Over 100 Members of Congress Write to President Jintao on Sudan


Today, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer joined over 100 Democrats and 20 Republicans in signing a bipartisan letter to President Hu Jintao of China, urging him to do more to end the conflict in Sudan and stop the Sudanese government’s obstruction of peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts.

Full text of the letter (pdf):

February 12, 2008

His Excellency Hu Jintao
President, People's Republic of China
c/o His Excellency Zhou Wen Zhong
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Embassy of the People's Republic of China
2300 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20008

Dear Mr. President:

We are writing to once again express our grave concern regarding the continuing atrocities taking place in the Darfur region of Sudan, and to urge you to use your significant influence with the government of Sudan to ensure that it ends its ongoing obstruction of peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts to protect civilians and restore a basic level of stability to the region. Without a much stronger effort from the government of the People's Republic of China (PRC) to convince the government of Sudan to end its obstruction, the real though limited progress made during the past year will be undone, and the possibility of an expanded regional crisis beyond Darfur's borders will continue to grow.

The crisis in Darfur, which for nearly five years has been fueled in large part by the government of Sudan's armed forces and its proxy Janjaweed militias, has already displaced over 2.5 million Darfurians, including over 140,000 in 2007, and has cost hundreds of thousands of lives. As the conflict continues and battles between the Sudanese army, its Janjaweed militias, and the ever-growing number of rebel factions intensify, the field of conflict has expanded to include additional areas of Chad, the Central African Republic, and Sudanese states to the east of Darfur such as Kordofan.

Millions of Sudanese civilians living in villages and in camps for the internally displaced suffer the consequences of the ongoing violence, as do local and international aid workers. This also imperils the basic food, medicine, and assistance on which most of these civilians depend for survival. The absolute need for the civilian protection and a basic level of humanitarian operational security has never been clearer.

We welcomed, therefore, the unanimous passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1769 on July 31, 2007, authorizing the United Nations — African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID). We note with gratitude the leading role the PRC played in securing the government of Sudan's commitment to the UNAMID mission, and further note the presence of Chinese military engineers deployed as part of that mission.

Yet, despite that unanimous commitment of the UN Security Council, the UNAMID mission is in danger of failure, according to recent statements by UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Marie Guehenno. This is due in large part to the government of Sudan's efforts to weaken and delay the mission. The government of Sudan continues to block the full deployment of UNAMID by refusing to formally approve a UN-submitted list of potential troop contributors; by refusing all additional “non-African” troops, thus violating the letter and intent of Resolution 1769; by refusing to lease suitable land for use as UNAMID bases in Darfur, by demanding unreasonable and unprecedented terms in the Status of Forces Agreement; and by outrageously attempting to impose a nighttime curfew on UNAMID operations. In the latest egregious act, the government of Sudan's Armed Forces itself attacked a UNAMID convoy on the night of January 7, 2008.

If such actions by the government of Sudan are allowed to continue, the resulting failure of UNAMID to achieve even a fraction of its mandate will call into question both the ability and the intent of the Security Council in general and the PRC in particular to follow through on the terms of Resolution 1769.

As the party which presided over and was instrumental in achieving the unanimous vote on Resolution 1769, the PRC bears a special responsibility to ensure that the UNAMID mission is fully deployed as agreed to by all parties on July 31, 2007. As the government of Sudan's largest trading partner and benefactor, the PRC also enjoys a unique ability to end the government of Sudan's blatant attempts to obstruct and weaken the UNAMID mission.

Unfortunately, the PRC has in recent months shown no willingness to take such action, and has instead reverted to its former role as the government of Sudan's chief protector and apologist at the UN and on the international stage. While the PRC doubled its trade with Sudan and reaffirmed its friendship with the government of Sudan in 2007, it has since August shown no willingness to seriously hold its friend to account. To the contrary, reports from the UN Security Council indicate that the PRC has taken every opportunity to shield the government of Sudan from any attempt to hold it accountable for its willful obstruction of Resolution 1769, and even tried to shield it from the full and rightful condemnation of the Security Council following the January 7 Sudanese Armed Forces' attack on the UNAMID convoy.

We therefore again urge the PRC to impress upon Khartoum the need to honor its commitments to the PRC and to the UN Security Council by ending its obstruction of UNAMID's deployment and operations, ceasing all harassment of humanitarian aid operations in Darfur, and working faithfully towards a political solution by moving ahead with preparations for the legally mandated 2009 national elections.

We further urge the PRC to end its protection of the government of Sudan at the UN Security Council, and to support or at least abstain from any resolution put forward to create consequences via targeted sanctions for its continued obstruction of Resolution 1769. We believe your successful effort to strip sanctions language from Resolution 1769 — sanctions that would have provided clear incentives for Sudan's cooperation with UNAMID — is a main reason why Sudan has taken its obstructionist approach.

Mr. President, our primary objectives remain to protect civilians in Darfur, end the violence, find a just political solution to the conflict, and begin the long path to reconstruction and reconciliation. We remain committed to achieving these objectives, and will continue to work with any in the international community who truly wish to achieve them. We hope China is willing to responsibly do its part by using the tools unique to its close relationship with Sudan. Both history and contemporary public opinion will judge your government on the efforts that you have pursued to stop the perpetrators of genocide and to make common cause with the international community on behalf of the victims of Khartoum's policies.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Gary Ackerman, Tom Allen, Tammy Baldwin, Shelley Berkley, Howard Berman, Sanford Bishop, Tim Bishop, Earl Blumenauer, Leonard Boswell, Bob Brady, Mike Capuano, Christopher Carney, Steve Chabot, Yvette Clarke, Wm. Lacy Clay, Emanuel Cleaver, Jim Clyburn, Howard Coble, Steve Cohen, John Conyers, Joe Courtney, Elijah Cummings, Susan Davis, Peter DeFazio, Diana DeGette, Rosa DeLauro, Lloyd Doggett, Mike Doyle, Keith Ellison, Bob Filner, Virginia Foxx, Barney Frank, Trent Franks, Scott Garrett, Charlie Gonzales, Bob Goodlatte, Al Green, Gene Green, Phil Hare, Jane Harman, Alcee Hastings, Wally Herger, Brian Higgins, Paul Hodes, Rush Holt, Mike Honda, Darlene Hooley, Steny Hoyer, Bob Inglis, Sheila Jackson Lee, Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Patrick Kennedy, Dennis Kucinich, Ray LaHood, Jim Langevin, Barbara Lee, Sandy Levin, Frank LoBiondo, Dave Loebsack, Zoe Lofgren, Nita Lowey, Steve Lynch, Carolyn Maloney, Donald Manzullo, Ed Markey, Doris Matsui, Michael McCaul, Betty McCollum, Thaddeus McCotter, Jim McGovern, Jerry McNerney. Michael McNulty, Kendrick Meek, Michael Michaud, Brad Miller, George Miller, Harry Mitchell, Gwen Moore, Jerry Moran, Jim Moran, Chris Murphy, Jim Oberstar, John Olver, Bill Pascrell, Ed Pastor, Donald Payne, Collin Peterson, Joe Pitts, David Price, Dave Reichert, Ciro Rodriguez, Steve Rothman, Bobby Rush, Tim Ryan, Jim Saxton, Jan Schakowsky, Adam Schiff, Allyson Schwartz, James Sensenbrenner, Joe Sestak, Chris Shays, Heath Shuler, Albio Sires, Pete Stark, Betty Sutton, Ellen Tauscher, Mike Thompson, John Tierney, Chris Van Hollen, Peter Visclosky, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Maxine Waters, Diane Watson, Mel Watt, Henry Waxman, Peter Welch, Frank Wolf, Lynn Woolsey, Albert Wynn, John Yarmuth

On June 5th, the House passed a resolution sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee (CA-09) calling on China to use its leverage to stop genocide in Darfur, and on June 7th the Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing, “Darfur and the Olympics: A Call for International Action.”

Daoud Ibrahaem Hari, a Darfuri refugee who was taken hostage and a translator for journalists including Nick Kristof testified:

Daoud Ibrahaem Hari:
“I took this risk because I want to show the world the tragedies happening to my people. I even went back to Darfur with journalists and some NGOs six times to talk with the victims and hear their stories. I remember interviewing with Nick Kristof of the New York Times, a 14 year-old child soldier of the Janjaweed… who was wounded by the villagers. He told us the government of Sudan had paid them $200 dollars to come destroy this village, and if they succeeded they were paid $700 dollars.”

Tegla Loroupe, a Kenyan Olympic distance runner, world record holder, and United Nations Ambassador of Sport testified:

Tegla Loroupe:
“They should see that the businesses that they deal in Sudan should bring peace but not pain in the eyes oif the children. In the eyes of the poor, that cannot talk. Today I want to ask the Congress that you have to come forth and help, you are the voice of the voiceless, of these people that are suffering. It’s your duty, it’s my duty, it’s the duty for everybody in this House to stand firm and tell the whole world…”

Joey Cheek, an American Olympic Gold Medalist speedskater, testified:

Joey Cheek:
“I think it’s also important to point out that, by choosing to host an Olympics, China in particular looks to use this as their coronation on the world stage. They are an enormously developing nation, they’re going to be a world power, if they’re not yet, very shortly. And you don’t get to host the Olympics, you don’t get to this great event, with all the glow and all the good feelings that come along with it without accepting the responsibility of what you’re proclaiming.”

See the Gavel archives on Darfur >>

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