WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today in support of Darfur-related legislation on the House Floor today:
“Today the House is considering three critically important resolutions related to the world’s worst ongoing humanitarian disaster – the genocide in Darfur, Sudan.
“The first is H.Res.573, which recognizes and commends the efforts of U.S. advocacy groups to raise awareness about and help end the worsening crisis in Darfur. These groups remind us daily, through their media campaigns and grassroots efforts, that the international community has a responsibility to unite and stop crimes against humanity -- and that we must learn from past failures to do so – in Rwanda, Bosnia, and elsewhere.
“The second is H.Res.740, which condemns the brutal attack on African Union peacekeepers that occurred in Haskanita, Darfur one month ago today. This violent act, carried out by rebels, took the lives of 10 peacekeepers – seven Nigerians and three other soldiers from Mali, Senegal, and Botswana.
“Finally, the House will vote today on H.Res.726, a resolution calling on the President and the international community to take immediate steps to respond to and prevent acts of rape and sexual violence against the most innocent of Darfur’s victims – young girls and women. I was asked to cosponsor this important resolution by my friend and colleague Brad Miller, who traveled with me to Darfur in April.
“It is very important that the U.S. House of Representatives put itself on record with these resolutions – as an institution that will not stand idly by while the world’s worst humanitarian disaster continues to unfold. While these resolutions are not a panacea to the heart-rending conflict in Darfur, we know from experience that continual pressure on those who take part in such violent, inhumane actions brings us closer to a solution.
“That solution must be multi-faceted. It includes not only full and speedy implementation of the United Nations/African Union hybrid peacekeeping force, but also international support for a single, unified peacemaking process. I am extremely disappointed to learn that multiple rebel leaders have chosen violence over peace and declined to participate in the current talks in Libya, but I am hopeful that the representatives that are there – including the representatives of the Government of Sudan – will make progress toward a ceasefire and a viable political solution for this ravaged land. Finally, and equally importantly, a solution in Darfur must include a sustained and secure role for the courageous humanitarian workers, who risk their lives daily because they are so committed to alleviating the suffering of their fellow human beings.”