate may be conservative. If aid is denied or unavailable, as many as a million people could perish.

Lives are hanging in the balance on a massive scale.

Call to Action

We commend the efforts of the U.S. government in brokering a peace deal to end the gruesome 21-year Civil War in the South and its generous pledge of $300 million in U.S. humanitarian aid. We also applaud the recent visits of Secretary of State Colin Powell and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan to the region of Darfur to assess the atrocities human rights organizations are calling the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today. And we congratulate Congress for taking decisive legislative action. But we must not wait for a legal determination of "genocide" to ensure a massive worldwide humanitarian response and call to end the violence and investigate crimes against humanity.

As Elie Wiesel passionately declared at our Darfur Emergency Summit on July 14, "the perils of indifference enable killers to kill and tormentors to torment…we cannot stand idly by [the crimes against humanity being committed in Sudan] or all our endeavors will be unworthy…We must act." We therefore call on people of conscience everywhere to take any and all actions permitted by each individual's or organization's abilities and constraints to:

  • encourage worldwide efforts to stop the displacement and end the crimes against humanity
  • demand massive worldwide governmental humanitarian support and access to match the need
  • help in the relief efforts by supporting organizations giving aid
  • promote efforts to rebuild villages and return the displaced
  • call for a UN Commission of Inquiry to investigate war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide

This statement is hereby signed and endorsed by the leaders of faith-based, humanitarian and human rights organizations joining together as the Save Darfur Coalition.

Tommy Calvert
American Anti-Slavery Group

Tony Hileman
American Humanist Association

David A. Harris
American Jewish Committee

Ruth W. Messinger
American Jewish World Service

Dr. William F. Schulz
Amnesty International USA

Barbara B. Balser
Abraham H. Foxman
Anti-Defamation League

Archbishop Khajag Barsamian
Bishop Vicken Aykazian
The Armenian Church of America

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf
ASMA Society: American Sufi Muslim Association

Reverend David Beckmann
Bread for the World

Reverend Alan Senauke
Buddhist Peace Fellowship

Arsalan Iftikhar
CAIR: Council on American-Islamic Relations

Norman L. Epstein M.D.
CASTS: Canadians Against Slavery and Torture in Sudan

Rabbi Paul J. Menitoff
Central Conference of American Rabbis

Dr. John Eibner
Christian Solidarity International

Faith J. H. McDonnell
Church Alliance for a New Sudan, Institute on Religion and Democracy

Reverend John McCullough
Church World Service

Aaron M. Knight
Citizens for Global Solutions

Rabbi Marla J. Feldman
Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism

Mansour Kane
The Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Mauritania

Reverend Ronald D. Witherup, SS
Reverend Ted Keating, SM
Reverend Stan De Boe, OSST
Conference of Major Superiors of Men

James S. Tisch
Malcolm Hoenlein
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations

Suliman Giddo
Darfur Peace and Development

Reverend Jeffrey Haggray
District of Columbia Baptist Convention

Rabbi Saul J. Berman

Edward W. Stowe III
Friends Committee on National Legislation

Adam Taylor
Global Justice

Naim Baig
Mohammed Tariq Rahman
ICNA: Islamic Circle of North America

Gareth Evans
International Crisis Group

Sharon Cohn
International Justice Mission

Lavinia Limon
IRSA/USCR: Immigration and Refugee Services of America/U.S. Committee for Refugees

Dr. Fatten El-Komy
Omar Moad
Islamic American Relief Agency

Felice D. Gaer
Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights

Marie Abrams
Hannah Rosenthal
Martin Raffel
Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Joyce Neu
Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice

Constance Phelps, SCL
Carole Shinnick, SSND
Marie Lucey, OSF
Leadership Conference of Women Religious

Kathryn Wolford
Lutheran World Relief

H. Eric Schockman, Ph.D
MAZON: A Jewish Response To Hunger

Mahdi Bray
Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation

Reverend Richard Cizik
National Association of Evangelicals

Reverend Anthony Evans
National Black Church Initiative

Reverend Robert Edgar
Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos
National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA

Dr. Robert C. Henderson
National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States

Anne Curtis
Maureen Fenlon
NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby

David Robinson
Pax Christi USA

Louise Diamond
The Peace Company

Holly Atkinson
Physicians for Human Rights

Reverend Peter Laarman
Progressive Christians Uniting

Daniel Sokatch
Progressive Jewish Alliance

Rabbi Perry Raphael Rank
The Rabbinical Assembly

Rabbi Richard Hirsh
The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association

Rabbi David Saperstein
Mark J. Pelavin
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism

Mohamed Yahya
Representatives of the Massaleit Community in Exile

Ricken Patel
Res Publica

Jim Wallis

Daniel Nagashima
Soka Gakkai International USA Buddhist Association

Sabit Alley
South Sudanese Community in America

Reverend Walter Fauntroy
Joe Madison
Sudan Campaign

Elnour Adam
Sudan Peace Advocates Network

Morris W. Offit
John Ruskay
UJA-Federation of New York

Rabbi Eric Yoffie
Union for Reform Judaism

Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb
Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America

Reverend William G. Sinkford
Unitarian Universalist Association

Charlie Clements
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

Robert Goldberg
Morton B. Plant
Stephen Hoffman
United Jewish Communities

Fr. Michael A. Perry, O.F.M.
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Fred S. Zeidman
Tom A. Bernstein
Sara J. Bloomfield
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Rabbi Jerome Epstein
Mark Waldman
United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism

Avrum Rosensweig
Ve'ahavta: The Canadian Jewish Humanitarian and Relief Committee

Sandra K. Krause
Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children

Shelley Lindauer
Women of Reform Judaism

Richard M. Joel
Yeshiva University

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