In the midst of an often contentious campaign season, Senators Hillary Clinton, John McCain and Barack Obama issued a rare joint statement today, deploring the atrocities in the Darfur region of Sudan. Referring to the violence there as “genocide,” the three presidential candidates appealed to the Sudanese government to end the violence, and vowed to make Darfur a priority for the next administration, whoever heads it.
“We stand united and demand that the genocide and violence in Darfur be brought to an end,” they wrote. “If peace and security for the people of Sudan are not in place when one of us is inaugurated as president on January 20, 2009, we pledge that the next administration will pursue these goals with unstinting resolve.”
More that 200,000 people have died and nearly 2.5 million have been displaced in what UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon has called “the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.”
On July 31, 2007, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution authorizing the establishment of a joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force in Darfur. The resolution calls for 20,000 troops and 6,000 police, but to date, there are only about 9,000 people on the ground, tasked with protecting the people of Darfur but restricted by a limited mandate.
This summer, WIDE ANGLE follows General Martin Luther Agwai, commander of the combined UN-African Union peacekeeping force, on a mission as he helicopters into hostile areas to meet with rebel leaders.
The film, Heart of Darfur, premieres on July 1. Check your local listings for the exact time, and check back here for updates.