WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Congress late Thursday night passed
resolutions declaring that atrocities that have been unfolding in
western Sudan are genocide and urged the Bush administration to do
the same. The resolutions came as U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell met
with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan Thursday, for the second
time in three weeks, to discuss what he called a “humanitarian
catastrophe” in Darfur . An estimated 30,000 civilians have been killed — most of them
black Africans — and up to 1 million displaced since two groups
from the Darfur region’s African tribes took up arms over what they
regard as unjust treatment by the government in their struggle with
Arab countrymen over land and resources.
Until the congressional resolutions late Thursday, U.S.
officials had declined to label the killings a genocide. A 1948 UN convention obligates the international community to prevent and punish acts it has declared as genocide.