Although the UN has a world food program, recent scandals should make us look carefully at that organization and possibly re-think our role with it.
It would seem that the quickest and most effective thing to do (short of invading Darfur and taking over the government) is an arms embargo and/or sanctions. The effectiveness of those measures is historically questionable and with Russia, China, Pakistan and Arabian governments supporting the Arab regime, it seems as though sanctions and embargos would simply be empty gestures.
There are two measures that Sen. Brownback and Sen. Corzine suggest to begin: urge Secretary of State Rice to travel to Darfur and to support the Darfur Accountability Act:
Approximately one year ago, many of us in the United States began to learn of the atrocities being committed in the Darfur region of Sudan. In June of 2004, the U.S. Congress labeled these acts genocide, international observers began investigating, and aid agencies began received more funds for their relief efforts. Many thought that would be the end of the crisis.
Sadly this was not the case. In January of this year the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur completed their mandate. In their report to the Secretary General, they found that ". . .the impact of the attacks on civilians shows that the use of military force was manifestly disproportionate to any threat posed by the rebels," and were "particularly alarmed that attacks on villages, killing of civilians, rape, pillaging and forced displacement have continued during the course of the Commission’s mandate." While they have yet to find sufficient evidence to use the legal term "genocide" in describing the violence, they concluded "international offences such as the crimes against humanity and war crimes that have been committed in Darfur may be no less serious and heinous than genocide."
How many times have we heard "never again" — in reference to the Holocaust, the Khmer Rouge, Rwanda? Well over 300,000 people are believed to have died as a result of the warfare. Millions have been displaced from their homes, and now face disease, lack of basic necessities, and often the pain and stigma of sexual abuse. And yet even in this late day we are not powerless to act, to help a desperate people avoid further atrocities and the suffering of refugee life.
On March 2nd, Senator John Corzine of New Jersey introduced the Darfur Accountability Act of 2005 to the Senate. This bill would reinforce the American position that genocide is being committed; further, it would seek passage in the United Nations Security Council of measures that would, among other provisions:
Place targeted sanctions on the Government of Sudan and key individuals;
Create a "no-fly zone" over Darfur;
Try suspected perpetrators of crimes against humanity through an international tribunal;
Expand the African Union peacekeeping forces.
We, individual members of the United Religions Initiative (URI), ask that you contact your Senators today and ask them to support swift passage of the Darfur Accountability Act and to support holding trials for crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court. We also suggest that your interfaith organizations and faith groups sign on to the Darfur Unity Statement (www.savedarfur.org), as we have asked the URI Global Council to consider at the next opportunity. Finally, we ask that you support the work of the many aid groups working throughout Sudan, and that you pass this letter on to your organizations’ membership, your friends, and colleagues.
On behalf of the Darfur Action Group,
Stephen A. Fuqua
PS. Further background information and letter-writing suggestions are available at this site online.