Dear [Stand-Canada],

Thank you for your letter. I too am very concerned about Darfur. Having been a Deputy Director for 25 years and dealing with social and health issues daily, when I retired I wanted to make a difference a difference and loned CANADEM (Canada’s registry of experts available to the UN) and was looking at, offered going to the Sudan to work with child combatants. I did not go last year due to family illness but this was something I cared about. I may still make that commitment to go there.The crisis in Darfur is crying out for global intervention and Canadian statesmanship. The Rwandan genocide must not be repeated through a failure of political will and heart. Canada must assume leadership in rapidly organizing an international emergency initiative to deal decisively and effectively with the situation.

Based on the Green Party’s holistic approach to international affairs, using a combination of diplomacy, defense and development, we not only reiterate our consistent pleas for action of past years but now urgently call on the government of Canada to take an immediate ‘whole of government’ approach to the region and related conflicts in order to force a stop to the fighting and force humanitarian assistance to be provided on an urgent basis. We call on Canada to move boldly on multiple fronts to:

  • Provide new, increased financial, political and logistical support to the UN/AU mission in Darfur and encourage it to accelerate its deployment and strengthen its capacity to protect civilians at risk.
  • Provide Canadian diplomatic assistance as needed and determined by the African Union to keep all parties negotiating towards a new comprehensive peace agreement that delivers democracy, shared power, shared wealth and stability; and ensure the collective adherence to existing agreements.
  • Demand the Sudanese government end its blocking of the deployment and acceptance of the UN force and recognize its authority to intervene when necessary under a legitimate “responsibility-to-protect” UN-sanctioned process and mandate.
  • Demand the government of Sudan comply with UN Security Council resolutions and fulfill its legal obligation to arrest and surrender Ahmad Harun to face charges of war crimes and human rights abuses in Darfur. Sudan has the ability to do so and as a member state of the U.N. Sudan cannot ignore the law.
  • Insist the UN Security Council apply sanctions against any party that violates negotiated ceasefires or attacks civilians, humanitarian workers or peacekeepers and to interpret and enforce its mandate to the fullest extent possible.
  • Mobilize additional emergency humanitarian aid and support aid organizations struggling to deliver essentials to those in desperate need both in Darfur and in nearby regions such as Chad where over 2 million refugees have fled.
  • Encourage the UN/AU Mission to coordinate efforts with the French led EU mission in Chad and Central African Republic to provide safe ‘corridors’ between refugee camps to facilitate increased protection of, and delivery of, international aid and encourage the governments of Chad and the CAR to permit this.
  • Increase pressure on the Sudanese government to achieve a ceasefire and no-fly zone over Darfur to stop the bombing and killing and enable safe delivery of aid.
  • Pressure China and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to use their political influence to further push Sudan into accepting the UN/AU mission and adhere to all negotiated peace agreements to which it is a signatory, both within Sudan and neighbouring countries.
  • Recognize the larger regional factors of the conflict, offer diplomatic and development assistance to accelerate further cooperation between Chad, the Central African Republic and the negotiated peace settlements between them and rebel factions within their two countries and increase our role in supporting the Great Lakes Region Security and Development Pact to which the CAR and Sudan are signatories.
  • Recognize that climate change and environmental degradation is at the origins of the regional conflict and in light of the recent rejection by the UN to declare access to water a basic human right, the Canadian government should actively engage and encourage the African states comprising the AU and the signatories of the Great Lakes Region Security and Development Pact to declare and enshrine access to water as a basic human right within their respective agreements and constitutions and further act in solidarity by declaring it a basic human right within Canada. Refocus long-term aid on efforts to cope with desertification, drought and climate change.
  • Finally recognize the larger collective need for development throughout the region, the futility of and excessive financial burden of military solutions, and immediately move to meet our Millennium Goals obligation of 0.7% of GDP and accelerate poverty alleviation and development of sustainable communities and strong, sovereign governments on the African continent.

I commend you and your organization for the work you are doing. It will take substantive and sustained public and political pressure to put in place measures that can stop the genocide. I look forward to discussing this matter further with you and learning more about Stand.
David Blair
Green Party
South Surrey – White Rock – Cloverdale

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