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“If President Bashir holds to this agreement, it could be a major contribution to curtailing the violence and protecting innocent life.”
Contact: Kate Bigam or Micaela Hellman-Tincher
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WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 13, 2008 – In response to Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir’s offer of a ceasefire in Darfur and promise to disarm militia groups, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
The people of Darfur have faced too many empty promises over their long period of suffering. They have lost their villages, their family members, their dignity and their well-being to this genocide and are living in a perpetual state of fear. The people of Darfur need just and lasting peace, not diplomatic posturing.
We welcome the Sudanese government’s ceasefire offer and plan to disarm militia groups with cautious hope. A number of times in the past, the government has made and broken encouraging promises. If President Bashir holds to this agreement, it could be a major contribution to curtailing the violence and protecting innocent life. We urge rebels to call their own ceasefire, as long as government cessation holds, and for both sides to return to intensive negotiations.
We call upon world leaders to move forward with plans to augment UNAMID forces in Darfur and to use their nation’s resources and diplomats to aid in the realization of justice and peace in Darfur. Wednesday's statement by President Bashir was a promising step, but our efforts must continue until the people of Darfur are safe, peace has come to the region and the perpetrators have been brought to justice. We will never step down from our vigilant watch on those who engage in genocidal activity in our time.