Barbara Lee helps release Darfur report to Obama

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, joined House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., today in releasing a report to President-elect Barack Obama on the House’ goals and recommendations in working towards peace in Darfur.

“It has been over five years since Congress declared that genocide was taking place in the Darfur region of Sudan,” Lee said in a statement issued later today. “With hundreds of thousands killed, deteriorating conditions and no end in sight, we felt it important to release this white paper outlining our recommendations for the incoming administration on addressing this genocide.”

“The U.S. must be leaders in the peace process in Darfur. President-elect Obama has already stated his commitment to addressing the genocide in Darfur, and we in Congress are prepared to work diligently with his administration towards a swift resolution to this dire situation.”

Hoyer, Lee and nine other House members from both sides of the aisle signed the white paper, which among other recommendations urges Obama to appoint a full-time, senior-level envoy to lead the charge on a new round of peace talks; to conduct an immediate assessment of the deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the region; and to coordinate with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon as soon as possible to give peacekeepers the authority and resources they need to save lives.

Lee’s been very active on Darfur; she pushed successfully for a law letting states to divest from companies doing business with the government of Sudan (she’d introduced it as H.R.180, though it was U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s similar S.2271 that was eventually signed into law), and her resolutions calling for action from the League of Arab States and China to use their leverage with Sudan to end the genocide both passed in the House. She has gone to Darfur three times, most recently with Hoyer in April 2007.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.