Reform Jewish Leader Expresses Hope for Joint United Nations-African Union Peace Force in Darfur
Pelavin: We hope and pray that this announcement means that the Sudanese government has finally realized that it cannot stand by as the blood of its people is shed. We will do everything in our power to ensure the government keeps its promise and helps heal its people.
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Washington, DC, November 20, 2006 – In response to the tentative announcement that the Sudanese government has agreed to allow United Nations peacekeepers to join the African Union forces in Darfur, Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
We are hopeful that this announcement signals a change in direction of the violence and destruction that has plagued the people of Sudan, and especially those of the Darfur region. Too many people have lost their possessions, their family members, and their lives; it is time that the government of Sudan works with the United Nations and the African Union to drastically increase the number of troops in the region to protect civilians and end the violence. We encourage the immediate deployment of this joint peacekeeping force of 20,000 additional troops, with leadership and command in the hands of the United Nations. The world has been waiting long enough.
We also hope that with this new direction, every rebel group in Darfur will be brought together to engage in dialogue that will result in a ceasefire and peace accord agreed to by all sides.
As Reform Jews, we are commanded that we cannot “stand idly by the blood of your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:16). We hope and pray that this announcement means that the Sudanese government has finally realized that it cannot stand by as the blood of its people is shed. We will do everything in our power to ensure the government keeps its promise and helps heal its people.
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.