USUN press release # 142 July 30, 2004
For immediate release
Statement by Ambassador John Danforth, US Representative to the United Nations, on the Resolution Addressing the Situation in the Sudan, in the Security Council, July 30, 2004
Thank you, Mr. President.
For years, a number of nations in Africa, Europe and North America have worked hard to encourage a peace process in Sudan . We hoped for a country that would be a model of ethnic reconciliation. We anticipated helping Sudan build its infrastructure, allowing it to develop its resources and agricultural potential. The last thing we wanted to do was lay the groundwork for sanctions.
But the government of Sudan has left us no choice. It has done the unthinkable. It has fostered an armed attack on its own civilian population. It has created a humanitarian disaster. So the resolution just adopted is our necessary response if we are to help save the people of Darfur .
Actions of the government of Sudan and its Jingaweit proxies have led to 30,000 deaths in Darfur since February 2003. They have caused more than one million people to flee their homes, some 200,000 having crossed the border into Chad . Perhaps 300,000 more people face death by hunger and disease in the next six months. Even if the violence stopped today, it would take 15 months before new crops could be raised and harvested.
The responsibility for this disaster lies squarely on the government of Sudan . To suppress a rebel uprising begun in early 2003, the government commenced a campaign of terror against innocent civilians. Government aircraft bombed villages. Exploiting an ancient rivalry between Arab African herdsmen and groups of largely black Africans who are farmers, the government armed the Jingaweit militia and unleashed them against black civilians.
The Jingaweit followed the government aircraft, burning villages, destroying crops, murdering men and raping women. Rape has been a principal tactic of the Jingaweit. Congressman Frank Wolf of Virginia showed me the statement of 44 women of the Teensh region who had been raped just days before his visit to Darfur .
Darfur is not an isolated example of the government of Sudan 's practice of arming militias and encouraging them to attack civilians. In the late 1990s and early in this century, it used the same tactic in an effort to depopulate the oil producing part of the country, arming militia, who then attacked civilians and plundered and burned villages.
Some say that we should give the government of Sudan more time before we pass this resolution. The United States does not agree. On July 3, the government issued a Joint Communiqué with the Secretary General. That was nearly four weeks ago.
In the joint communiqué, the government of Sudan committed itself to numerous specific actions focused on humanitarian assistance, on human rights, on security, and on political settlement of the conflict in Darfur .
The government promised to deploy "a strong, credible and respected police force in all IDP areas." It has not kept this promise.
The government promised to ensure that no militias are present in all areas surrounding IDP camps. It has not kept this promise.
The government promised that it would start immediately to disarm the Jingaweit. It has not kept this promise.
The government promised to ensure that immediate action would be taken to rebuild the confidence of the people of Darfur . It has not kept this promise.
Twenty-seven days have passed since the government of Sudan made its solemn commitments to the Secretary General. While precise numbers are difficult to ascertain, the latest World Health Organization estimates suggest that between 240 and 440 people are dying every day as a result of this conflict. That means that up to 11,000 people have died since the July 3 communiqué, and more people die every day that the government stonewalls the international community. It is time to start the clock ticking on the government of Sudan .
The resolution just adopted calls on the government of Sudan to do all in its power to facilitate humanitarian relief. It endorses the deployment of international monitors and a protection force. It imposes an arms embargo specifically focused on Darfur . And it provides a monthly progress-monitoring mechanism, with the prospect of sanctions if the government of Sudan fails to fulfill its commitments. It calls for the government of Sudan to work with the Special Representative of the Secretary General, Mr. Jan Pronk, to investigate human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. The resolution, in stern and unambiguous terms, puts the government of Sudan on notice that it must fulfill the commitments it made on July 3. Sudan must know that serious measures - international sanctions - are looming, if the government refuses to do so.
Jan Egeland, the Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, has said that without international pressure, the Government of Sudan would not have allowed increased humanitarian access to Darfur . The Government of Sudan has not provided security without which people seeking and giving aid would only be targets for the Jingaweit. Without pressure, it will not do so. This resolution applies that pressure.
Many people who are concerned about Darfur would say that this resolution does not go far enough. Last week, the Congress of the United States passed resolutions referring to the atrocities in Darfur as genocide. Many people would want us to do the same. Perhaps they are right. But it is important that we not become bogged down over words. It is essential that the Security Council act quickly, decisively, and with unity. We need to fix this humanitarian problem now.
The resolution, while not labeling the present situation in Darfur as genocide, does explicitly condemn "acts of violence...with an ethnic dimension." The resolution anticipates sanctions against the government of Sudan if the regular monthly reporting cycle reveals a lack of compliance. The resolution gives the government of Sudan one small window of opportunity to improve the situation dramatically in days and weeks, not months or years.
The purpose of this resolution is to relieve the suffering of Darfur, not to punish Sudan . Indeed, the hope of my government, and I am sure, of every member of the Council, is that Sudan fulfills its potential as a peaceful and stable nation, with diverse people living together in peace. The choice is up to the government of Sudan .
It may be the case that the government of Sudan thinks that time is on its side, that with the passage of time, other crises will supplant Darfur on the world stage. It may be that the government of Sudan thinks that our attention will be fleeting, and that it can soon continue with its business in Darfur free from action by the community of nations.
This resolution guarantees that Darfur will be before the Security Council and before the world next month, and the month after that, and for as long as it takes to ensure that the people of Darfur will live in peace.
Thank you, Mr. President.