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Supporting Legislation to End the Genocide in Darfur

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SUPPORTING LEGISLATION TO END THE GENOCIDE IN DARFUR -- (Extensions of Remarks - September 27, 2006)

SPEECH OF
HON. MARK STEVEN KIRK
OF ILLINOIS
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2006

* Mr. KIRK. Mr. Speaker, I would like to express my strong support for the three bills under consideration this week relating to the crisis in Darfur, Sudan. These bills, H.R. 3127, the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2006 conference report, H. Res. 723, which calls on the President to take immediate steps to improve the security situation in Darfur, and H. Res. 992, which urges the President to appoint a Presidential Special Envoy for Sudan, all take concrete steps towards ending the genocide in Darfur.

* The situation in Darfur, Sudan is increasingly concerning. Nearly three million Sudanese citizens will require emergency assistance in the next year. Sudanese government forces support Janjaweed Arab militias that commit crimes against humanity, including genocide. More than one million people were driven from their homes since February 2003, while over 150,000 people took refuge in neighboring Chad. The hundreds of thousands of displaced people who remain in the Darfur region are confined to government controlled camps. Using Sudanese government resources, the Janjaweed militias rape, attack and prey upon these helpless victims.

* We must hold the Sudanese government accountable. I commend Representative Henry Hyde (R-IL) for introducing the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act of 2005. I am a cosponsor of this important bill that intensifies sanctions on the Government of Sudan, particularly targeting those responsible for genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity.

* The United States should do more to end the brutal killing and ethnic cleansing of civilians. We must bring war criminals to justice. I was glad to see H.R. 3127, the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act conference report pass the House of Representatives yesterday by voice vote. I urge President Bush to sign this important bill which takes significant measures to bring a lasting peace to this war-stricken region.

* I am also a firm supporter and cosponsor of House Resolution 992, which urges President Bush to appoint a Special Envoy for Sudan. I joined Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA) in sending a letter to the President requesting he appoint a Special Envoy earlier this summer. I was pleased to hear President Bush declare in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly that he is appointing former USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios to be the new Presidential Special Envoy for Sudan. Earlier in my career I worked closely with Mr. Natsios to tackle one of the worst humanitarian crises of the 1990's. Natsios coordinated food aid during the North Korea famine which saved tens of thousands of lives. Mr. Natsios is an experienced diplomat, and I am confident in his ability to coordinate American policy in the region to resolve this conflict.

* Despite the sincere efforts of our government, which has led the international community in providing nearly $440 million in emergency supplemental aid this year, millions of victims continue to live in camps under horrible conditions. Murderous militias continue to slaughter innocent civilians. We have a duty to bring an end to this humanitarian crisis. I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting these bills that demonstrate America's leadership in defense of those who need our help the most.

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