Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

3rd Session, 37th Parliament,
Volume 141, Issue 36

Tuesday, May 4, 2004
The Honourable Dan Hays, Speaker

Drought and Civil Strife in Sudan

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, the raising of the issue of Darfur by Senator Andreychuk is timely indeed, as the concern of the international community deepens over the terrible events that are happening in western Sudan. The situation in Darfur is truly devastating, and I can confirm, as the Minister of Foreign Affairs’ Special Envoy to the Sudan Peace Process, that both Foreign Affairs Canada and CIDA have been working actively to promote substantive international action to address this tragedy.

The UN estimates that over 1 million people have been displaced and more than 100,000 refugees have fled to Chad. To address the immediate humanitarian needs of these people, CIDA has provided, since January 2004, over $8.6 million to assist war- and drought-affected persons within Sudan, including the Darfur region. CIDA has also provided over $3 million in assistance to Sudanese refugees in Chad.

Canada has been working vigorously on various diplomatic fronts, including at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights where Canadian diplomats played a key role in the successful effort to establish an independent UN expert for this issue.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs recently issued two press statements calling on the Government of Sudan and the rebels to resolve the crisis peacefully. Canada has also actively encouraged the discussion of Darfur at the UN Security Council. In addition, the Government of Canada has repeatedly called on the Government of Sudan to protect civilians, to facilitate immediate and unhindered access to humanitarian assistance, and to respect human rights and humanitarian law.

This conflict in Darfur is doubly tragic as it is unfolding as the parties to the long-standing civil war in southern Sudan appear to be near an agreement to end that horrific conflict. Canada has been an important political and financial supporter of both the official peace process and the unofficial peace-building efforts. We hope that the ceasefire in Darfur will hold, that all parties will allow unimpeded humanitarian access, and that a resolution of the conflict in the south will point the way toward a just and lasting peace throughout all of Sudan.

I join Minister Graham, my colleagues in the network of international supporters of the Sudan peace process, and concerned people worldwide in urging both parties to the conflict in Darfur to negotiate in good faith to end this tragedy. I travel to the region next week.