A Plan For Action In Darfur And Uganda
"There comes a time when we must say, 'Never again.'" -- John Edwards
Today, two neighboring nations in Africa, Sudan and Uganda, face a pivotal moment right now. The two countries contain the most critical humanitarian crises in the world. John Edwards has outlined steps the United States can take with its NATO allies to help end the genocide in Darfur and to support the peace process in Uganda. With these steps, we can turn the corner in both countries, put the region back on the road to peace and help restore America's moral leadership in the world.
The Genocide in Darfur
Conflict in Darfur, which is in Western Sudan, broke out in 2003 when small farmers took up arms to fight for a greater share of resources. The conflict turned into genocide when the Sudanese government backed the Janjaweed militia, which has brutally raped, tortured and killed 400,000 people and driven two and a half million people from their homes. In addition, the violence and chaos is spreading to neighboring Chad and the Central African Republic.
African Union peacekeeping troops stationed in Darfur have been valiant in a difficult cause. But these troops, which number just 7,000, have been unable to protect civilians or enforce a 2004 ceasefire. In the meantime, security has deteriorated dramatically.
Last November, President Bashir of Sudan finally agreed to allow U.N. peacekeeping troops in the country, which would be deployed in two phases. The first phase was about 200 advisors, who are now in the country. The second was 3,000 peacekeeping forces, who would work with the African Union troops. The 3,000 U.N. troops are the critical link in the chain, and the UN is not moving quickly enough to provide them.
A Comprehensive Plan for U.S. and NATO Action to End the Genocide in Darfur
John Edwards believe we should work with NATO, one of the world's most effective security organizations, to make sure the UN process will be as rapid, tough, and effective as possible. We saw the success of NATO in the Kosovo operation under President Clinton. Its member countries have some of the most accomplished militaries in the world. Edwards called for a combination of U.S. and NATO actions to accelerate the peacekeeping process and the genocide.
* President Bush should reverse his decision to delay new American sanctions on 29 companies owned or controlled by the Sudanese government.
* American airlift capabilities, logistical support and intelligence operations should be deployed to assist U.N. and African Union peacekeeping efforts in Darfur.
* The U.S. should convene within the next 30 days an emergency meeting of NATO's leadership to act on Darfur.
* NATO countries should support the deployment of U.N. troops with logistical, operational, and financial support.
* NATO should establish a no-fly zone over the region, to cut off supplies to the brutal Janjaweed militias and end Sudanese bombing of civilians in Darfur.
* NATO member countries should impose new multilateral sanctions on the Sudanese government as well as individuals complicit in the genocide.
The Civil War in Uganda
Uganda is home to one of the greatest unreported humanitarian crises in the world. Millions of people have been displaced from their homes and subjected to horrific violence. And with the exception of groups like the International Rescue Committee, an organization Edwards traveled with in 2006, most of the world is ignoring this tragedy.
Uganda has been plagued by a long civil war and a rebel army terrorist group called the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Among other things, the LRA abducts children, turns them into soldiers, forces them to commit atrocities, and in some cases, turns them into sex slaves. However, there are signs of progress.
Recently the Ugandan government and the LRA resumed peace talks. The talks are an unprecedented opportunity to end the 21-year war and offer hope to the millions who have been directly affected by the long and deadly conflict in Northern Uganda. The commitment of both sides to return to the meeting table, with the support of Joachim Chissano, the U.N Secretary-General's Special Envoy in Juba, in southern Sudan, is encouraging.
Steps to Support the Peace Process in Uganda
John Edwards believes the United States has both the capacity and the responsibility to support the peace process in Uganda and help end decades of violence that have led to the suffering of millions. Edwards called on President Bush to take the following steps provide clear support for the Juba peace talks:
* Make a clear, unambiguous public statement of support for the Juba Peace Talks and for Special Envoy Chissano's efforts.
* Dispatch a high-level presidential envoy to work with the leadership of Special Envoy Chissano.
* Commit sufficient funds to support the U.N. Juba Initiative Fund.