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Australia should back US on Darfur.



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DEMOCRATS MEDIA WEDNESDAY MAY 30 2007

SENATOR NATASHA STOTT DESPOJA

AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS FOREIGN AFFAIRS SPOKESPERSON

AUSTRALIA SHOULD BACK US ON DARFUR

The Australian Democrats have welcomed the move by the United States Government to put in place further sanctions against those responsible for the conflict in Darfur.

"We need to intensify action by the international community on the conflict in Darfur. What is happening there is genocide and there is a role for the Australian Government in securing greater international action," Democrats' Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja said.

In March of this year, Senator Stott Despoja asked the Australian Government whether the international community, Australia included, was doing enough to address the conflict in Darfur under the 'responsibility to protect' principle agreed at the World Summit in 2005.

The Government indicated strong support for that principle but action has been more limited.

"The stronger sanctions brought in by the United States are a step in the right direction and our Government should mirror that move," Senator Stott Despoja said.

"Sanctions alone are not enough though. Polls indicate that people around the world want the United Nations to act more aggressively against genocide and other serious crimes against humanity, even without the approval of the host government.

"We must learn from Rwanda, Bosnia, Congo, Darfur and other atrocities like them. In the 21st Century we can not be doomed to allow self interest and apathy to get in the way of standing up for those who need our help."

Media contact: Raina Hunter - 0417 085 260