UC Daily News, TN
Jan 6 2007


President Bush Signs Darfur Supported Bill


WASHINGTON - President Bush signed the Sudan Accountability and
Divestment Act into law - just two weeks after unanimous passage by
the U.S. House of Representatives and, during the week prior,
unanimous passage by the U.S. Senate. The law authorizes state and
local governments to divest from companies that support the Khartoum
government at the expense of marginalized populations in Sudan and
prohibits federal contracts with those companies. Darfur activists
hailed the bill's passage into law despite a loosely-worded signing
statement attached to the bill.

In a joint statement, Darfur activist groups - including the Save
Darfur Coalition, Genocide Intervention Network, and STAND - said the
president must avail the full force of his administration to enure
this measure is thoroughly enforced.

"This measure is intended to change Khartoum's behavior by putting
pressure on the foreign companies lining the pockets of the ruling
National Congress Party. Elected officials of all political
persuasions joined together to unanimously pass this legislation in
the Congress. It presents a stark choice - stop enabling genocide in
Darfur or lose our business. The people of Darfur cannot afford an
empty 'law on the books,' which is why the president must vigorously
enforce this critical legislation."

Since the introduction of the Sudan Accountability and Divestment
Act, nine companies - including La Mancha resources, CHC Helicopter,
ABB, Siemens, Rolls Royce, ICSA of India, Weatherford International,
Weir Group, and Schlumberger - have ceased operations in Sudan or
significantly changed their behavior in the country.

Since 2005, 22 states and more than 50 universities have adopted
Sudan divestment policies. The movement has rapidly spread through
Europe: in July the European Parliament unanimously adopted a
resolution calling on European Union members to support targeted
Sudan divestment efforts. Seven major foreign companies - CHC
Helicopter, ABB, Siemens, Rolls Royce, ICSA of India, Schlumberger
and La Mancha Resources - have ceased problematic operations in Sudan
or significantly changed their behavior in the country since the
proliferation of the Sudan divestment movement.

In 2001, President Bush wrote "not on my watch" in the margins of a
memo detailing the Rwandan genocide. With a little more than a year
left in office, President Bush has an opportunity to protect
civilians in Darfur and help ensure lasting peace for Sudan. Signing
the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act is an important step
towards fulfilling the promise he made early in his presidency.

Other necessary actions include deployment of a full-time envoy with
a team in the region to coordinate the Darfur peace process and
ensure the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement;
support for the deployment of the UNAMID force, including pressuring
allies to volunteer military resources for the mission; and
introduction of a sanctions resolution at the U.N. Security Council
to address the blatant obstructionism and intransigence of the
government of Sudan.

President Bush described the ongoing crisis in Darfur as "genocide"
more than three years ago and identified the government of Sudan and
its allied militia as responsible. Since then, diplomatic efforts by
the United States and the international community have failed to
leverage sufficient pressure on the Sudanese government to end the
violence. As many as 400,000 men, women and children have died as a
result of the conflict, and more than 2.5 million have been displaced
from their homes to refugee and internally displaced persons camps.

A U.N. peacekeeping mission authorized by the Security Council in
August has yet to deploy in large part because the Sudanese
government has refused to allow non-African peacekeepers into Darfur,
landing rights for U.N. transport and unfettered communications
between peacekeepers. In addition, the government of Sudan continues
to bomb villages and to relocate its supporters onto land vacated by
the displaced.

The broad and diverse coalition that supported and played a critical
role in the passage of Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act also
includes the American Jewish Committee, the Armenian National
Committee of America, the Armenian Assembly of America, B'nai B'rith
International, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Leadership
Conference of Women Religious, the National Council of Churches, the
NAACP, the ENOUGH Project, the National Council of Jewish Women, the
Religious Action Center, the Unitarian Universalist Service
Committee, and dozens of state and local faith-based and community
organizations.

Who will lose their federal contracts?

The Sudan Divestment Task Force, a project of the Genocide
Intervention Network, maintains a list of problematic companies
supporting the Sudanese government. The following companies appear on
this list and, as of September 2007, maintained contracts with the
federal government: ALSTOM (FRANCE), LAHMEYER INTERNATIONAL
(GERMANY), MOTT MACDONALD ( UK). All companies renewing or pursuing
new contracts with the federal government must now certify that they
do not support the Sudanese government. The law includes explicit
exemptions for South Sudan to ensure that its effects are felt by the
regime in Khartoum and not by civilians elsewhere in Sudan.

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