Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) today joined with members of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus and other legislators at a Darfur Rally at the State Capitol in Annapolis. The Senator wanted to show his support for Maryland State Senator Verna Jones's bill, 2007 Darfur Protection Act, SB 543, which would restrict the investment of state funds in companies or entities that do business with the Sudanese government.
Senator Cardin is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has called for additional funding for the African Union/UN Peacekeeping forces in DARFUR. He also serves on the Senate Subcommittee on Africa that will be reviewing sanctions against the government of Sudan.
“The people of the Darfur region of Sudan are crying out for help during their time of despair. It is time for the United States to exercise international leadership and take greater strides to stave off a humanitarian disaster,” said Sen. Cardin during the rally at Lawyers' Mall. “It is not enough to posture and threaten the Government in Khartoum. It is time to exercise moral leadership and exercise more muscular diplomacy in an area where so little has been accomplished.”
The conflict in Darfur began in 2003, when two rebel groups emerged to challenge the government. In response, the Janjaweed militias received government support to “clear” the civilians from areas considered disloyal by the Sudanese government.
Sen. Cardin has been a leader in the fight to protect human rights around the globe throughout his career. He is currently the co-chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, also known as the Commission for Security and Cooperation in Europe, leading U.S. efforts to formulate OSCE policy relating to military security, economic and environmental cooperation, human rights, and humanitarian concerns. In 2006, he received an “A” from the Genocide Intervention Network for his strong support of aggressive U.S. action to stop the violence in the Darfur region of the Sudan.