Local Group Wants Senators to Act on Darfur before Olympics

by ekramer on August 6, 2008

In the run up to the Olympics, local activists are asking U.S. Senators to urge China to help alleviate the conflict in Darfur, Sudan. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

The Kentuckiana Interfaith Taskforce on Darfur has joined more than 30 human rights organizations calling on Senators John McCain and Barack Obama to co-sponsor a Senate resolution. It asks China to advance diplomatic actions to help cease hostilities in Sudan’s Darfur region.

The resolution calls for an Olympic truce, the idea of suspending fighting during the Olympic Games.

The group also is asking Kentucky’s senators to support the resolution, says taskforce chair Bob Brousseau.

“We’ve held meetings with Senators Bunning and McConnell’s offices and it’s been very cordial and receptive,” Brousseau says. “However, we would like them to exert their influence amongst other senators, especially Senator McConnell.”

China is the primary purchaser of oil from Sudan and sells arms to the African country.

The United Nations reports that 300,000 people have died in Darfur and more than 2.2 million have been displaced since 2003.

Brousseau says that recently violence and suffering have escalated in Darfur.

“Darfur is becoming increasingly inhospitable to people,” he says. “Doctors Without Borders has pulled out. It is the worst place on earth right now in terms of human conditions.”

Last month, the International Criminal Court filed genocide charges against Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir connected to the violence in Darfur.

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