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Reform Jewish Leader Calls on U.N. Ambassador John Bolton to Clarify his Decision to Block a Security Council Briefing on Darfur
Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement calling on U.N. Ambassador John Bolton to clarify his decision to block a security council briefing on Darfur, "Ambassador Bolton is clearly right that the U.N’s response to Darfur has been too much talk and not enough action; we commend him for saying so. But it does not in any way follow that the Security Council should be denied the most current and accurate information about the situation on the ground in Darfur."

Saperstein:  Ambassador Bolton is clearly right that the U.N’s response to Darfur has been too much talk and not enough action; we commend him for saying so.  But it does not in any way follow that the Security Council should be denied the most current and accurate information about the situation on the ground in Darfur.

Contact: Alexis Rice or Sarah Burrows 202.387.2800

Washington, October 12, 2005 - Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:

This past Monday, U.S. Ambassador John Bolton, joined by China, Algeria and Russia, blocked a United Nation’s envoy from briefing the Security Council on human rights violations witnessed first hand during the envoy’s recent visit to Sudan’s western region of Darfur.  Bolton kept Juan Mendez, Secretary General Kofi Annan’s Special Advisor for the Prevention of Genocide, from speaking, stating that the U.N. should focus on taking action against these atrocities instead of continuing to talk about them. 

I know first-hand Ambassador Bolton’s commitment to addressing human rights abuses in Sudan.  Ambassador Bolton is clearly right that the U.N’s response to Darfur has been too much talk and not enough action; we commend him for saying so.  But it does not in any way follow that the Security Council should be denied the most current and accurate information about the situation on the ground in Darfur.  Indeed, it is hard to reconcile the tactic with the goal.  The fact that the U.S. found itself allied in this effort with three nations who have until now been unwilling to attack head on the issue of genocide in Darfur dramatizes the contradiction. 

We urge Ambassador Bolton to clarify how he saw this decision as serving the goal of encouraging the U.N. to take urgent and informed action.  Until then, we remain deeply disappointed that the Security Council was prevented from hearing potentially important testimony in regard to the human rights abuses being perpetrated by the Sudanese government and urge the U.S. to reverse this decision. 

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism , whose more than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews , and the Central Conference of American Rabbis , whose membership includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis.



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