Support an Olympic Truce for Darfur

Show your support for an Olympic truce for Darfur by signing onto the letter below. This important initiative calls upon our leaders to use the opportunity of an Olympic Truce to take concrete steps toward protecting civilians in Darfur and establishing an enduring peace in Darfur and throughout Sudan.

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The Honorable Nicolas Sarkozy
President of France
His Excellency Ban Ki-moon
Secretary General of the United Nations
The Honorable Gordon Brown
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Honorable Hu Jintao
President of the People’s Republic of China
The Honorable Dmitry Medvedev
President of Russia
Dr. Jacques Rogge
International Olympic Committee President
 

 

Dear Sirs,

In our common aspiration to realize the ideals of the Olympic Games, we, the undersigned, urge the international community to convince the Government of Sudan to observe an Olympic Truce for Darfur before, during, and after the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Through this letter, we issue an urgent call to the conscience of the international community. The violence in Sudan has gone on for too long. We hope you will use the opportunity of the Olympic Truce to work to end it.

The Olympic Truce originated in ancient Greece; in recent history, world leaders have invoked the Truce as an opportunity for the international community to expend exceptional effort, as athletes strive for medals, to create and promote peace.

In that vein, and in keeping with the Olympic spirit, we ask you to make your efforts for peace in Darfur “swifter, higher, stronger.” Traditionally the Olympic Truce commences one week before the Olympic Games and ends one week after the Paralympic Games. This year, the truce period begins on August 1, 2008 and continues for 55 days.

In 2003, the United Nations reaffirmed the importance of the Olympic Truce in an statement signed by more than 400 heads of state and dignitaries who pledged “to support and disseminate, individually and collectively, the symbolic call for Olympic Truce throughout all future Olympic Games and beyond, and to exercise our best efforts within our communities, countries, and relevant international organizations to achieve its recognition and observance.”

On October 31, 2007, China introduced a resolution supporting an Olympic Truce for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games [G/A 62/L.2, “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal”]. The resolution calls “upon all Member States to cooperate with the International Olympic Committee in its efforts to use sport as an instrument to promote peace, dialogue and reconciliation in areas of conflict during and beyond the Olympic Games period.” It was co-sponsored and adopted by 186 nations, including Sudan.

Just as the Olympic Games are a time for the world’s athletes to unite in sport, the Olympic Truce is a time for the international community to unite for peace. We call upon our leaders to go beyond endorsing the rhetoric of the Olympic Truce by using this opportunity to take concrete steps toward protecting civilians in Darfur and establishing an enduring peace in Darfur and throughout Sudan.

A true Olympic Truce will only be possible for Darfur with an increased deployment of the UNAMID peacekeeping force and a rejuvenated peace process that has the full support of the permanent members of the UN Security Council. Therefore, we call on you to use the Truce period to exert diplomatic pressure to restart the peace process, and to initiate a rapid and effective deployment of the UNAMID peacekeeping force so that civilian protection would continue long after the Games.

With those measures in place, the international community could use the Olympic Truce period to provide humanitarian assistance in Darfur where hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians have no access to food, safe drinking water, and medical care.

For more than five years, before the eyes of the world, the Sudanese regime has committed atrocities of the worst kind. They have broken every promise and ignored every resolution, including UN Resolution 1769 of last July which authorized 26,000 peacekeepers for Darfur. To demonstrate its willingness to abide by the Olympic Truce, the Government of Sudan must immediately cease targeting innocent civilians, which is only ensured by ending all aerial military flights and support for ground attacks.

In the spirit of the Olympic Truce, we issue a moral call for these essentials: a rejuvenated peace process, deployment of peacekeepers, a cessation of attacks, and increased humanitarian relief. The Olympic Truce period should be marked by an increase of effort by the organizations and governments you lead to secure peace for the people of Darfur.

In the past the Olympic Truce has been invoked by the host nation. Now, just weeks before the Games, the People’s Republic of China, given its considerable influence with the government of Sudan, is uniquely positioned to enact its resolution, “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal,” for Darfur.

We are now calling upon China and the other members of the UN Security Council to implement the Olympic Truce for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, as outlined in the resolution “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal,” to help the anguished people of Darfur.

There could be no greater example of the Olympic ideal of promoting peace through sport than for the international community to use the 2008 Olympic Truce to end the first genocide of the 21st century.

Signed,

Athletes

Nobel Laureates

Sudanese & Darfuri community leaders

UN Goodwill Ambassadors

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