WASHINGTON–The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) voiced the Armenian American community’s strong support for a human rights statement, issued earlier Thursday by a coalition of anti-Darfur Genocide groups, calling upon the Obama-Biden Administration to protest the upcoming state visit to Turkey of Sudan’s President, indicted war-criminal Omar al-Bashir.
The four organizations joining together in making this declaration, the Center for American Progress, Enough!, Save Darfur, and Genocide Intervention Network, referencing al-Bashir’s upcoming visits to Ankara and Cairo, stressed the importance of President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton engaging in personal diplomacy at the highest level to ensure that a wanted war criminal does not continue to travel with impunity to the capitals of key U.S. allies. The failure to do so, they noted, would “send a powerful message that the Administration isn’t serious about implementing the Sudan strategy it just announced.”
“We want to thank each of these organizations for their work in demanding clear and determined American leadership in ending the Darfur Genocide,” said Aram Hamparian, Executive Director of the ANCA. “There is today, sadly, no more striking example of how the brutal cycle of genocide and denial feeds upon itself than the growing diplomatic and military relationship between Turkey and Sudan.”
Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir is scheduled to visit Turkey next week to attend a summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC.) Turkish officials announced yesterday that they would not act on an International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant issued against al-Bashir for war crimes.
The Ankara and Khartoum regimes have grown markedly closer over the past two years, with Turkey continuing to supply lethal weaponry to Sudan and increased trade between two the countries.
Read three ANCA memos on the Turkey-Sudan relationship:
Why is Turkey Selling Weapons to Sudan? [February 25, 2009]
Commentary on the Turkey-Sudan Axis of Genocide [February 23, 2009]
Turkey and Sudan [February 18, 2009]
The full text of the joint statement is provided below:
Center for American Progress
Genocide Intervention Network
For Immediate Release
November 12, 2009
Eileen White Read, 202.741.6376
Andrea Clarke, 202.460.6756
Mame Annan-Brown, 202.483.2701
President Bashir Tests New Obama Policy on Sudan
WASHINGTON–With the news that President Omar al-Bashir plans to travel to Turkey and Egypt in the coming days, President Obama faces the first test of his recently announced Sudan policy.
The Enough Project at the Center for American Progress, the Save Darfur Coalition, and the Genocide Intervention Network jointly released the following statement in reaction:
If President Obama and Secretary Clinton are unwilling to engage in personal diplomacy at the highest level to ensure that a wanted war criminal does not continue to travel with impunity to the capitals of key U.S. allies, it will send a powerful message that the administration isn’t serious about implementing the Sudan strategy it just announced.
John Norris, Executive Director of the Enough Project, noted, “For Turkey, a member of NATO and an aspiring member of the European Union, to welcome President Bashir is frankly baffling. If Turkey is truly committed to the values that would make membership of the European Union possible, it should quickly make clear that President Bashir is absolutely unwelcome.”
Jerry Fowler, President of the Save Darfur Coalition, added, “President Bashir’s travel is a test of the administration’s resolve on Sudan. If the President and Secretary of State let it happen without objection, Khartoum will get the message that the newly stated commitment to multilateral leadership is hollow. And for Turkey, it’s an opportunity to align itself with the E.U., most Latin American countries, and the emerging practice in sub-Saharan Africa: Convey to Bashir that he shouldn’t come unless he wants to risk arrest upon landing.”
Sam Bell, Executive Director of Genocide Intervention Network, added, “Given the depth and breadth of U.S. engagement with Egypt, it is striking that the situation in Sudan – and Bashir’s status as a war criminal – don’t appear t be part of the recent conversation among senior officials. How can the administration expect to effectively implement its new plan if it doesn’t make Sudan a top priority?”
The Save Darfur Coalition – an alliance of more than 180 faith-based, advocacy and human rights organizations – raises public awareness about the ongoing genocide in Darfur and mobilizes a unified response to the atrocities that threaten the lives of people throughout the Darfur region. The coalition’s member organizations represent 130 million people of all ages, races, religions and political affiliations united together to help the people of Darfur. For more information on the coalition, please visit www.SaveDarfur.org.
Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on crises in Sudan, Chad, eastern Congo, northern Uganda, Somalia, and Zimbabwe. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. Visit www.enoughproject.org.
About Genocide Intervention Network – Genocide Intervention Network is working to build the first permanent anti-genocide constituency, mobilizing the political will to stop genocide when it occurs.
Accessible online at www.GenocideIntervention.net, Genocide Intervention Network empowers individuals with the tools to stop genocide.