HOEFFEL PRAISES POWELL DECLARATION THAT GENOCIDE HAS OCCURRED
Washington, DC (September 9, 2004) - U.S. Rep. Joe Hoeffel (PA-13) today praised Secretary of State Colin Powell for stating for the first time that the humanitarian crisis in Sudan is "genocide". Secretary Powell made the comments in a statement submitted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
For months, Hoeffel has been an outspoken critic of the government of Sudan and has called upon the United Nations and the world community to identify the ethnic cleansing in Sudan as government-supported genocide. He has also urged the United Nations Security Council take action to bring immediate humanitarian relief to the hundreds of thousands of people who are at risk.
In July, Hoeffel and his wife volunteered for arrest during a peaceful demonstration at the Sudan Embassy where he and other protesters demanded that the Sudanese government end its support of the militia who are conducting the ethnic cleansing of Black Africans in the Darfur province.
In August, Hoeffel was joined by 13 House colleagues in writing a letter to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in which Hoeffel urged the UN to take stronger action, including the threat of military action by UN member nations as a last resort, to bring humanitarian relief to over a million innocent Sudanese.
The Unites States this week is circulating a draft resolution at the UN that threatens consideration of sanctions on Sudan's oil industry if the government does not take actions to stop the violence or blocks deployment of African monitors and humanitarian aid.
The following is Hoeffel's statement on Secretary Powell's comments today:
"The crisis in Darfur fits every definition of genocide and I praise and welcome Secretary Powell's comments today. The world must raise its collective voice and act to pressure the Sudanese government to end its support for this unconscionable violence. With Secretary Powell now declaring that genocide has occurred and continues to go on, a strong and respected voice has been added to the chorus.
"However, every day that goes by with no action from the world community thousands more are rendered homeless. Already thousands have died; tens of thousands more will likely die due to famine and disease as a result of the violence; and more than a million have been driven from their homes to await a similar fate.
I continue to urge the United Nations to take strong and meaningful action immediately. The lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent people are at stake."