.- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has urged President George W. Bush and congressional leaders to work with greater urgency to help end the humanitarian disaster in Darfur. Yesterday, September 17th, marked the worldwide Global Day for Darfur.
“While the security situation continues to deteriorate in Darfur, the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the 2.5 million who have fled their homes and the million more at risk of starvation has become a deadly challenge. A dozen aid workers have lost their lives since June,” said Bishop Thomas Wenski in a statement, issued Sept. 15.
“With as many as 400,000 dead, we also renew our call to the administration to redouble its efforts to end the intolerable moral and humanitarian crisis in Darfur through sustained, high-level engagement that will ensure the compliance of the Sudanese government with its obligations under international law,” he continued. Bishop Wenski serves as chairman of the bishops’ Committee on International Policy.
The U.S. bishops also said they support a resolution authorizing a United Nations mission to take over and build upon the inadequately equipped and understaffed peacekeepers from the African Union.
The appointment of a “special envoy who could focus diplomatic energies on attaining a comprehensive and lasting solution to the conflict,” Bishop Wenski said, would also be an effective step forward.
The bishop noted that while a peace agreement signed by the Sudanese government and one of the rebel groups in May offered hope that the conflict could end, Sudanese authorities have opposed a resolution to replace the African Union peacekeepers with a UN mission.
The USCCB is a member of the Save Darfur Coalition, an alliance of over 170 faith-based, advocacy and humanitarian organizations dedicated to raising public awareness about the ongoing crisis in Darfur.