One area in which Obama seems to be falling short is on his promises regarding Darfur, according to the organization, Save Darfur Coalition. Recently, they sent a message to their members asking them to:
Tell Obama to match his campaign promises with decisive leadership.
One year ago today Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States. As he took office, he promised high-level leadership to bring peace to Darfur and all of Sudan.
Unfortunately, President Obama's strong words in the campaign have yet to be accompanied by the kind of decisive leadership we expected from the new President.
Millions of people in Darfur still live in camps with the ever-present threat of violence. All of the people of Sudan continue to live without even the most basic human rights. Now, indicted war criminal Omar al-Bashir is preparing to steal the country's first election in 24 years.
We must not let this happen.
Tell President Obama we need his personal leadership to make sure the United States and the world do not to legitimize Omar al-Bashir's corrupt, genocidal regime.
Secretary of State Clinton took a small step forward when she recently called on Sudan "to suspend elements of the national security and public order laws that are incompatible with free and fair elections." But her words still lack the support of the President himself, who has remained silent instead of calling out Khartoum for its lack of progress.
Sudanese security forces continue to harass and intimidate their political opponents. Violence and insecurity in Darfur will make voting difficult—if not impossible. The regime in Khartoum wants to use the upcoming election to tighten its grip on power and insulate its leadership from the reach of international justice.
We must act now. Send a message directly to President Obama and tell him that the United States must not recognize the results of an illegitimate election.
Thank you for your support and your activism.
Save Darfur Coalition
Donate to Help Save Darfur
Let's take a step back. Just what did Obama promise to do about Darfur? Here he is speaking about Darfur, and other areas, including the toll it takes on one's soul to not act in this Save Darfur Coalition video:
And yet, despite the "stain" on one's soul, and the continued genocide, the United States is falling far short in stepping in. Make no mistake, this is a dangerous, dangerous area, especially for women and children. Secretary Clinton spoke about this very issue in terms of rape being used as a tool in Sudan and Darfur:
It is impossible to not be moved by Secretary Clinton's description of these acts of brutality against women and children in Darfur, and other areas in the world. It is haunting, it is tragic, and it is unacceptable.
Secretary Clinton also spoke about the goals for the region of Darfur in October, 2009:
Worthy goals, to be sure. But words are not enough to save lives there, nor unfulfilled commitments. Action is what is warranted, what is needed, what is demanded, to end the genocide in Darfur. According to a former top UN investigator:
accused the Obama administration of failing to enforce a five-year-old arms embargo in Darfur, Sudan, and said weapons continue to flow into the region.
I cannot even fathom why this Administration would fail in such a task. The former inspector continued:
Enrico Carisch, a Swiss national who until October led a U.N. panel investigating violations of the arms embargo, contrasted the administration's efforts with those of President George W. Bush, noting the previous administration's strong advocacy of sanctions against Sudan.
"In contrast to that leadership of 2004 and 2005, the United States appears to have now joined the group of influential states who sit by quietly and do nothing to ensure that sanctions work to protect Darfurians (emphasis mine)," Carisch said in written testimony for an appearance before the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa.
A damning indictment indeed. For a candidate who spoke such powerful words, who spoke of a "stain" on the human soul to not step in when crimes are being perpetrated against the Darfurians, to now just sit on the sidelines is unthinkable.
And not for nothing, but the very administration Obama is constantly blaming, Bush's, did better than Obama is. Wow.
Carisch was not done:
Carisch said key architects of the U.N. arms embargo -- the United States, France and Britain -- have lessened their commitment to enforcing sanctions as U.S.-led efforts to revive peace talks in Sudan have gained traction. "Increasingly it looks like poorly understood and under-enforced U.N. sanctions are being sold out in favor of mediation whose success is far from ensured," he said.
Now you know the Obama Administration had something to say about this:
Obama administration officials challenged Carisch's characterization, saying that Susan E. Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, has been a passionate proponent of tough sanctions and recently implored the world body to provide a more candid account of the Sudanese government's misbehavior in Darfur.
"The Obama Administration is actively engaged in ensuring enforcement of all UN sanctions regimes. Given the priority that this Administration attaches to Sudan -- and Ambassador Rice's well-known hard-line views on the issue, it is not credible to say that U.S. efforts have been anything less than vigorous," Rice's spokesman, Mark Kornblau, said in an e-mail. "The United States is the most active member of the Security Council in pushing for better enforcement of sanctions and action to protect civilians in Darfur even in the face of a divided Security Council."
Ah, yes - Susan Rice, the ambassador to whom Obama gave equal footing with Secretary of State Clinton. Evidently, she is not doing her job very well, despite the protestations of the Obama Administration:
Carisch alleged that large amounts of foreign ammunition and weapons, principally from China and Chad, have illegally made their way into Darfur in recent years, fueling a conflict that has left more than 300,000 dead and driven more than 2.7 million from their homes.
There is no way in hell to put a positive spin on THAT, though the Administration might try. Those numbers are staggering.
As Candidate Obama said, "the United States has a moral obligation anytime you see humanitarian catastrophes. We are the most powerful nation on earth. We have the most stake in creating an order in the world that is stable and in which people have hope and opportunity. And when you see a genocide, whether it's in Rwanda or Bosnia or in Darfur, that's it's a stain on all of us, that's a stain on our souls. We've got to to have a protective force on the ground..."
Certainly, Obama, like any US president, has a lot on his plate (some he could have waited to do, like Health care so it was done right the first time). But when people are literally dying, when women and girls are being raped routinely, and when people are being displaced from their homes in massive numbers, it would seem action should come SOONER than later. It should come as promised, it should be stepped up, not stepped down from previous levels, and it should happen now before more lives are lost, whether through genocide, or sexual violence, or displacement. Now, Now is the time.