WASHINGTON, DC – Speaking yesterday outside the White House before a diverse coalition of genocide-prevention advocates, ANCA Executive Director Aram Hamparian called upon the Administration to take advantage of its presidency of the U.N. Security Council to lead a forceful international effort to end the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan.
Starting on February 1st, the U.S. will, for a month, hold the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council. During this month-long window, the U.S. – as the only government that has declared that genocide is taking place in Darfur – will have a unique opportunity to galvanize the international community behind the urgent actions needed to save the lives of hundreds and thousands of vulnerable people.
“As Americans, we will look back on February of 2006 with either pride or regret,” said Hamparian. “The regret of our shameful indifference to the killing in Darfur, the same cold inaction of our response to past genocides – against Armenians, Jews, Cambodians, Rwandans, and too many others. Or the pride that, during this month, we will have helped create a new, better approach to the international community. An approach that not only saves lives today in Sudan, but that helps re-orient our foreign policy toward saving lives, alleviating suffering, – and in so doing, helps prevent the next genocide.”
A U.N. decision to “re-hat” the Africa Union (AU) mission as a U.N. operation would grant it a strong civilian protection mandate from the international community. The authorization of a U.N. force to be deployed as soon as possible to the region would provide critical support to the AU mission and provide desperately needed security to the people of Darfur.
Among the others speakers at the event, organized by Africa Action, were noted radio personality Joe Madison and Africa Action Executive Director Salih Booker.
ANCA Western U.S. Chairman Question Dan Rather on Poor Media Coverage on Darfur
In a related development, ANCA-Western U.S. Chairman Steve Dadaian publicly raised the Darfur Genocide with longtime CBS Evening News anchor and managing editor Dan Rather at a gathering of over 1,000 attorneys at the Southern California Association of Defense Counsel’s annual meeting in Century City, California. Dadaian asked Rather “why national news programs fail to provide adequate coverage of the ongoing genocide in Darfur,” adding that it is fundamentally wrong for “our country, as a signatory to the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, to label an ongoing event a genocide and then fail to act decisively to stop it and punish those responsible.”
In response, Rather admitted the failure of the mainstream news to provide proper coverage of the Darfur Genocide, explaining that news organizations are often motivated by commercial interests to cover “celebrity topics” instead of meaningful stories like Darfur. He agreed that there has been a “dearth of coverage” about Darfur, and said that the issue should receive greater media attention. Rather made no comment on the U.S.’s international legal obligations relating to genocide.
For more information about Darfur:
1) ANCA Executive Director called for decisive U.S. action to end the Genocide in Darfur at a White House rally organized by Africa Action
2) Armenian Americans joined over 200 genocide prevention activists at the Africa Action White House rally on Darfur.