June 13, 2006
Congressman Capuano's amendment increasing peacekeeping funding for the Darfur region of Sudan by $50 million was included in the Conference Report for H.R. 4939: the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Hurricane Recovery, 2006.
"Congress and President Bush have correctly characterized the horrific acts taking place in the Darfur region of Sudan as genocide. The United States has a moral obligation to do everything possible to stem the tide of unspeakable violence," stated Congressman Capuano, who is a co-founder and co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Sudan.
The supplemental appropriations bill originally contained $123 million for the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS). However, this funding will only sustain the AMIS at its current level, it is not enough to strengthen the AU forces on the ground to a level where they could more effectively protect civilians and bring security. During a February trip to Darfur, AU members told Congressman Capuano that they needed more resources. Congressman Capuano's amendment added $50 million in funding, bringing the total for peacekeeping to $173 million.
"Innocent civilians are dying because the AU forces are hampered by a lack of numbers as well as a lack of command and control, communications and logistical capacity. We cannot sit back and allow more men, women and children to die when there is more that we can do to protect them. This additional funding will ensure that they have the resources they need to protect civilians until the UN arrives, which could take many months," stated Congressman Capuano.
Congressman Capuano is an outspoken critic of the Sudanese government. In July of 2003 he authored a resolution condemning slavery in Sudan that passed unanimously in the House. In April of 2005 he called on Massachusetts' public pension boards to divest from any companies doing business in Sudan. He co-founded the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Sudan in October of 2005. Late last year, he wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanding an explanation of U.S. policy in Sudan after a number of troubling developments. 105 members of Congress joined him in that effort. Congressman Capuano traveled to Sudan in February of 2006. He recently met with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton to urge that UN peacekeeping forces be quickly moved into Darfur.
President Bush is expected to sign H.R. 4939 in the days ahead.
Contact: Alison M. Mills (617) 621-6208