Hoyer, Members of Congress Send Recommendations to President-Elect Obama on Darfur

For Immediate Release:

December 10, 2008

Contact:Stacey Farnen Bernards
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) and 10 Members of Congress sent a bipartisan White Paper on Darfur to President-elect Obama today. This group traveled to Sudan in April 2007. The paper includes five sets of recommendations on restarting the peace process, ensuring continued humanitarian access, helping the peacekeepers be more effective, engaging outside actors like China and the Arab League, and staying committed to the North-South peace process.
 
The White Paper on Darfur can be viewed on the Majority Leader's website. 
 
“Today marks the 60th anniversary of the General Assembly of the United Nations’ adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Majority Leader Hoyer said. “While we commemorate the occasion, we note the tragic irony that in places all over the world, the basic principles in this document are not upheld. One such place is Darfur, where I traveled with 10 colleagues last year.  Today, we’ve joined together once again to send President-elect Obama a series of recommendations on how we can work together to end this horrific conflict and restore peace and security to this troubled region.  We look forward to working with the new President on this important effort.”
 
“I am encouraged by the determination of U.S. leaders in both parties to break through the international stalemate preventing urgent action to stop the continuing tragedy in Darfur.  It is time for responsible nations to resist the narrow interests of a few and come together to stop one of the most appalling humanitarian crises of our times,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL).
 
“I look forward to working with President-elect Obama on the important recommendations we have laid out today in the hope of bringing an end to the violence and suffering in Darfur.  The situation there is clearly one of the worst humanitarian crises in recent times.  It is deplorable that any government would use the systematic dislocation of its own people, and the disease and starvation that inevitably follow, as a weapon – not to mention outright violence and killing.  The United States and the international community must work together to stabilize the situation in Darfur and prevent further genocide,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).
 
“While many challenges confront the new administration, we must make sure the people of Darfur's suffering is not overlooked or set aside," Rep. Jerry Moran (R-KS) said. "The conflict in Darfur has raged for too long. I expect President-elect Obama to devote the necessary time and effort to help bring peace to Darfur.”
 
“The U.S. must be leaders in the peace process in Darfur,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). “President-elect Obama has already stated his commitment to addressing the genocide in Darfur and we in Congress are prepared to work diligently with his administration towards a swift resolution to this dire situation.”
 
“For too long the people of Darfur have suffered from the violence wrought by the Bashir regime and rebel groups.  I am encouraged by President-Elect Obama’s stated commitment to address the crisis in Darfur, and I hope these recommendations will serve as the beginning of a dialogue between Congress and the Obama Administration.  I am determined to keep the promise of sixty years ago: never again,” said Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC).
 
Rep. G. K. Butterfield (D-NC) said that he remains deeply concerned about the continued violence. “This is an urgent crisis that must be addressed immediately with stronger action,” Butterfield said.
 
“It’s been almost two years since my colleagues and I travelled to Darfur, and tragically, the situation hasn’t improved.  We’re in the position to finally enact positive change.  These recommendations are an excellent place to start, and the time to act is now,” said Rep. John Barrow (D-GA).

“In April 2007, my colleagues and I had the opportunity to see the genocide in Darfur first hand, and we left knowing the United States must play a stronger role in ending the cycle of genocide there.  The recommendations listed in this document are the strategies President-elect Obama can take right away to not only advance the peace process, but engage other countries around the world, like China, to intervene in the region.  As leaders, we must recognize and condemn genocide so the world can truly say 'Never Again,’” said Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA).

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