For Immediate Release
July 10, 2002
Honorable Colin Powell
behalf of the National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life Board of Consultants,
and the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, I bring you our greetings and
write to voice our concern for our sisters and brothers in Sudan.
We are dismayed by the failure of the Bush administration to react more
forcefully to humanitarian relief efforts in southern Sudan, the Khartoum’s
bombing of civilians, and to the regime’s ongoing denial of humanitarian aid
access to many hundreds of thousands of innocent women, men, and children in the
southern provinces. Indeed, the
most recent UN estimate for those denied humanitarian aid is 1.7 million human
aid access was addressed in the Danforth Report in terms of “zones and periods
of tranquility.” The phrase is a
cruel joke for the people of southern Sudan, as the National Islamic Front
regime in Khartoum has relentlessly continued to restrict aid access.
All of the Western Upper Nile Province, the oil rich-territory that has
seen such terrible scorched-earth warfare directed against civilians, remains
totally inaccessible to “Operation Lifeline Sudan”.
Hundreds of thousands of displaced people are at acute risk in other
areas because of aid denial by Khartoum.
the report of former Senator John Danforth (April 2002) claimed to have
negotiated an end to attacks on civilians, the number of verified bombing
incidents in June 2002 was higher than at any time since systematic records of
this particular form of atrocity have been kept. Moreover, despite the Danforth Report, there is no evidence
that an effective monitoring force is anywhere near ready to be deployed to
Sudan. The agreement publicized by
Senator Danforth has so far meant nothing.
a year ago, Secretary Powell, you declared “There is perhaps no greater
tragedy on the face of the earth than Sudan.”
But these words ring increasingly hollow for the people of the south,
people who suffer in vast numbers on a daily basis, with no mitigation in sight.
is long past the time that the United States declared Khartoum’s efforts to
destroy the people of the south intolerable.
We must use every forum, every opportunity, and every form of diplomatic
leverage to bring an end to this ghastly human tragedy.
If we do not, we will be making your words a self-fulfilling prophecy.
implore your immediate action for the oppressed, burden, and broken of Sudan.
Fr. James E. Goode, OFM, Ph.D.
Rev. Fr. Chester P. Smith, SVD,
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