U.S. Bishop Urges Action on Darfur Crisis

Calls on World Community to Pressure Sudanese Government

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WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 21, 2005 (Zenit.org).- The United States and the international community must do more to bring an end to the ongoing crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan, says a U.S. bishop.

Bishop John Ricard, the chairman of the U.S. episcopate’s International Policy Committee, made that statement in urging support for a «National Day of Action for the People of Darfur.»

«The crisis in Darfur must be ended,» said Bishop Ricard, of Pensacola-Tallahassee, in a statement.

The National Day of Action for Darfur, observed today, was organized by the Save Darfur Coalition, whose members include the U.S. bishops’ conference.

«Hundreds of thousands of lives have been lost,» said Bishop Ricard in his statement, «and more than 2 million people face food and other insecurity as they languish in camps for the internally displaced or in refugee camps in neighboring Chad.»

«On this National Day of Action,» he continued, «we urge continuing pressure by the international community, including the African Union, on the government in Khartoum, the Janjaweed militias and the rebel forces to cease military operations and provide safe corridors for the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance.

«We call upon the U.S. Congress to enact the Darfur Accountability Act so that the African Union peacekeeping force might be expanded and given a stronger mandate to protect innocent civilians. The International Criminal Court should also be assisted in bringing to justice those accused of war crimes and genocide in Darfur.»

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