Recently I have become very disturbed with the growing trend of violence in the Darfur region of Sudan. This is an obvious human rights violation. I am sure that you are aware of the staggering statistics of violence that have been reported in the last four years. I feel it is my duty to express my concern as a citizen of the United States. You are in a position of power, as I am not, and hopefully you can advocate a progressive policy towards the Darfur situation that will stabilize the region.
According to Amnesty International, the violence in Darfur is a direct result of actions by the Sudanese government. A rebellion in 2003 caused the government of Sudan to flood the region with weapons, igniting one of the most violent human rights violations in history. The number of armed opposition militias is approaching 50, which obviously increases tension and decreases the chance of a peaceful result. One of the biggest factors that hinders peace is the presence of the Janjawid. Although the militant group is not officially state-sponsored, the Janjawid receives weapons and other supplies from the Sudanese government. The Sudanese government continues to sit back and allow all of this violence to take place, something that we cannot afford to allow.
Recent reports, according to Amnesty International, illustrate how many people have been affected by the continuing violence in Darfur. Since 2003, around 2.3 million people have been internally displaced. This is the equivalent of moving the entire population of Houston, Texas from their homes to temporary refugee camps in rural Texas. Approximately 240,000 people have fled Sudan to neighboring Chad. Imagine the population of Lincoln, Nebraska being forced to flee to Mexico as a result of sustained violence. Over 200,000 people have died as a result of the conflict. To fully understand the enormity of that amount of people, it is easiest to understand in a United States setting. Can you fathom every single person living in Montgomery, Alabama suddenly dead because of violence which we can stop?
Senator Bayh, you and your colleagues are in a position of power. The United States must remain a symbol of democracy and freedom. We alone have the resources and foreign support to stop such an atrocity. I propose that the United States respond to this situation in three ways. First, the U.S. should stabilize the situation with a strong military force and protect the displaced persons as soon as possible. Second, the U.S. must raise awareness among foreign dignitaries of the dire situation and the responsibility the world holds to stop this violence. Third, the U.S. needs to implement a care and relief system that will peacefully and effectively bring aid to those people affected by the violence in Darfur. Through these three steps, the Sudanese government will have no choice but to comply and stop the violence.
On a personal level, I continue to do what is in my power. I continue to give money to groups that provide aid to Darfur and other regions of conflict. I stay up to date on the situation in Darfur and frequently share this news with those around me. I am writing you, Senator Bayh, in hopes that you can do your part in putting an end to this violence. It is astounding that violence of this nature is still present in our world today, but it is downright shameful that those in a situation of power continue to ignore it. I urge you, Senator, to do all that is within your power to be a voice for the refugees in Darfur. I would expect no less from someone I helped elect into Congress.