Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 38th Parliament,
Volume 142, Issue 25

Thursday, December 9, 2004
The Honourable Daniel Hays, Speaker

Foreign Affairs

Sudan — Update by Special Envoy

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, this year I have visited Sudan three times, including the remote areas where the Sudanese are living. I also travelled across Canada to brief Canadians and the Canadian Sudanese.

In May, we worked hard with other countries impressing upon the government of Sudan and the southern rebels that it was important that the framework agreement for peace between the Government of Sudan and the southern rebels be signed. I am pleased to tell honourable senators that I was present in Kenya at the signing of this framework agreement.

In June, I visited internally displaced camps in Nyala and El Jemina in Darfur. What I saw has changed my life forever. Now, I look for sleep. I also met with tribal and religious leaders of Darfur. Canada will be working with these leaders to find ways to achieve peaceful solutions to the challenges in Darfur.

In September, with Minister Carroll, I visited Sudan and the region, and at that time I was invited to do further work with the Sudanese. I have been able to do all this work with the great support of my leader in the Senate, Senator Jack Austin. Thank you, Senator Austin, for your support.

The African Union is playing a very important role in peacekeeping and I am pleased to inform honourable senators that, in September, after discussions with Chairman Konare of the African Union in Addis, we are now working in partnership with the African Union to deploy troops in Darfur. We are also providing resources for helicopters. Last month, these helicopters were also involved in rescuing 41 workers in Darfur.

In November, Prime Minister Paul Martin, Senator Lynch-Staunton, Senator Comeau, Senator Chaput and I visited Khartoum. The Prime Minister was able to negotiate humanitarian access to the whole of Sudan. This was a great breakthrough. From Khartoum I travelled to the very remote areas of southern Sudan, where I stayed in tents and met with Mr. Garang, chairman of the southern rebels.

With God’s grace, hopefully a peace agreement will be signed at the end of this year.

Honourable senators, you will shortly receive a detailed report from me on the situation in the Sudan and our country’s work in the region.

There have been some questions of my compensation for my work in Sudan. I receive the same compensation as all honourable senators, and my expenses are paid, as they are for all senators when travelling on behalf of our country.

However, honourable senators, there is one extra compensation that I do receive. I get to represent our great country in my continent of birth. Thirty years ago, I arrived in Canada as a refugee with my life in tatters. Canadians, and especially Canadians like the Honourable Thomas Dohm, my law partner of 26 years, and Senator Fitzpatrick helped my family and I to rebuild our lives. Today, as a Canadian, I proudly represent all of us. I am truly blessed to have this opportunity to say I am Canadian.


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