Press Release ● Foreign Affairs
For Immediate Release: 
September 22, 2004
Contact Info: 
Stacey Farnen

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement this evening after speaking on the House Floor earlier in support of a House resolution calling for the suspension of Sudan's membership on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights:

“The international community can no longer avert its eyes from the humanitarian and human rights catastrophe that is occurring in the Darfur region of Sudan today.

“For this reason, I support the House Resolution to suspend Sudan’s membership on the U.N. Commission on Human Rights and I would also call on the United Nations to suspend Sudan from membership in that world body until the genocide has stopped and that nation is deemed worthy of full membership in the international community.

“Secretary of State Powell has labeled the killings in Darfur as ‘genocide,’ pointing out that the attacks on innocent men, women and children by the Sudanese government and the Arab militia group called the Janjaweed are part of a ‘coordinated effort, not just random violence.’

“The United Nations calls the situation the ‘world’s worst humanitarian crisis.’  An estimated 30,000 civilians have been murdered.  More than 400 villages have been destroyed.  One million people have been displaced.  And 130,000 have fled to neighboring Chad.  And still, the international community stands on the sidelines.

“Inaction in the face of genocide is not an option.  The international community, and the United States, must be prepared to act to end the armed conflict at the heart of this crisis.  Regrettably, the UN’s record of responding to crises of this type and magnitude – notably in Rwanda and the Balkans – has been shameful.  Didn’t the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Rwandans 10 years ago teach us anything?  Doesn’t the painful memory of our inaction then compel a different response today?

“This Resolution, by itself, will not defuse the crisis or stop the bloodshed.  But it is a siren call to the world that we can no longer ignore this genocide.  Furthermore, this Resolution is an explicit recognition that it is not only perverse but grotesque that Sudan be allowed to retain its membership on the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. This Resolution would urge our nation’s representatives at the UN to seek the immediate suspension of Sudan from the Commission.”