The resolution, S. Res. 531
, was introduced in the Senate on Friday. It serves as a powerful statement by a Congress — which two years ago declared the conflict in Darfur, Sudan, to be government-sponsored genocide — that a special envoy is needed to the region to effectively end the unmitigated violence.
“Stopping the genocide in Darfur is a crucial test for the United States and other like-minded nations,” Sen. Lieberman said on Friday. “If we fail to do more to prevent the death and suffering of millions of vulnerable and isolated people, we are turning our backs on the fundamental humanitarian values of our societies, and forgetting the lessons of our history.”
Two Bush administration officials, Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick and White House advisor Michael Gerson, had led Washington’s involvement in the Darfur genocide until they each retired earlier this summer. With a peace agreement signed by the government of Sudan in May quickly unraveling, the administration must appoint a new leader to demonstrate its commitment to ending the genocide.
“We need to stay focused on making sure all parties are faithful to implement the Peace Agreement so that the violence and suffering will end,” Sen. Burns said after introducing the resolution.
The Lieberman-Burns resolution notes the important precedent set by the presidential envoy to Sudan, former Sen. John Danforth, who helped secure peace between the government of Sudan and rebel groups in the country’s 21-year civil war.
“Appointing a special envoy to Sudan demonstrates the United States’ leadership in ending the genocide in Darfur, in living up to our promises of ‘never again,’” says Mark Hanis, executive director of the Genocide Intervention Network. “Even more importantly, it holds the parties in Sudan, especially the government of Sudan, to the agreements they made in May to end the genocide.”
Since the Darfur Peace Agreement was signed in May, the parties involved have exerted minimal effort in enforcing the agreement, with violence continuing to escalate. Recently, the United Nations accused the government of Sudan of painting the militia’s helicopters to match the color of AU and UN peacekeeping vehicles — in clear violation of the agreement.
In addition to Sens. Lieberman and Burns, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was also a leading co-sponsor.
“A special envoy would ensure that the United States provides sustained attention to the situation in Darfur,” Reid said on Friday, “which is crucial to bringing peace to the region.”
Genocide Intervention Network
Director of Communications