Fact Sheet: Leading the Global Response to the Crisis in Darfur
President Bush Meets With Sudanese Human Rights Advocate,
Pledges Continued U.S. Support To End The Violence In Darfur
On December 10, 2008, President Bush met with Dr. Halima Bashir, an activist for victims of violence in Darfur. A member of the Zaghawa tribe, Bashir is her tribe's first formal doctor. She possesses a detailed knowledge of the situation on the ground in Darfur and has used her traumatic personal experience as a refugee and a victim of violence to call attention to the plight of the Darfuri people. Her recently published autobiography is the first memoir ever written by a Darfuri woman affected by the crisis there.
The United States Is Committed To Ending The Genocide In Darfur
The United States is the largest single donor to the people of Sudan, including to Darfur where more than 2.5 million are currently displaced. America leads the world in responding to the crisis there by providing humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations, facilitating the deployment of an international peacekeeping force, and promoting a lasting political settlement. Specifically, the United States providing support through:
Humanitarian Aid and Human Rights. The United States is the leading international donor to Sudan, providing more than $5 billion in assistance to Sudan since 2005, including $3.7 billion in humanitarian and peacekeeping assistance to Darfur. In 2008, the United States provided half of the World Food Program's food aid request for more than 6 million people throughout Sudan and eastern Chad. In FY 2007, the United States gave more than $1 billion in assistance to the people of Sudan, including Darfur.
- More than 30 U.S. Government partners are currently implementing programs to provide food, health, shelter, water, and other life-saving services, in the face of the many challenges caused by escalating banditry, bureaucratic impediments, and attacks on humanitarian staff. The United States also continues to promote efforts to ensure the safety and basic rights of Darfur's most vulnerable people. The United States has spearheaded a $16 million initiative to combat the widespread violence against women and girls and help communities to heal. The U.S. government supports radio programming in local languages on human rights issues and peace processes that are directed at persons displaced because of the conflict and other vulnerable populations in Darfur.
Peacekeeping. The United States supports the rapid deployment of 26,000 United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) peacekeepers. Since 2004, the United States has spent more than $15 million to airlift 11,400 peacekeepers and their equipment to and from Darfur and has provided more than $100 million to train and equip those forces. Since 2004, direct and indirect U.S. support provided to peacekeeping operations in Darfur has totaled more than $600 million. The United States is paying more than one-fourth of the total cost of UNAMID through United Nations-assessed contributions, amounting to roughly $880 million through 2008. Over the past three years, the United States spent more than $450 million to build, operate, and maintain 34 peacekeeping base camps for African Union forces, which are now under the control of UNAMID. The United States also provides those troops with vehicles and communication equipment.
- Earlier this year, the President made available $100 million in U.S. funding to augment the training and equipping of African peacekeepers pledged to deploy under UNAMID. Up to $40 million dollars of these new funds ensured that Rwanda's forces have the training and equipment they need to deploy four battalions (3,200 troops) to Darfur. Already, the United States has helped train more than 7,000 Rwandans for peacekeeping in Darfur and spent more than $40 million to ensure they are properly prepared, equipped, and on the ground. The United States is currently concluding negotiations with the United Nations to assist in airlifting essential heavy equipment and vehicles as part of an overall U.S. effort to expedite the deployment of UNAMID forces and increase their effectiveness once on the ground in Darfur.
Economic Sanctions. Since violence erupted in Darfur in 2003, the United States has imposed economic sanctions on seven Sudanese individuals responsible for violence in Darfur and on more than 160 companies owned or controlled by the Government of Sudan (GOS). The United States continues to work to prevent the use of dollar-denominated transactions by the GOS or its parastatals. The United States has taken these steps to increase pressure on Khartoum to comply with its obligations to the international community and end the violence in Darfur.
Political Process. The United States supports the efforts of the United Nations-African Union Joint Chief Mediator Bassolé in renewing a political process between the GOS and those rebel groups that did not sign the 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), including through ongoing talks in Doha, Qatar. The United States supports a political solution to the ongoing Darfur conflict, including necessary security and compensation provisions as outlined in the DPA, which creates broad structures for an eventual outcome that will allow millions of Darfuris to return to their homes and rebuild their lives in peace. To create the conditions on the ground necessary for this to occur, the United States has offered to work with the GOS and UNAMID to establish a functional ceasefire monitoring mechanism to maintain security. To help spearhead the United States' efforts, President Bush named Richard S. Williamson as Special Envoy to Sudan on Dec. 21, 2007. Ambassador Williamson is the President's third Special Envoy for Sudan, following the service of Senator John Danforth and Andrew Natsios.
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