Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Hamilton, Johnson Author Darfur Legislation; State Law Would Target Darfur Genocide

State government would be prevented from indirectly funding the genocide in Darfur under legislation filed by state Rep. Rebecca Hamilton. House Bill 1900, by Hamilton and state Sen. Constance Johnson (D-Oklahoma City), would not allow companies doing business with the Darfur region of western Sudan to receive state contracts "for so long as genocide continues within that region."

"I don't believe that the people of Oklahoma should have their tax dollars used to indirectly subsidize a war on unarmed civilians by a modern army that engages in slavery, mass rape and genocide," said Hamilton, D-Oklahoma City. "These are crimes against all humanity and the government that commits them is supported and funded, at least in part, by businesses who underwrite them with their commerce. Oklahomans might not be able to directly intervene, but we can say no to letting our money be used to aid those who aid the murderers."

According to Amnesty International, hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives in Darfur since February 2003. The Sudanese government and government-backed Janjawid militia are accused of committing systematic human rights abuses including killing, torture, rape, looting and destruction of property.

"This genocide is one of the most egregious examples of crimes against humanity in the world today," Hamilton said."It involves full-scale war on unarmed civilians who are rounded up; put in camps; systematically starved, raped, beaten; sold into slavery and murdered. The genocide involves every evil that people perpetrate against one another, all in one spot.

"Unfortunately, the international community's reaction to this horror has been limited to self-righteous hand-wringing. The release of the Microsoft's latest operating system for personal computers has received more attention than we have given to the systematic murder of millions of innocent men, women and children in Darfur. It's time we begin forcing those who perpetuate genocide to pay a price. House Bill 1900 is a small step in that direction."

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