Ann-Louise Colgan

Director for Policy Analysis & Communications

Africa Action

1634 Eye Street NW, #810

Washington, DC 20006

Tel: 202-546 7961 *


.... This open letter to the President highlights the urgency of the ongoing genocide in Darfur, and calls for immediate U.S. action through the United Nations to strengthen the mandate of the African Union (AU) force on the ground and to augment the AU mission with an international intervention force to protect the people of Darfur.

This is a leadership letter, for which we are seeking endorsement from organizations and prominent individuals.  If your organization can sign on, we would like to list both the organization's name and the name of its Executive Director or President.  Where it is not possible for your organization to sign on for reasons of procedure or time, we would like to invite you to sign on in your individual capacity, and your affiliation could be listed for identification purposes only.

The closing date for endorsements is Friday, May 20.  On Tuesday, May 24, [all] original signatories of this letter will host a major media briefing to release the letter and full list of signatories.

Please let me know if you can sign on to this initiative, and thank you for your consideration and support.  If you can help us gather additional sign-ons, these will be much appreciated too!

Many thanks and best regards,

Ann-Louise Colgan

Africa Action

--- Dear President Bush,

In September 2004, your Administration rightfully recognized that the crisis in Darfur constitutes genocide.  Yet the U.S. has failed to respond to this genocide with the urgency that is required.  As the death toll in Darfur continues to mount, it is clear that nothing short of international intervention can protect the people of Darfur. We call on you to assert U.S. leadership to ensure such an international intervention takes place as a matter of the greatest urgency.

Up to 400,000 people have lost their lives in Darfur since the government-sponsored genocide began in 2003.  More than 2.5 million people have been displaced, their livelihoods and villages destroyed by government forces and their proxy militias, and many thousands of women and girls have been raped by these forces.  Recent reports confirm that the government-sponsored violence continues in Darfur, and that the security situation is deteriorating.  The humanitarian crisis that forms part of the genocide is escalating, as the government of Sudan continues to obstruct humanitarian operations, creating famine conditions for millions of vulnerable people.

Mr. President, our most important priority must be providing protection to the people of Darfur.  The African Union (AU) has shown important leadership, and its mission in Darfur is doing what it can on the ground in the face of growing insecurity.  But the AU cannot address this crisis alone, and nor should it have to.  Genocide is an international crime, a crime against humanity, and it requires an international response.

Unless there is an urgent international intervention in Darfur, up to a million people may be dead by the end of this year.  An international intervention is essential to support the AU's efforts, and can achieve four critical purposes:  (1) stop the killing and provide security for millions of internally displaced people (IDPs); (2) facilitate the urgent delivery of humanitarian assistance; (3) enforce the cease fire and provide a stable environment for meaningful peace talks to proceed; and (4) facilitate the voluntary return of IDPs to their land and the reconstruction of their homes by providing a secure environment.

The U.S. is to date the only government that has rightfully recognized that genocide is taking place in Darfur.  We urge you to immediately take the following steps to support an urgent international intervention to stop genocide in Darfur:

First, the U.S. must assert leadership at the United Nations (UN) by circulating a resolution calling for a stronger civilian protection mandate for the African Union mission and for a broader international force under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter.

Second, the U.S. must encourage the UN to quickly approve and assemble a robust international force, under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, to integrate or co-deploy with the African Union and reinforce its efforts.  Such a force can be assembled with troop contributions and financial & logistical support from additional countries within and outside the African continent.

Mr. President, genocide is a unique crime and it requires a unique and urgent response.  We can still save thousands of lives in Darfur if we act now.  We look to you to provide strong leadership to stop the genocide in Darfur by supporting an international intervention force to protect the people of Darfur as a critical first step to bringing peace and stability to this troubled region.

Original Signatories:

Salih Booker Africa Action

Ruth Messinger American Jewish World Service

Nina Bang-Jensen

Coalition for International Justice

Elnour Adam

Darfur Rehabilitation Project

Emira Woods

Foreign Policy in Focus

Mark Hanis

Genocide Intervention Fund

John Heffernan

Physicians for Human Rights

David Rubenstein

Save Darfur Coalition

Eric Reeves

Smith College*

Bill Fletcher, Jr.

TransAfrica Forum

*Affiliation listed for identification purposes only