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Human Rights First Press Release

19 Jun

uman Rights First Press Statement www.humanrightsfirst.org

Contact: Krista Minteer, (212) 845-5207/ MinteerK@humanrightsfirst.org

For immediate release, June 19, 2008

Rights Groups From All G8 Countries, Sudan Call on Nations’ Leaders to Advocate Against Darfur Violence at July Summit

NEW YORK, June 19, 2008 – An international coalition of over 40 nongovernmental organizations from all eight countries represented by the G8 called today on their nations’ leaders to forcefully advocate for concrete and immediate steps to end the crisis in Darfur.

In an open letter sent today, the coalition, which is led by Human Rights First and includes nongovernmental organizations from Sudan itself and from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States, called on G8 leaders to insist on specific measures to address the Darfur crisis in the outcome statement issued at the end of the July summit in Hokkaido, Japan. These measures include the cessation of violence, the immediate deployment of the peacekeeping force (UNAMID), a halt to all arms transfers to Darfur, a recommitment to peace processes, and justice and accountability for atrocities committed.

“The crisis in Darfur takes a break for nothing, including the G8 meetings. These leaders have the responsibility to use their influence to pressure both Sudan and its partners whose actions or support fuel the violence,” said Betsy Apple, director of the Crimes Against Humanity Program at Human Rights First.

“The time for more hand wringing is well past. G8 members should issue a clear and unequivocal statement that they will put their full weight behind ending the crisis in Darfur,” she added.

The coalition is calling for a stronger, more specific statement than one issued during last year’s summit to include issues such as the flow of arms into Darfur. The G8 summit provides an opportunity to urge states to stop all arms transfers to Darfur in violation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1591 which imposed an arms embargo prohibiting all countries from shipping weapons that go directly or indirectly to Darfur. China is the largest provider of small arms to Sudan.

The coalition also seeks to address the violence in the region, through both increased peace efforts in Darfur and a recommitment to the North/South Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Finally, recognizing that peace and justice are interrelated, the coalition wants the G8 to unequivocally stand for justice and accountability for atrocities committed by parties to the conflict.

“Efforts to establish peace have failed – violence is on the rise. Nobody is abiding by agreed terms, and nobody is being held accountable,” said Amir Mohamed Suliman, Chairperson of the Sudan-based Khartoum Center for Human Rights & Environmental Development.

The coalition members include:
Canada: Canadians Against Slavery and Torture in Sudan, Save Darfur Canada, STAND Canada.
France: Collectif Urgence Darfour, Fédération Internationale des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH).
Germany: Darfur-Hilfe Verein e.V, Society for Threatened Peoples.
Italy: Comitato Collaborazione Medica (CCM), Italians for Darfur, Missionari Comboniani, No Peace Without Justice.
Japan: Human Rights Now, Japanese for Darfur.
Russia: Center for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights, The Institute of Human Rights, The Moscow Helsinki Group.
Sudan: Khartoum Centre for Human Rights and Environmental Development, Sudan Social Development Organization.
United Kingdom: Aegis Trust, International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), Sudan Organization Against Torture.
U.S.A.: American Jewish World Service, Americans Against the Darfur Genocide, Buddhist Peace Fellowship, Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness and Action, Darfur Action Group-Northwest Bronx/Yonkers, Darfur Metro, Dream for Darfur, ENOUGH,Essex County Coalition for Darfur,Genocide Intervention Network, Genocide No More-Save Darfur, Humanity United, Investors Against Genocide, Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA), Jewish World Watch, Jews Against Genocide, New York City Coalition for Darfur, Physicians for Human Rights, San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition: Darfur Peace and Development, SaveDarfurWashingtonState, STAND, Stop GENOCIDE Now, Team Darfur, Westchester Darfur Coalition.

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Human Rights First is a leading human rights advocacy organization based in New York City and Washington, DC. Since 1978, we have worked in the U.S. and abroad to create a secure and humane world –advancing justice, human dignity, and respect for the rule of law. All of our activities are supported by private contributions. We accept no government funds. Visit our web site: http://www.humanrightsfirst.org

Human Rights First
333 Seventh Ave., 13th Flr, New York, NY 10001
Tel: (212) 845-5200 Fax: (212) 845-5299
www.humanrightsfirst.org

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