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In Loving Memory of Sr. Bea

          

                For Immediate Release

July 10, 2002

The Honorable Colin Powell
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC 20050

  

Dear Secretary Powell:

  

On 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 peace.

 

I 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 beings.

 

Humanitarian 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.

                                       

Though 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.

 

Over 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.

 

It 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.

 

We implore your immediate action for the oppressed, burden, and broken of Sudan.

 

Sincerely,

                   Rev. Fr. James E. Goode, OFM, Ph.D.
                        President, National Black Catholic Apostolate for Life
                        Immediate Past President, National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus
                        Guardian, St. Clare Friary, New York City

 

cc:   Bishop J. Terry Steib, SVD, DD, Bishop of Memphis
        Episcopal Advisor, NBCAL

       Rev. Fr. Chester P. Smith, SVD,
        President, National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus

For more information contact:  
NBCAL at St. Clare Friary NYC
212 594-4108 E-Mail: TNBCAL@aol.com