Three Resolutions Approved by Members in Tucson

The members of AFJN, gathered in Tucson, Arizona in October 2005 for two days of work and prayer, approved three resolutions to be carried forward in their advocacy work. The resolutions concerned the ongoing crisis in Uganda, the genocide in Darfur and the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. All members and all those interested in greater justice on these issues are urged to put the resolutions to good use in education and advocacy in their communities. The texts may be found in the rest of this article, or as files to download by following the links.

 

AFJN Resolution on Crisis in Uganda

2005 Annual Meeting

Tucson, Arizona

Since 1986, a civil war fought by the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) against the Government of Uganda and the local population has devastated Uganda’s northern region. Children are the primary targets and victims. As the war has been largely neglected by the international community, we call upon the U.S. and U.N. to make protection of children in northern Uganda a priority.

Whereas, since the war in northern Uganda began in 1986 at least 30,000 children have been abducted by the rebel LRA and forced into soldiering or sexual slavery;

Whereas, approximately 1.6 million people, or 90% of the population of northern Uganda, is confined to camps for the internally displaced, and according to the World Health Organization 1000 people are dying every week in the camps due to the effects of the war;

hereas, civilian protection is so inadequate that 50,000 children walk up to 10 kilometers every night and morning from the camps into the relative safety of town centers, where they sleep on sidewalks, under verandas, and in makeshift tents;

Whereas, serious human rights violations are committed against the local population by the Ugandan defense forces with near complete impunity;

Whereas, the social and cultural devastation taking place in the Acholi, Lango, and Teso tribes due to the war will take multiple generations to heal;

Be it resolved that members of Africa Faith and Justice Network:

  1. Call on the Bush Administration to appoint a senior envoy to bring visibility to the mediation efforts of Betty Bigombe, to underscore the need for peaceful resolution to the conflict, and to act as a partner of Ugandan President Museveni in seeking peace;
  2. Call on Congress to approve $1.3 million to support Bigombe’s mediation efforts;
  3. Call on the Bush Administration to see that Roger Winter, the State Department Special Representive to Sudan, ensures that the Government of Sudan is not providing arms or safe haven to the LRA;
  4. Call on Congress to tie conditions of improvement in the military’s human rights record to the approximately four million dollars in military aid provided by the U.S. to Uganda;
    1. Call on the Government of Uganda to immediately begin dismantling camps in the outlying regions where the LRA is no longer active;
  5. Call on the Government of Uganda as well as local and international stakeholders to develop a truth and reconciliation commission to confront the two decades of trauma that has been experienced by the population in northern Uganda.

 

AFJN Resolution on Genocide in Darfur Region of Sudan

2005 Annual Meeting

Tucson, Arizona

In 2003, two groups of rebel insurgents began attacking government installments in Sudan’s western region of Darfur, claiming that the government had neglected to work for Darfur’s development and progress. The government responded by arming the Janjaweed, a proxy militia, and giving them license to terrorize the region, often supporting them with aerial bombing raids on local villages. Since April of 2003, approximately 400,000 lives have been lost to this violence, and over two million people have been displaced. United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan called the crisis in Darfur “little short of hell on earth.”

Whereas, the United Nations has yet to establish mechanisms for efficiently addressing such emergencies;

Whereas, on on July 22nd, 2004, the United States Congress declared the situation to constitute genocide, and on September 21st, 2004, President Bush acknowledged the same, yet the U.S. government has yet to take substantial action on the issue;

Whereas, Darfur continues to be characterized by extreme insecurity, with ongoing Janjaweed attacks on camps for displaced people;

Whereas, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in January of 2005 did not address the specific grievances of Darfurian rebel groups;

Whereas, the recently-established Government of National Unity provides an opportunity for a new approach to the Government of Sudan’s dealings in Darfur;

Be it resolved that members of Africa Faith and Justice Network:

  1. Call on Secretary General Kofi Annan and the United Nations Security Council to establish an easily-deployable U.N. force that can respond to emergency situations in which states fail their responsibility to protect civilians.
  2. Call on the leaders of the Sudan Liberation Army, the Justice and Equality Movement, and the Government of Sudan to urgently find a peaceful resolution to the violence.
  3. Call on the Government of Sudan to disarm the Janjaweed and ensure regional security, while implementing a long-term vision of democratic development and civic participation.
  4. Call on Congress not to lift unilateral U.S. economic sanctions against Sudan until the security situation in Darfur allows people to return to their homes.
  5. Call on Members of the United States Congress to support the “Darfur Peace and Accountability Act,” Senate Resolution 1462 and House Resolution 3127.
  6. Call for the mandate of the approximately 7,000 African Union troops in Darfur to be expanded from mere observer status to include full responsibility to protect civilians.
  7. Call for at least 5,000 additional African Union or other troops to be deployed in the region.

 

AFJN Resolution on AIDS in Africa

2005 Annual Meeting

Tucson, Arizona

The African AIDS pandemic shows no signs of declining, but in fact, appears to be growing in intensity. 39.4 million people live with AIDS globally and Sub-Saharan Africans account for 25.4 million, or 60%, of these infections. AIDS is not only a health problem, but also a development problem, affecting education, livelihoods, and demography. Global attempts to combat the disease such as the United Nations Global Fund and President Bush’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) are a good start but more and better aid is needed to quell the epidemic.

Whereas, debt repayments significantly exacerbate the effect of AIDS on national socioeconomic health and thus also impair African governments’ abilities to fund HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs;

Whereas, the House and Senate FY 2006 appropriations to the U.N. Global Fund exceed the President’s requested amount but still fall short of the amount necessary to fund both current and future grants and of the U.S. Administration’s past pledges that provided the Fund with a third of its funding;

Whereas, the cyclical and self-perpetuating social stigma in African countries often precludes overt and supportive national action against the epidemic;

Whereas, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., John Bolton, has attempted to dissolve the Millennium Development Goals by trying to remove all references of them from the UN reform agreement, thus demonstrating the U.S.’s lack of commitment to the goals;

Whereas, the disease is causing serious social dislocation, demographic change, educational delays, economic hardship, and high mortality rates, particularly among women;

Be it resolved that members of Africa Faith and Justice Network:

  1. Call on Congress and the President to approve at least $800 million to fund current and future U.N. Global Fund grants and remain faithful to its past pledge history of donating 33.3% of the Fund’s total expenditures.
  2. Call on African governments to implement programs that focus on treating HIV/AIDS treatment programs, combating social stigma, and preventing HIV/AIDS.
  3. Call for the expansion of debt relief programs so that national funding to health, education and other social services that were severely diminished during the years of structural adjustment can be revived.
  4. Call on all U.N. Global Fund donor governments to approve donations to the Global Fund that will fund both current and future grants.
  5. Call on President Bush to ensure the full disbursal of PEPFAR funds.
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