NEWS from the National Council of Churches, USA
Contact NCC News Service: 212-870-2252  |  E-mail   |  Most Recent Stories   |  NCC Home

NCC Joins Wide NGO Appeal to U.N. on Sudan Darfur Crisis

July 16, 2004, New York City -- The National Council of Churches USA joined with other non-governmental organizations today in a letter to the United Nations Security Council, urging that the Council take specific actions to thwart genocide in the Darfur Region of Sudan and not to allow diplomatic processes to slow down their response.  The sign-on was coordinated by the World Federalist Movement.  Documentation follows.

July 16, 2004

To Members of the Security Council:

We are writing to follow up on a letter dated June 17, 2004 that called for action to end a major humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan.  As Members of the Council negotiate the text of a resolution addressing this crisis, we ask that the resolution be strong enough to maintain pressure on the Sudanese government so that it upholds its responsibility to protect its population, and that sufficient resources are committed to monitor its progress.  At the same time, the Security Council must prepare for the possibility of more coercive measures in the event that Sudan remains unable or unwilling to act.

We welcome the responses of the international community to the Darfur crisis in the past weeks, including the visits to the region by the Secretary-General and the U.S. Secretary of State, as well as the Security Council's attention to this crisis.  We also welcome the central role being played by the African Union, including its decision to provide 300 troops to accompany their monitors with the mandate of protecting civilians.

It is clear that these and other efforts have yielded the significant commitments made by the government of Sudan, including those set forth in the Joint Communiqué of 3 July 2004.  We recognize that the government of Sudan may be best positioned to put an end to this crisis.  However, as the government of Sudan also bears direct and indirect responsibility for the commission of these crimes against humanity, the Security Council must take strong measures to ensure that Sudan is complying with its commitments. 

The Security Council resolution must set forth the measures necessary to fully evaluate the implementation of the Joint Communiqué.  We are aware of the difficulties in monitoring, due in large part to the few monitors on the ground and the lack of resources to support them.  The AU, while agreeing to increase the number of observers and to send as many as 300 troops, still urgently needs AU member states to contribute troops and observers.   The Security Council must urge UN member states to assist and support that monitoring team.  The Secretary-General must be called on to contribute sufficient UN resources to assist in monitoring, as well as the delivery of humanitarian aid.

We are all mindful both of the urgency of the crisis -  hundreds of thousands of lives are at stake - and the ways in which the government of Sudan has failed to live up to earlier commitments to protect the people of Darfur. As the U.S. Secretary of State said this week, "While the Government has taken some positive steps, violence is continuing, and we have not yet seen a dramatic turnaround of the situation."  The Security Council must be able to assure itself in a matter of days that the government of Sudan is taking rigorous steps to comply with the Joint Communiqué.  In the event that evidence of compliance is not forthcoming, we believe that the measures set out in our letter dated June 17 must continue to be considered to respond to this crisis.  That letter is attached and has been endorsed by concerned international Non-Governmental Organizations including:

Citizens for Global Solutions
Danish United Nations Association (FN Forbundet)

Fund for Peace

Global Action to Prevent War - International Secretariat

National Council of Churches USA

Tshwaranang Legal Advocacy Centre

Nuclear Age Peace Foundation

One World Trust

World Federalist Movement - Canada

When a state fails to uphold its responsibility to protect its citizens, the international community has a responsibility to react to establish and enforce peace. This responsibility includes as a last resort the deployment of peace operations to protect the people of Darfur.


Lois Wilson, Acting President
World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy

William R. Pace, Executive Director
World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy

Open Letter to the United Nations to End a Major
Humanitarian Disaster in Darfur, Sudan

June 17, 2004

To: UN Secretary-General, H.E. Kofi Annan
Security Council Member States
President of the General Assembly, H.E. Julian Robert Hunte

Your Excellencies,

On behalf of the Responsibility to Protect - Engaging Civil Society (R2P-CS) project of the World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy we are writing to urge the United Nations to take immediate and strong action to stop the ethnic cleansing and flagrant human rights violations taking place in Darfur, Sudan. Already, one million Darfurians are internally displaced, and refugees number over 100,000. At least 30,000 black Muslims have been massacred, and the killings are ongoing. With the rainy season a few short weeks away, the humanitarian crisis promises to worsen on an appalling scale: international aid groups predict that up to one million people may die if decisive action is not taken immediately.

The government of Sudan, as a sovereign state, has a responsibility to protect its citizens. It has flagrantly disregarded its responsibility to the people of Darfur. In this situation, the responsibility to protect must be borne by the international community. To date, the international community has failed its responsibilities. This is particularly true for the Security Council, which is invested with primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security. Although the Council has issued statements condemning the atrocities, it has not demanded that the Sudanese government stop the campaign of ethnic cleansing.

The Council’s failure to prevent genocide in Rwanda ten years ago was shameful; the Secretary-General, members of the Security Council and others have expressed their commitment and duty to prevent such a tragedy from recurring. That need exists today in Sudan. As Under-Secretary-General Jan Egelund said: “It’s not genocide yet and we can prevent it.” It would be unconscionable for the Security Council to ignore these warnings and disregard the lessons it has learned from Rwanda.

We therefore join other major NGOs* in the call to the international community to protect the people of Darfur, and apply appropriate international pressure to bring an end to the atrocities.

We call for the Security Council, acting under its Chapter VII authority to do the following:

· Condemn in the strongest terms the atrocities of the government and the Janjaweed.

· Call upon all parties to the conflict to immediately end the campaign of ethnic cleansing and fully respect the N'Djamena ceasefire agreement of April 8, 2004.

· Demand that the Sudanese government immediately cease all forms of support to the Janjaweed, and disarm and disband all existing Janjaweed militias.

· Insist on unhindered access of humanitarian aid groups and their supplies to the victims, and ensure that aid reaches the intended recipients.

· Demand that the government guarantee safe return for refugees and internally displaced persons wishing to return to their homes.

· Establish a timeframe for compliance with these demands.

· Decide that states shall, in the event that the above demands are not met, impose targeted diplomatic, economic and political measures. This could include, inter alia, the following measures: freezing of assets, suspension of organization membership, diplomatic isolation, trade and financial sanctions, withdrawal of investments and arms embargos. Such measures must be targeted to decrease the impact on civilians and increase the impact on decision-makers.

· Express in the strongest terms readiness to impose further measures, in accordance with the responsibility of the Security Council under the Charter of the United Nations, including military intervention as a last resort if the atrocities do not stop.

If the situation continues to deteriorate despite the adoption and full implementation of these measures, the Security Council must consider military intervention as a last resort. If aerial bombing of the civilian population continues, the Security Council must establish and enforce no-fly zones, with proper exception made for flights in support of humanitarian operations.

We call upon the Secretary-General to:

· Authorize a team to investigate all violations of international law, for possible future prosecution by national or international courts, including the International Criminal Court.

· Appoint immediately a Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, in accordance with the Plan of Action to Prevent Genocide announced on April 7, 2004. The Special Advisor must have full power to investigate, report and make further recommendations to the Security Council.

If the Security Council fails to act, we further call upon the General Assembly to:

· Call an Emergency Special Session under the “Uniting for Peace” procedure to decide on appropriate action.

We are also mindful that violence against civilians continues in other regions of Sudan as well, including in the Shilluk region. These attacks against civilians must not be tolerated.

Crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide are an abomination on the human race. Prevention and early reaction not only save the lives of innocent civilians, but also save vast resources otherwise spent in the aftermath of conflict. Sovereign states bear the primary responsibility to prevent and halt these despicable acts. But when the state in question refuses to do so, the Security Council must accept its responsibility to maintain peace and security and prevent such atrocities. These are the norms necessary to bring about peace and stability in the 21st century.


Lois Wilson, Acting President
World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy

William R. Pace, Executive Director
World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy


* We refer you to the statements and recommendations of Amnesty International,  Citizens for Global Solutions, Human Rights Watch, and the International Crisis Group, available at: (AI), (CGS), (HRW), (ICG).

More Information About "Let Justice Roll"
Return to NCC Home Page