United Nations Security Council Address on Darfur
delivered 14 September 2006, New York City
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[AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED: Text version below transcribed directly from audio]
Well, first I want to thank Ambassador Bolton and all of you for inviting us here today and taking the time to talk with us.
I'll make you two promises: The first is that I'll be brief; and the second is that I won't try to educate you on the issues of Darfur and the regions around it. There's nothing I can say that you don't already know. You know the numbers. You know the urgency. And you know how bad this is likely to get.
I'm here to represent the voices of the people who cannot speak for themselves. And from our side, we're not so naive either. We know how difficult a task this is. We understand how many issues are in front of you this moment, each needing great care and attention. But you are the U.N. and this is a task that you have been given. You have to decide what's most urgent. You have responsibility to protect.
In the time that we're here today, more women and children will die violently in the Darfur region than in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Israel, or Lebanon. The United States has called it "genocide." For you it's called "ethnic cleansing." But make no mistake: It is the first genocide of the 21st century. And if it continues unchecked it will not be the last.
Now, my job is the come here today and to beg you on behalf of the millions of people who will die -- and make no mistake; they will die -- for you to take real and effective measures to put an end to this. Of course it's complex, but when you see entire villages raped and killed, wells poisoned and then filled with the bodies of its villagers, then all complexities disappear and it comes down to simply right and wrong. It's not getting better. It's getting much, much worse. And it is only the international community that can help us.
Now, I know there are members of you here that, for what I'm sure are sensible reasons, have failed to use leverage at times to keep the -- to get the peacekeepers on the ground. Well, we now have a date. The date is September 30th. The 1st of October will leave these people with nothing. Whatever the reason, it's not good enough. On October 1st, it won't just be the Janjaweed murdering and raping with impunity or Minnawi's SLA slaughtering the Fur tribes. With no protection, all the aide workers will leave immediately, and the two and a half million refugees who depend on that aid will die. Jan Egeland estimates 100,000 a month.
So, after September 30th, you won't need the U.N. You will simply need men with shovels and bleached white linen and headstones. In many ways, it's unfair, but it is, nevertheless, true that this genocide will be on your watch. How you deal with it will be your legacy, your Rwanda, your Cambodia, your Auschwitz.
We were brought up to believe that the U.N. was formed to ensure that the Holocaust could never happen again. We believe in you so strongly. We need you so badly. We've come so far. We're -- We're -- We're one "yes" away from ending this. And, if not the U.N., then who?
Time is of the -- of the essence.
I'm going to give this over to Professor Wiesel.
See Also: Project Save Darfur
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