Thursday, March 13, 2008

Stop China's Sale of Arms to Sudan

More than five years of conflict in Darfur has left at least 200,000 people dead and more than 2.5 million people homeless, with new attacks on villages in West Darfur recently.

Human Rights First has launched a new campaign to get China, by far the largest known provider of small arms to Sudan, to stop selling these weapons to Sudan. I just joined their efforts and I hope you will do the same by visiting their new campaign website, Made in China: Stop Arms Sales to Sudan:

The continuing violence in Darfur, combined with China's latest "charm offensive," gives us a unique moment to get China to take a fundamental step toward promoting peace by halting its arm sales to Sudan. China claims that its arms sales to Sudan are insignificant, but a report being released by Human Rights First argues that China has supplied Sudan with some 90% of its small arms and munitions since 2004-the types of weapons and bullets that are used to kill, maim, and leave people homeless in Darfur.

China has significant leverage with the government to Sudan that it could use to help end the conflict. But so long as China continues to ship weapons to Sudan, it sends a message of indifference to Sudan's leaders.

Please join me in supporting the efforts of Human Rights First to pressure China to end its arms sales to Sudan. Sign the petition today! It only takes a minute:

Click here To Sign the Petition

Stop China's Sale of Arms to SudanThe Beijing Summer Olympic Games theme “one world, one dream” rings hollow to the millions of people in Darfur left homeless and devastated by more than five years of violence.

Please join Human Rights First in pressuring China to stop selling arms to Sudan now.

Click here To Sign the Petition

Ambassador Liu Guijin

Special Envoy on the Situation in Darfur

Embassy of the People's Republic of China

2300 Connecticut Ave NW

Washington DC,

20008

Your Excellency:

Officials in the Chinese government have repeatedly stated that China is doing all it can to end the mass atrocities occurring in Darfur. Yet China has failed to take what is perhaps the simplest step to show that it is seriously committed to ending the violence: halting all arms transfers to Sudan.

China is by far the largest known provider of small arms, small arms parts, and ammunition to Sudan-the type of weapons that have been used by agents of the Sudanese government to commit mass atrocities in Darfur. Furthermore, the weapons purchases that the government of Sudan is making to sustain the violence in Darfur are in large part made possible by the income Sudan receives from lucrative oil sales to China. For these reasons, it is hard to believe that China is truly committed to ending the violence and establishing a sustainable peace in Darfur.

In the lead up to the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, the world will be watching closely what China is doing to end the violence in Darfur. Whatever modest steps China has taken thus far to end the violence are overshadowed by China's continued arms exports to Sudan. Therefore, we urge the government of China to:

-Immediately halt all arms transfers to Sudan.

-Support efforts in the United Nations Security Council to extend the current arms embargo on Darfur to all of Sudan and to the non-State armed groups located in or operating from Chad. Furthermore, China should support efforts in the Security Council to fully implement the recommendations made in the October 2007 report by the Panel of Experts to strengthen the arms embargo. At a minimum, we urge China not to obstruct efforts to extend and strengthen the arms embargo by using its veto or threat of veto in the Security Council.

Now in its sixth year, the violence in Darfur has left at least 200,000 people dead and some 2.5 million more displaced, and those numbers continue to grow. The Beijing Summer Olympic Games theme "one world, one dream" rings hollow to the millions of people in Darfur left devastated by violence orchestrated by the government of Sudan, which is directly supported by China. If China is seriously committed to ending the violence in Darfur, it must first stop all arms transfers to Sudan.

Signed by:

Orikinla Osinachi,

Nigeria

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