Friday, September 14, 2007

Darfur Legislative Update

From the FCNL site:

Darfur Legislative Update
September 11, 2007

Congress returned to work last week after a month-long recess. The full Senate passed the State and Foreign Operations appropriations bill (FYO8) on September 6 (the House passed this bill earlier this year) and now the Foreign Ops bill needs to go to conference committee. Both the House and Senate versions of the bill contained hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for Sudan . In addition to completing regular FY08 appropriations this fall, Congress is planning to pass an FY08 emergency supplemental that could include additional funds for Sudan.

In this message:
1) UNSC Res. 1769
2) Sudan Divestment Legislation
3) China ’s Special Representative on Darfur in Washington
4) Secretary-General Ban Ki- Moon in Sudan
5) Upcoming Events
6) Recent Reports

1) United Nations Security Council Res. 1769
On July 31, 2007 the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1769 which authorized the establishment of a new joint African Union-UN hybrid peacekeeping mission (UNAMID). Many commentators celebrated this decision as a significant step toward protecting civilians and resolving the crisis in Darfur . AMIS, the current African Union (AU) mission force in Darfur , will be incorporated into UNAMID. Resolution 1769 authorized approximately 27,500 personnel, including military, observers and civilian police components. UNAMID is expected to cost between $2.4 and $2.6 billion a year. When fully deployed, UNAMID will be the largest peacekeeping operation in the world.

But many questions remain unanswered. The UN force will not be fully deployed for many months, leaving the beleaguered AU mission as the only protection force on the ground. The splintering of rebel groups since the May 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA) has made the security situation increasingly precarious. The daily attacks on humanitarian workers and assets have placed the world’s largest humanitarian response in jeopardy – with potentially catastrophic consequences. As the deployment of UNAMID moves forward, a ceasefire and revitalized peace process, including renewed efforts to promote a civil society dialogue, are also urgently needed. Addressing the political, economic and social dimensions of the conflict are crucial to building sustainable peace in Darfur and throughout Sudan .

2) Sudan Divestment Legislation
The Darfur Accountability and Divestment Bill, H.R.180, which would bar federal contracts to companies that do business with the Sudanese government, passed the House on July 31, by a vote of 418-1. After passage, the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, where it has been held up by several Senators. Contact the Global Intervention Network: or Save Darfur: to learn how you can help.

Also, the Sudan Divestment Authorization Act of 2007 (S. 831), legislation introduced by Senator Durbin in March, has been referred to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, but has not yet been considered.

3) China 's Special Representative on Darfur in Washington
China 's special envoy on Darfur was in Washington D.C. in early September to speak with President Bush and lawmakers to explain China 's role in Sudan . Many in the international community have called on China to use its economic influence in Sudan to urge the government to pursue peace in Darfur .

During the week, China 's envoy, Liu Guijin, defended his government's role in Sudan , saying that "western countries who condemn China 's oil interests in Sudan are guilty of hypocrisy." He further stated that the international community needs to be focused on a political dialogue among the parties, alongside support for the AU-UN hybrid force. Read more about Guijin’s visit:;_ylt=AhnDeA7bi_UL07q_Jc6mFmdsaMYA

4) Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in Sudan
Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon met with President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan in early September and in a joint news conference on Sept. 6, 2007, announcing the start of renewed peace talks on Darfur to be held in Libya . The talks will begin on October 27, and will be led by the African Union and UN Special Envoys. The Secretary General urged all parties to commit to cease all hostilities immediately, achieve a political solution to the crisis, create an environment conducive to dialogue, and move forward with negotiations:

5) Upcoming Events
- On September 16, the fourth Global Day for Darfur will be held. Vigils will be held in more than 40 countries in support of implementing UNSC Res. 1769 and moving forward with the peace process in Sudan :

- On September 25, President Bush will attend a high level meeting on African Security, with a focus on Darfur , at the United Nations General Assembly.

- Save Darfur is launching its "Voices from Darfur" speaking tour, which will feature displaced persons from Darfur, throughout the United States this fall. The goal is to remind U.S. citizens that the situation in Darfur remains in a state of crisis:

6) Recent Reports

-The International Crisis Group has recently issued a report entitled, A Strategy for Comprehensive Peace in Sudan . According to the report, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) which brokered a peace in the south in 2005 is dangerously close to collapsing due to neglect by the international community and government sabotage. The CPA is purported to be the way forward for a fair share of national resources, increased economic opportunities for Southern Sudan , and the democratization process. In the end, the report gives several recommendations to all the parties noting that peace in the South is inextricably linked to Darfur . A complete breakdown of the CPA could lead to a war of greater magnitude in Sudan . Access the full report online here:

- Echoes of Genocide in Darfur and Eastern Chad ( This report challenges the argument that Darfur and Eastern Chad are sliding into a “ Somalia – like” chaos. Although groups are splintering and the loyalties of some actors are less clear, the chains of command are still intact and Khartoum is still the main purveyor of violence. Finally, the authors argue, accurate analysis is needed by experts and the advocacy community to ensure that UNAMID’s mission is guided by the facts on the ground.

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