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For Immediate Release

Darfur Advocacy Groups Urge Immediate Obama Administration Leadership to Solve Humanitarian Crisis

Groups: Sudan's decision to restrict flow of aid represents possible prelude to humanitarian catastrophe of highest magnitude

Cambridge, Mass - 03/11/2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Save Darfur Coalition today called on President Obama to press the Sudanese government to immediately reinstate the licenses of 13 international humanitarian groups expelled from Darfur last week. In a letter cosigned by 54 coalition partners, the groups said that the administration should urgently undertake a sustained diplomatic effort to resolve the Darfur crisis and restore peace to all of Sudan.

“We know from your commitment to Darfur as a senator and your campaign pledge of ‘unstinting resolve’ to end the Darfur genocide that you believe the United States and its citizens cannot stand by while civilians are unjustly targeted by their own government,” the groups wrote in the letter. “Now, with millions of lives hanging in the balance, we must act immediately. Any delay will lead to even greater loss of life in Darfur.”

The organizations expelled from Darfur are a part of a humanitarian apparatus that provides relief to 4.7 million Darfuri civilians. It is estimated by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance that their expulsion will leave 1.1 million Darfuris without food aid, 1.5 million without access to healthcare and more than one million without potable water.

“The denial of life-saving food, water and medical care in Darfur is a human rights violation that endangers health and threatens lives,” said Frank Donaghue, CEO of Physicians for Human Rights. “The recent outbreak of meningitis in Darfur’s Kalma Camp is just the beginning of the widespread suffering that the expulsion of humanitarian aid groups will cause.”

The full text of the letter appears below.

March 11, 2009

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC


Dear President Obama,

Darfur demands your attention now.  Millions of lives are at risk, and your direct engagement can not be delayed.

We are a broad coalition of faith-based, human rights and advocacy organizations, and on behalf of our constituencies we implore you to respond immediately to the increasingly urgent situation in Sudan.

As you know, the licenses of over a dozen humanitarian aid organizations have been revoked by the government of Sudan, leaving millions of Darfuri civilians at immediate risk of disease and starvation. You, along with other world leaders, must immediately and publicly condemn President Bashir's actions and insist that he restore access to life-saving humanitarian aid.

We know from your commitment to Darfur as a senator and your campaign pledge of "unstinting resolve" to end the Darfur genocide that you believe that the United States and its citizens cannot stand by while civilians are unjustly targeted by their own government. Since you were elected our president, over 250,000 Americans have signed postcards asking that your administration take swift and strong action to end the genocide in Darfur. Now, with millions of lives hanging in the balance, we must act immediately. Any delay will lead to even greater loss of life in Darfur.

The Sudanese government's decision to restrict the flow of humanitarian aid to Darfur represents the possible prelude to a humanitarian catastrophe of the highest magnitude. The 13 organizations that had their licenses revoked are some of the largest international aid groups in Darfur and sustain an apparatus that provides the last remaining lifeline for 4.7 million conflict-affected Darfuri people.

The time is now for the United States to immediately undertake an urgent, sustained diplomatic push to resolve the conflict in Darfur, including the reopening of humanitarian access.  Sudan's recent actions reinforce the need to appoint a full-time Sudan envoy with the stature, mandate and authority to drive all aspects of Sudan policy.

We are counting on your leadership, President Obama. But more importantly, so are the people of Darfur.


Sincerely,


Jerry Fowler
President
Save Darfur Coalition

CC: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Ambassador Susan Rice


Rabbi David Saperstein
Director
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
 
Mark Hanis
Executive Director
Genocide Intervention Network
 
Rabbi Steve Gutow
President and CEO
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
 
Ruth Messinger
President and CEO
American Jewish World Service
 
Frank Donaghue
Chief Executive Officer
Physicians for Human Rights
 
Reverend William G. Sinkford
President
Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations
 
John Norris
Executive Director
ENOUGH Project
 
Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos
Sr. Program Director for Faith & Order and Interfaith Relations
National Council of Churches USA
 
Aram Hamparian
Executive Director
Armenian National Committee of America
 
Bryan Ardouny
Executive Director
Armenian Assembly of America
 
Helen Fein
Executive Director
Institute for the Study of Genocide
 
Don Kraus
CEO
Citizens for Global Solutions
 
Abraham H. Foxman
National Director
Anti-Defamation League
 
Jill Savitt
Founder
Genocide Prevention Project
 
Rabbi Jeffrey A. Wohlberg, President
Rabbi Leonard D. Gordon, Social Action Chair
Rabbi Marion Shulevitz
Rabbinical Assembly
 
Rev. David Emmanuel Goatley, Ph.D.
Executive Secretary-Treasurer
Lott Carey Convention/Lott Carey International
 
Tzivia Schwartz-Getzug
Executive Director
Jewish World Watch
 
Rabbi Marla Feldman
Director
Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism
 
Shelley Lindauer
Executive Director
Women of Reform Judaism
 
E. Robert Goodkind
Chair, JBI Council.
Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights
 
Mahmoud Braima
President
Darfur Association in the USA, Birmingham, AL
 
Mohamed Adam Yahya
Founder and Executive Director
Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy
 
Marie Dennis
Director
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns
 
Elise Klein
President
Teachers Against Prejudice
 
Bill Andress
Moderator
Sudan Advocacy Action Forum
 
Martina W. Knee
Member, Executive Committee
San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition
 
Eric Cohen
Investors Against Genocide
 
Susan Morgan
Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur
 
Abdelbagi Jibril
Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre
 
Sharon Silber
US Representative
Society for Threatened Peoples
Jews Against Genocide
 
Nancy Walsh and Gloria Crist
DarfurMetro
 
Eileen B. Weiss
Co-Founder
NYC Coalition for Darfur
 
Jimmy Mulla
President
Southern Sudanese Voice for Freedom
 
James Rucker
Executive Director
ColorOfChange.org
 
Elgasim Salih
President
World Relief Organization
 
Jessica Trubowitch
Director, Legislative Affairs and Intergroup Relations
Jewish Community Relations Council of the San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, Sonoma, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties
 
Kathryn Harrison
Executive Director
Darfur Alert Coalition
 
Joe Carson
Affiliation of Christian Engineers
 
Shrikumar Poddar
Mayurika Poddar
India Foundation, USA
 
K. S. Sripada Raju
International Service Society
 
Amin Tejani
ARC, Lansing, Michigan
 
Devesh Poddar
Washington Watch Inc.
 
Barbara Thomas
Annapolis Friends Meeting
 
Josh Pasek
Chair
Young Democrats of America Jewish Caucus
 
Nikki Serapio
Director
Americans Against the Darfur Genocide
 
Eric Fusfield
B'nai B'rith International
 
Bob Brousseau
Kentuckiana Interfaith Taskforce on Darfur
 
Michael Neuroth
Policy Advocate on International Issues
United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
 
Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus
President
Rabbi Steven Fox
Executive Vice-President
Central Conference of American Rabbis
 
Michael Lucero
Founder
I Stop Genocide
 
Gerri Miller
Dear Sudan
 
David Rosenberg
Coordinator
Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition
 
Gabriel Stauring and Katie-Jay Scott
Stop Genocide Now


About the coalition: The Save Darfur Coalition – an alliance of more than 180 faith-based, advocacy and human rights organizations – raises public awareness about the ongoing genocide in Darfur and mobilizes a unified response to the atrocities that threaten the lives of people throughout the Darfur region. The coalition’s member organizations represent 130 million people of all ages, races, religions and political affiliations united together to help the people of Darfur. For more information on the coalition, please visit SaveDarfur.org. To obtain footage from the Darfur border region, coalition events, various interviews, and more, please visit the Save Darfur Coalition media gallery at Media.SaveDarfur.org. All footage may be previewed in non-broadcast quality and may be purchased in broadcast quality by filling out the purchase request form provided on the site.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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