.- In a letter to congress yesterday. the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops voiced its support for the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, saying that “we cannot stand by while human life is threatened.” Bishop John H. Ricard, S.S.J., Chairman of the USCCB’s Committee on International Policy wrote the letter on behalf of the group, saying that “We believe this legislation will give added momentum to the search for a genuine peace in Darfur and relief for its suffering people.”
The bi-partisan act, introduced in early March, calls on the U.S. and international forces to provide adequate tools to local authorities to stop the mass genocide which has been ongoing in the Darfur region of Sudan.
Senator Jon Corzine (D-NJ), who introduced the bill with Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), said on the senate floor that, “‘Never again’ is the rallying cry for all who believe that mankind must speak out against genocide…Man’s horrific treatment of his fellow man cannot be tolerated. We have no right to stand by while human life is being taken.”
In his letter, Bishop Ricard pointed out that, “Some progress is being made in the implementation of the peace agreement covering Southern Sudan, but the tragic suffering of the people of Darfur continues.”
The bishop, who has traveled to Sudan and Darfur, added that, “Despite the agreement reached at Abuja on July 5, 2005 between the government in Khartoum and rebel forces in Darfur, and the efforts of the international community and the African Union peacekeeping force, the innocent people of Darfur are still suffering from the effects of violent clashes between the Sudanese army and the rebel forces, as well as from the continuing attacks against innocent civilians by the Janjaweed militia.”
“We urge continuing pressure by the international community,” the letter continued, “including the African Union, on the government in Khartoum and the rebel forces to cease military operations.”
“The restoration of public order is essential so that relief and reconstruction efforts can reach all of the people of Darfur. The World Food Program’s prediction that 3.5 million people may require food assistance in Darfur illustrates the urgency and magnitude of the crisis,” Bishop Ricard wrote.
Both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have continually expressed their concern and closeness for the people of the Darfur region calling for an end to the human violations.