Darfur, Sudan is a symbol of human depravity and ethnic cleansing where for years innocent and defenseless civilians have been subject to violent attacks and starvation, and hundreds of thousands have died as a result.
Pope Benedict XVI called upon the international community to bring relief and security to the peoples of Darfur, who are living in circumstances no longer sustainable. Rhode Island General Treasurer Frank Caprio took up their cause last week when he testified before Congress in support of the Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act of 2007. Many U.S. companies barred from doing business in Sudan have made investments in foreign companies doing business there; this act ended the loophole.
Caprio led the successful effort to pass a similar law in Rhode Island and has previously testified before the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee. His appearance last week before the U.S. House Financial Affairs Committee was in response to actions by the Bush Administration. President Bush signed the 2007 Act, but in his signing statement included a provision that allows the President to use executive authority to avoid a veto while making it clear that he may set aside the law if it were to conflict with his interpretation of the Constitution. Treasurer Caprio, in reacting to the negative impact of President Bush’s actions, suggested: “We cannot afford to take an ambiguous stand on the genocide in Darfur. We need to leverage the collective strength of America to put an end to one of this generation’s worst atrocities."
We applaud General Treasurer Caprio’s efforts to ensure that monetary support for the outlaw and terrorist government of Sudan on both a state and federal level are stopped. Our Holy Father has called upon world and national leaders to address the grave situation in Darfur, and clearly even in the smallest state of the union, that call was heard. In an age when too many Rhode Islanders are both critical and cynical of political leaders, Mr. Caprio has proven them wrong, in this instance, with his brave and valiant effort to stop the genocide in Darfur using his office of general treasurer. His leadership on one of the biggest moral issues of our day is both admirable and courageous, and we commend him and encourage him to continue his work on behalf of the innocents in Darfur.