My Newz 'n Ideas

It is my intent to express my opinion and to discuss current events. Feel free to make suggestions to fields you would like to see covered, and I will consider them. Please leave your name with comments. Thank you. Arabic: عربي.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

HR 3127

It has been too long in coming, but it is finally here.

Thursday, June 30, new legislation on Darfur, the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act (HR 3127), was introduced in the House by Reps. Hyde, Payne, Smith, Lantos, Royce, Tancredo, Wolf, Jackson-Lee, and Capuano. HR 3127 has been introduced by a strong bipartisan coalition in the House. It is expected to be marked up and scheduled for floor action soon after Congress returns from its July 4 recess (July 1-10). Discussions are beginning on a possible Senate companion.

HR 3127 is modeled on previous legislation, the Darfur Genocide Accountability Act (HR 1424), but does not include authorization for the use of force, oil sanctions, or a no fly zone. It does include:

- Sense of Congress language reaffirming the finding of genocide, urging expansion and a stronger mandate for the AU mission; calling on the U.S. to render assistance to efforts of the ICC in Darfur; calling for “additional, dispositive measures” if the AU mission fails to stop the genocide; and calling for appointment of a Presidential Envoy for Sudan;

- Asset and travel sanctions against individuals designated by the President as responsible for atrocities in Darfur (allowing a Presidential waiver);

- Authorization to the Administration to provide assistance to reinforce the AU mission (AMIS), “including but not limited to” logistics, transport, communications, training, command and control, technical, and aerial surveillance;

- Instructions to use the U.S. voice, vote, and influence to advocate NATO reinforcement of AMIS, including assets to deter air strikes against civilians, logistical, transport, communications, training, technical, command and control, aerial surveillance, and intelligence support;

- Denial of entry at U.S. ports to cargo ships or oil tankers engaged in business or trade in the oil sector of Sudan or involved in the shipment of goods for use by Sudan Armed Forces;

- Prohibition of non-humanitarian assistance from countries which violate the military embargo imposed by UNSCR 1556 and 1591;

- Direction to the Administration to pursue passages of a UNSC resolution expanding AMIS, pressing on peace talks, imposing individual sanctions, and calling for suspension of Sudan’s rights and privileges of membership in the General Assembly; and,

- Reporting requirements on sanctions imposed by the Comprehensive Peace in Sudan Act (2004) and on the status of the AMIS mission and U.S. assistance to it.

What about HR 1424?

While other legislation in the House, the Darfur Genocide Accountability Act (HR 1424), had previously received significant support (120 cosponsors) and notable public attention, it had not garnered sufficient bipartisan backing to move forward. Objections by leadership in the House to certain provisions (particularly authorization of use of force and oil sanctions) made clear that HR 1424 would not move forward. Thus, the original sponsors of HR 1424 worked with leadership in the House to craft a bill that would garner strong bipartisan support and move forward while still addressing the key issues of civilian protection, accountability, an end to the violence in Darfur, and a comprehensive peace in Sudan. The result is HR 3127, the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act. While it does not include some of the strongest provisions of HR 1424, it maintains a strong stand on support for the AU mission, including a NATO role; includes a number of individual sanctions and prohibitions; includes a call for cooperation with the ICC (which was not in HR 1424); and requires useful reporting by the Administration on the critical issues of AMIS support and U.S. sanctions. It also maintains a bipartisan coalition on Darfur and ensures legislative action this summer. The new bill, HR 3127, is supported by original sponsors of HR 1424 and Republican leaders.

This is a very important bill to stop the genocide occuring in Darfur. You see, I don't care what your religion, skin color, or social standing is. You have a right life, and to live free.

Your life should be lived by your choice. If you have a faith, then by all means follow those teachings. You should have that freedom, also. Just be careful you are not misled by mere men.

No color in this world can change the fact that we all bleed red. We are equal. Maybe not in thought, but in the right to life. Come on! Someone has to be right and the other wrong, or everyone would be right. That is impossible! lol.

I am glad the Congress finally agreed on something. It's about time, like I said. Genocide was declared in September 2004. It is now July 2005 and thousands more have died.

Five hundred per day. Try living with the knowledge that we could actually have done something to help. Now we can, finally. Have a great day.