A letter from the world's Nobel laureates to China: You <u>must</u> act on Darfur

Thursday 14 February 2008 01:00 GMT

We the undersigned Nobel laureates, Olympic athletes, current and former government officials, business leaders, human rights activists and public advocates, are writing to urge you to intensify your diplomatic engagement in support of a peaceful resolution to the situation in Darfur.

As the primary economic, military and political partner of the government of Sudan, and as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, China has both the opportunity and the responsibility to contribute to a just peace in Darfur. Ongoing failure to rise to this responsibility amounts, in our view, to support for a government that continues to carry out atrocities against its own people. As host of the 2008 Olympic Games, China has a special role to play in ensuring that its actions this year are commensurate with the Olympic ideals of peace and international co-operation.

The atrocities in Darfur continue to intensify. Of the seven million inhabitants of Darfur, hundreds of thousands have already died due to the conflict and 2.5 million have been displaced. Rape and sexual violence have been and continue to be used as weapons of war against untold numbers of girls and women. The government of Sudan has also been involved in the forced relocation of people from refugee and internally displaced people's camps. Without homes to return to, those displaced are left vulnerable to further attack.

We recognise some efforts by China in 2007 to increase diplomatic pressure on Sudan – notably through its support of the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 1769, calling for the deployment of a UN-AU hybrid peacekeeping force (Unamid) to Darfur. At the same time, however, we note with dismay that the Chinese government worked to weaken the resolution before it passed. China also doubled its trade with Sudan in 2007, providing resources that make it easier for that government to continue to carry out its atrocities. China's military relationship with Sudan also continues. We have also been disheartened by your government's action since Resolution 1769 was passed. Your government has remained silent as Sudan continues to block the effective deployment of Unamid and engages in violent actions that violate the spirit of the mission. Given the severity of the crisis in Darfur, and the nature of the China-Sudan relationship, we are calling for more serious action by your government in support of the full, immediate and unimpeded deployment of Unamid.

As the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games approach, we will continue to call on the Chinese government for action. We are aware of the tremendous potential for China to help bring an end to the conflict in Darfur. We will continue to watch for concerted and consistent Chinese action to ensure rapid deployment of UN-AU peacekeepers, progress in the peace talks, and an end to the use of rape as a weapon of war.

The complete list of signatories

Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo, Nobel Peace Laureate, East Timor, 1996; Dr Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Laureate, Iran, 2003; Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Nobel Peace Laureate, Argentina, 1980; Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Nobel Peace Laureate, Guatemala, 1992; Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Laureate, South Africa, 1984; Professor Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Laureate, United States, 1986; Betty Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate, Ireland, 1976; Professor Jody Williams, Nobel Peace Laureate, United States, 1997; Marcos Anastácio, Surfer, Portugal, 1995 National Champion; Carlos Arena, Swimmer, Mexico, 1996 Olympic Games; Marilyn Chua, Swimmer, Malaysia, 2000 Olympic Games; Marion Clignet, Cyclist, France, 1996, 2000 Olympic Games; Nikki Dryden, Swimmer, Canada, 1992, 1996 Olympic Games; Jimena Florit, Cyclist, Argentina, 2000, 2004 Olympic Games; Sabrina Kolker, Crew, Canada, 2004 Olympic Games; John Naber, Swimmer, United States, 1976 Olympic Games; Vince Poscente, Speed Skier, Canada, 1992 Olympic Games; Shannon Shakespeare, Swimmer, Canada, 1996, 2000 Olympic Games; Nikki Stone, Aerial Skier, United States, 1998 Olympic Games; Anna Van der Kamp, Crew, Canada, 1996 Olympic Games; Richard Vaughan, Badminton, United Kingdom, 2004 Olympic Games; Maria Bello, Actress, United States; Dave Eggers, Author, Pulitzer Prize Finalist, United States; Eve Ensler, Activist, Playwright, United States; Mia Farrow, Activist and Actor, United States; Angelique Kidjo, Artist, Benin; Joanna Lumley, Actress, United Kingdom; Hugh Masekela, Musician, South Africa; Ruth Messinger, Activist, United States; Tom Stoppard, Playwright and screenwriter, United Kingdom; Russell Simmons, Entrepreneur, Activist, United States; Emma Thompson, Actress, United Kingdom; Joana Vasconcelos, Artist, Portugal; Kerry Washington, Actress, United States; Baron Alton of Liverpool, House of Lords, United Kingdom; Robert Badinter, Senator, France; Gerhart Baum, Former Member of Parliament, Germany; Catherine Bell, Member of Parliament, Canada; John Bercow, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom; Bert Brown, Senator, Canada; José Ribeiro e Castro, Member of the European Parliament, Portugal; Chris Charlton, Member of Parliament, Canada; Olivia Chow, Member of Parliament, Canada; Nick Clegg, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom; Hon. Irwin Cotler, Member of Parliament, Canada; The Baroness Cox of Queensbury, House of Lords, United Kingdom; Jean Crowder, Member of Parliament, Canada; Libby Davies, Member of Parliament, Canada; Franziska Drohsel, Federal Chairwoman, Young Socialists, Germany; Lynne Featherstone, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom; Hon. Mabinty Forna, Member of Parliament, Sierra Leone; Sen. Bill Frist, Former Senate Majority Leader, United States; Brunhilde Irber, Member of Parliament, Germany; Glenys Kinnock, Member of European Parliament, United Kingdom; Hon. Yoine Goldstein, Senator, Canada; Ana Maria Gomes, Member of the European Parliament, Portugal; Sally Keeble, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom; Susan Kramer, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom; Irene Mathyssen, Member of Parliament, Canada; Alexa McDonough, Member of Parliament, Canada; Madeleine Moon, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom; Kerstin Müller, Member of Parliament, Germany; Chris Mullin, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom; Peggy Nash, Member of Parliament, Canada; Kerry Nettle, Senator, Australia; Baroness Northover of Cissbury, House of Lords, United Kingdom; Birgitta Ohlsson, Member of Parliament, Sweden; Baron Owen of Plymouth, House of Lords, United Kingdom; Cem Özdemir, Member of the European Parliament, Germany; Penny Priddy, Member of Parliament, Canada; Hon. Nancy Ruth, Senator, Canada; Denise Savoie, Member of Parliament, Canada; Jürgen Schröder, Member of the European Parliament, Germany; Marina Schuster, Member of Parliament, Germany; Natasha Stott Despoja, Senator, Australia; Christoph Strässer, Member of Parliament, Germany; Paddy Torsney, Former Member of Parliament, Canada; Judy Wasylycia-Leis, Member of Parliament, Canada; Anders Wijkman, Member of the European Parliament; Sweden; The Baroness Williams of Crosby, House of Lords, United Kingdom

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