I was absolutely amazed to check my e-mail and find a reply to a letter I had written to my senator, Edward Kennedy, about my thoughts on Darfur and that the world should be doing more. Here is his reply to me. I did not edit it at all, it’s cut and pasted straight from my e-mail inbox.
Thank you for your letter about the genocide in Sudan. I share your concern over this horrific tragedy. Darfur has been embroiled in this deadly conflict for four years. It is estimated that 400,000 people have been killed. 2 million innocent civilians have been displaced, and more than 3.5 million men, women, and children are relying on international aid to survive. Despite the ceasefire agreement between the Sudanese government and the rebel forces, the violence continues. A negotiated peace settlement is urgently needed.
In order to bring about change in Sudan, I have co-sponsored the Darfur Accountability Act of 2007, which will impose sanctions against the perpetrators of crimes against humanity in Darfur. This legislation will amend the Genocide Convention Implementation Act by allowing prosecution of non-U.S. citizens for genocide committed outside the U.S. I am also a co-sponsor of the Sudan Divestment Act of 2007, which permits the states to divest their assets in order to oppose the policy of the Sudanese government.
The Bush Administration and Congress agree that the violence in Darfur meets the definition of genocide. With international pressure, the Darfur Peace Agreement was signed in May 2006 between the government of Sudan and the rebels. The United Nations has passed resolutions to hold individuals criminally and financially responsible for the human rights violations, and has established a United Nations peacekeeping mission to support the peace agreement. Recently Congress approved legislation to provide humanitarian assistance to the people affected by the crisis and to support the efforts of the African Union to halt the genocide. I hope that these measures will have an immediate impact, and I intend to do all I can to see that Congress continues to provide as much assistance as possible.
Thank you for contacting me on this issue. An immense tragedy continues to take place in Darfur, and our nation and the global community should be doing much more to end the violence once and for all.
Edward M. Kennedy