Saperstein: "As people intimately acquainted with the horrors of ethnic cleansing and genocide, we know the dangers of international silence in the face of ethnic violence."
WASHINGTON, D.C., October 1, 2010 - In response to President Obama's remarks at the recent United Nations High Level Meeting on Sudan, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, sent the following letter to President Obama:
October 1, 2010
President Barack Obama
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
On behalf 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, which includes over 1800 Reform rabbis, we commend your leadership at the UN High Level Meeting on Sudan.
Your leadership is indispensable if we are to make real progress on safety and security for the long-suffering people of Sudan. Since 1955, millions of Sudanese have been victimized by an ongoing series of conflicts. In the last seven years, as you well know, hundreds of thousands have been murdered in the Darfur region, where violence is flaring anew.
Ensuring the January referendum on southern Sudan's independence proceeds as scheduled and in peace should be a continual priority. Yet, reports make clear that preparation for the upcoming referendum has, thus far, not met expectations. If the world remains silent about these shortcomings, the potential for a worsening of the humanitarian disaster is likely to be realized. These factors are precisely why the bright spotlight your presence shone on the issue during the recent UN gathering was so vital, and why ongoing US leadership is critical to a peaceful and just resolution of the referendum.
As people intimately acquainted with the horrors of ethnic cleansing and genocide, we know the dangers of international silence in the face of ethnic violence. For this reason, we welcome the communiqué by participating governments, committing to holding the referendum on time and in a peaceful manner. We urge you to continue to make the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement a top priority and to bring the world's attention to Sudan. We also urge you to continue humanitarian aid and support for the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID.) And finally, it is imperative that your Administration support all efforts to ensure that the perpetrators of this genocide are brought to justice. We hope to see an increased focus and expedience on this critical issue.
We thank you for your commitment to the people of Sudan and look forward to working with you to ensure a peaceful January referendum and future for the people of Sudan.
Rabbi David Saperstein