International Criminal Court Calls for Arrest of Sudan’s Al-Bashir

On Wednesday, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant for the arrest of Sudanese President Omar Hassan Al-Bashir, along with many high level cabinet officials, for crimes against humanity. The warrant calls for any government to apprehend and extradite Al-Bashir to The Hague for trial. This is the first time a sitting President has been called before the Court.

As a result, Al-Bashir’s government has expelled over 10 foreign aid groups from the area including Oxfam, Doctors Without Borders and CARE International. The Sudanese President believes these organizations were responsible for giving the ICC enough evidence to indict him. Without these organizations the nearly 3 million displaced refugees in the area will have reduced access to food, clean water or medical facilities. Doctors Without Borders believes an untended to outbreak of cholera, meningitis or malaria would cause deaths in the thousands.We, at the UUA, are greatly saddened and disturbed to hear about the expulsion of the aid workers. Their presence in the camps is necessary for the health and safety of the residents.

During his presidential campaign, President Obama made very strong statements concerning the future of Darfur in Sudan. He said the United States must have “unstinting resolve” to solve the crisis there. So far, we have seen no movement on his part to act even after the call from the ICC. The UUA, a member of the Save Darfur Coalition, is asking you to send a postcard to President Obama to help end the violence in Darfur. You can send your postcard electronically and request hard copies for your congregation by visiting the Darfur Action Center.

Rev. William G. Sinkford, President of the UUA, encourages every UU to sign their postcard to President Obama. He believes this is an issue for all Americans, especially UUs to learn more about. President Sinkford says, “We felt called to speak out, to shine the light of truth into a region overshadowed by the worst form of government oppression… Neither innocence nor ignorance can excuse us from acting, but despite the outcries from the United Nations and much of the world community, the killing continues. We must do more.” See his complete remarks at

Changes in Darfur

This past Tuesday, the Sudanese government announced they made a peace agreement with one of the rebel groups in Darfur. In the agreement, members of the rebel organization Justice and Equity Movement (JEM) would be released from prison in return for a complete ceasefire from the JEM.

This is big news as the JEM was one of the many rebel organizations to be left out of a ceasefire agreement made by the Sudanese government last November.

This news comes quickly after an announcement made the International Criminal Court saying the Court had collected enough evidence to possibly try the Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir for crimes against humanity. President Al-Bashir has been implicated in a bloody and brutal six year-long anti-insurgency campaign against rebel groups such as JEM. This campaign has included public murders, rapes, and the displacement of entire villages. Many in the wider global community have said there is no way to characterize this conflict other than genocide. While no arrest warrant for Mr. Bashir has yet been issued, this has added considerable pressure on the Sudanese government to make a timely and sustainable peace agreement with the rebel groups.

Over the past six years, a conservative estimate of 300,000 people have been killed due to the conflict and another 2.7 million people have been displaced, primarily to Chad.

We encourage you to write a letter to President Obama asking him to uphold the commitment he made to Darfur during his presidential campaign. For more information please visit the UUA’s Darfur Action Center.

Resolve to make a difference this New Year, or, "Hey, that’s my elbow!"

Many of us are excited about changes to come in the New Year, including new opportunities presented by the incoming administration and Congress.

In anticipation, the Unitarian Universalist Association is asking individual Unitarian Universalists to choose one of fourteen Legislative Objectives and pledge their support to take action on that issue.

Click here to see the list of Legislative Objectives for 2009 – 20010 and pledge your support for the upcoming year. When you do, note the photograph on the right-hand side of the page, which is captioned, “Before you get buried in new year’s activities, resolve to make a difference.” That’s my elbow sticking out as I’m slowly crushed by the weight of hundreds of balloons. (Remember when we welcomed Adam as Acting Director by filling his office with balloons?)

Please, don’t be like me: Resolve to support a Legislative Objective now.

Tents of Hope Was a Great Success!

Over the weekend of November 7-9th, hundreds of tents from around the United States and the world converged on the National Mall in Washington DC. These tents, beautifully painted, were created to bring attention to the crisis in Darfur, Sudan. Organized by the Tents of Hope Campaign, this event was a huge success.

Tents from UU congregations sat near tents from Catholic and Protestant parishes, Jewish temples, college campuses and community organizations. Together, they made a beautiful tapestry of color and a message for peace. With the Washington Monument and Capitol Building acting as backdrops and the music of local and Darfurian musicians, this was a stunning and powerful experience.

Activists and tourists alike wandered the tents learning about the conditions of refugee camps in Darfur and Chad. Organizations like Save Darfur, UU Service Committee, and Amnesty International helped participants learn about the conflict in Darfur and how to help those most affected by the violence and displacement.

Many UU Congregations, including All Souls Church, Unitarian in Washington DC; The UU Congregation of Kent, Ohio; First UU Church of Dallas, Texas; and the UU Legislative Ministries of Maryland all provided tents. Many more congregations utilized the postcard campaign for Darfurian women organized by the UU Service Committee.

Several of the tents used this weekend will be sent to Darfur and Chad to act as schools, health clinics and shelters in Darfurian refugee camps.

Tents of Hope was the September Action of the Month for the UU Advocacy and Witness Team. For more information on the Actions of the Month, please visit

Tents of Hope for Darfur

The UUA’s September Action of the Month was Tents of Hope for Darfur. The program is ongoing and there are many congregations who are continuing to collect postcards, pitch tents, and even planning to come to D.C. for the national gathering, November 7-9th. A story about UU involvement in the Tents of Hope project has gone up on We encourage you to read the story and if you have one of your own, please send it (along with pictures) to Alex Winnett at Thanks!