Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today announced that she would cosponsor legislation to pressure the Sudanese Government to end the genocide in Darfur. Specifically, the bill would authorize U.S. public entities to divest from companies that invest in Sudan or are owned by the Government of Sudan.
Last week, Senator Feinstein also signed a bipartisan letter from 34 senators, urging President Bush to push for a United Nations Security Council vote on multinational sanctions against Sudan.
The following is a statement by Senator Feinstein in support of the Sudan Divestment Authorization Act of 2007 (S. 831), which was introduced by Senator Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) earlier this month.
The text of the bipartisan letter to the President sent last week follows this statement from Senator Feinstein:Four years after the first reports of atrocities in Darfur came to light, the genocide in the region continues unabated.
In a systematic campaign of violence, rape, and ethnic cleansing, orchestrated and actively supported by the Government in Khartoum and carried out by janjaweed militiamen and Sudanese soldiers, hundreds of thousands of people have been murdered, and over two million refugees have been forced to flee their homes.
Today, the Government of Sudan shows no signs of relenting to international pressure. And in clear defiance of the international community, it has even accelerated the pace of the atrocities.
According to the United Nations, over the course of just one month, in February 2007, more than 30,000 refugees were added to the flow of refugees from Darfur.
And as the violence rages on, the entire region is on the brink of disaster.
Already, Sudanese militias have staged raids deep into neighboring Chad, forcing refugees to relocate yet again and placing pressures on the inundated refugee camps in eastern Chad.
The United Nations reports a significant increase in the number of attacks on humanitarian workers near Darfur in recent months, in an attempt to debilitate their critical work and force international aid agencies to withdraw their personnel from the region.
On August 31, 2006, the Security Council adopted Resolution 1706, which approved the deployment of 20,000 UN peacekeepers to Darfur. Yet, to date, the Government of Sudan has refused to abide by this resolution and permit the deployment of UN peacekeepers.
In fact, at every step and every turn, the Government of Sudan has stalled, quibbled, and utterly ignored UN resolutions demanding that it end the genocide.
This situation is unacceptable. It is time for the international community to come together and send an unequivocal message to the leaders of Sudan: end the genocide.
The United States must lead international efforts in this regard. Words and diplomacy will not be enough.
That’s why, I am pleased to cosponsor the Sudan Divestment Authorization Act of 2007 (S. 831), which was introduced by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on March 8.
This critical piece of legislation would authorize federal agencies, states, U.S. territories, public universities, and local governments to take divestment measures against companies operating in Sudan or owned— in part or in whole—by the Government of Sudan.
I urge the Senate to take up and pass this important bill as soon as possible, and I encourage other countries to take similar steps.
In addition, I believe that the UN Security Council must urgently approve strong multilateral sanctions against the Sudanese government and individuals implicated in the Genocide.
On March 22, 2007, I joined Senator Durbin, Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), and 31 of our colleagues in signing a joint letter to President Bush, urging him to press for Security Council approval of multilateral sanctions against Sudan. The letter asks that the United States insist on such a vote, despite veto threats from other Permanent Members, as means of placing effective pressure on the Government of Sudan to end the genocide and forcing other Security Council members to take a clear-cut and public position on this issue.
Standing together, we can bring the genocide in Darfur to an end and begin the difficult process of returning the refugees to their villages, so that they can start to rebuild their lives and homes from the ashes of war.”
Dear Mr. President:
Following is the text of the bipartisan letter to President Bush, urging his support for multinational sanctions against the Government of Sudan:
We write to you as Members of Congress who are deeply concerned about the ongoing genocide in Darfur and equally frustrated by the inability or unwillingness of the international community to put a halt to it. Last August, the United Nations Security Council passed UNSC Resolution 1706 which expanded the mandate of the United Nations Mission in Sudan to include Darfur and stated that over 20,000 military and civilian police personnel were to be deployed as peacekeepers in the region. Over six months have passed and fewer than 200 UN personnel have been deployed because of the Sudanese government's refusal to comply with what the Security Council has authorized.
History demonstrates that Sudan's leadership does not respond to this type of request. We believe that it is time for the Security Council to enact a new resolution, imposing multilateral economic sanctions on the Sudanese government and targeted sanctions on individuals named by the UN Commission of inquiry as being responsible for crimes against humanity.
We recognize that previous U.S.-led efforts to move stronger resolutions at the Security Council have been deterred by the threat of a veto by one or more of the Permanent Members. We frankly urge you to introduce and push for a vote on a resolution imposing multilateral sanctions regardless. Let a country stand before the community of nations and announce that it is vetoing the best effort we can muster to build the leverage necessary to end ongoing mass murder.
There are political risks to advancing this strategy, but we urge you to weigh those risks against the verdict of history if we fail to try. If the Security Council does not act, the United States should engage with our allies to create a coalition that will impose economic penalties on the Sudanese government. The United States has already implemented a number of unilateral sanctions, and we understand that you are considering still more, a development that we would applaud. However, the real key to changing Khartoum's behavior most likely lies in multilateral sanctions, especially those aimed at the Sudanese oil industry.
We encourage you to put this matter before the United Nations Security Council as soon as possible. A threatened veto should not silence us.