A Call to Restore Humanitarian Aid Operations to Sudan

Saperstein: "President Bashirs expulsion of aid organizations from Sudan is morally reprehensible, and will result in the slow death of civilians across Sudan." 

Contact: Kate Bigam or Micaela Hellman-Tincher
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 13, 2009 - In response to the expulsion of aid organizations from Sudan last week, Rabbi David Saperstein called for action by Reform Jewish activists, the U.S. government and the international community. Earlier this week Rabbi Saperstein joined with the Save Darfur Coalition to send a letter to President Obama on the same topic. The statement is below, followed by the text of the letter:

President Bashirs expulsion of aid organizations from Sudan is morally reprehensible, and will result in the slow death of civilians across Sudan. It is expected that barring the operation of 16 humanitarian aid organizations throughout the country will leave an estimated 1.1 million people without food, 1.1 million lacking health care, and more than 1 million without drinking water. In Kalma camp, a meningitis epidemic is killing those already displaced from their homes, and in Zam Zam camp, a diarrhea epidemic threatens childrens lives.


Our congregations have been leaders in the movement for human rights in Darfur and for peace in Sudan. More than ever, now is the time for each of us to again call on members of Congress and the administration to pressure international actors to restore humanitarian aid to Darfur. [Resources for action can be found at www.rac.org/darfur.]


President Bashirs actions, coupled with recent violence toward aid workers in the region, only make more obvious the need for a strong international presence in Sudan. UN peacekeeping forces must be reinforced, and the U.S. must send an envoy to help bring peace to the region. President Bashir has succeeded at killing his citizens for too long. We cannot allow this tragedy to continue.

 March 11, 2009


President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Washington, DC


Dear President Obama,


Darfur demands your attention now. Millions of lives are at risk, and your direct engagement can not be delayed.


We are a broad coalition of faith-based, human rights and advocacy organizations, and on behalf of our constituencies we implore you to respond immediately to the increasingly urgent situation in Sudan.


As you know, the licenses of over a dozen humanitarian aid organizations have been revoked by the government of Sudan, leaving millions of Darfuri civilians at immediate risk of disease and starvation. You, along with other world leaders, must immediately and publicly condemn President Bashir's actions and insist that he restore access to life-saving humanitarian aid.


We know from your commitment to Darfur as a senator and your campaign pledge of "unstinting resolve" to end the Darfur genocide that you believe that the United States and its citizens cannot stand by while civilians are unjustly targeted by their own government. Since you were elected our president, over 250,000 Americans have signed postcards asking that your administration take swift and strong action to end the genocide in Darfur. Now, with millions of lives hanging in the balance, we must act immediately. Any delay will lead to even greater loss of life in Darfur.


The Sudanese government's decision to restrict the flow of humanitarian aid to Darfur represents the possible prelude to a humanitarian catastrophe of the highest magnitude. The 13 organizations that had their licenses revoked are some of the largest international aid groups in Darfur and sustain an apparatus that provides the last remaining lifeline for 4.7 million conflict-affected Darfuri people.


The time is now for the United States to immediately undertake an urgent, sustained diplomatic push to resolve the conflict in Darfur, including the reopening of humanitarian access. Sudan's recent actions reinforce the need to appoint a full-time Sudan envoy with the stature, mandate and authority to drive all aspects of Sudan policy.


We are counting on your leadership, President Obama. But more importantly, so are the people of Darfur.




Jerry Fowler


Save Darfur Coalition


Rabbi David Saperstein


Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism


Mark Hanis

Executive Director

Genocide Intervention Network


Rabbi Steve Gutow

President and CEO

Jewish Council for Public Affairs


Ruth Messinger

President and CEO

American Jewish World Service


Frank Donaghue

Chief Executive Officer

Physicians for Human Rights


Reverend William G. Sinkford


Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations


John Norris

Executive Director

ENOUGH Project


Dr. Antonios Kireopoulos Sr.

Program Director for Faith & Order and Interfaith Relations

National Council of Churches USA


Aram Hamparian

Executive Director

Armenian National Committee of America


Bryan Ardouny

Executive Director

Armenian Assembly of America


Helen Fein

Executive Director

Institute for the Study of Genocide


Don Kraus


Citizens for Global Solutions


Abraham H. Foxman

National Director

Anti-Defamation League


Jill Savitt


Genocide Prevention Project


Rabbi Jeffrey A. Wohlberg, President

Rabbi Leonard D. Gordon, Social Action Chair

Rabbi Marion Shulevitz

Rabbinical Assembly


Rev. David Emmanuel Goatley, Ph.D.

Executive Secretary-Treasurer

Lott Carey Convention/Lott Carey International


Tzivia Schwartz-Getzug

Executive Director

Jewish World Watch


Rabbi Marla Feldman


Commission on Social Action of Reform Judaism


Shelley Lindauer

Executive Director

Women of Reform Judaism


E. Robert Goodkind

Chair, JBI Council

Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights


Mahmoud Braima


Darfur Association in the USA, Birmingham, AL


Mohamed Adam Yahya

Founder and Executive Director

Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy


Marie Dennis


Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns


Elise Klein


Teachers Against Prejudice


Bill Andress


Sudan Advocacy Action Forum


Martina W. Knee

Member, Executive Committee

San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition


Eric Cohen

Investors Against Genocide


Susan Morgan

Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur


Abdelbagi Jibril

Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre


Sharon Silber

US Representative

Society for Threatened Peoples

Jews Against Genocide


Nancy Walsh and Gloria Crist



Eileen B. Weiss


NYC Coalition for Darfur


Jimmy Mulla


Southern Sudanese Voice for Freedom


James Rucker

Executive Director



Elgasim Salih


World Relief Organization


Jessica Trubowitch

Director, Legislative Affairs and Intergroup Relations

Jewish Community Relations Council of the San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin, Sonoma, Alameda, and Contra Costa Counties


Kathryn Harrison

Executive Director

Darfur Alert Coalition


Joe Carson

Affiliation of Christian Engineers


Shrikumar Poddar

Mayurika Poddar

India Foundation, USA


K. S. Sripada Raju

International Service Society


Amin Tejani

ARC, Lansing, Michigan


Devesh Poddar

Washington Watch Inc.


Barbara Thomas

Annapolis Friends Meeting


Josh Pasek


Young Democrats of America Jewish Caucus


Nikki Serapio


Americans Against the Darfur Genocide


Eric Fusfield

B'nai B'rith International


Bob Brousseau

Kentuckiana Interfaith Taskforce on Darfur


Michael Neuroth

Policy Advocate on International Issues

United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries


Rabbi Ellen Weinberg Dreyfus 


Rabbi Steven Fox

Executive Vice-President

Central Conference of American Rabbis


Michael Lucero


I Stop Genocide


Gerri Miller

Dear Sudan


David Rosenberg


Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition


Gabriel Stauring and Katie-Jay Scott

Stop Genocide Now