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Angelina Jolie marked International Human Rights Day last week by writing an article in Newsweek calling for action in Darfur.

“Today we observe Human Rights Day, founded more than half a century ago when the international community declared that respect for human rights and dignity “is the foundation of freedom, justice, and peace in the world,” and resolved that the horrors of World War II should never be allowed to recur," she wrote. “But they did. After Hitler, Stalin, and Franco in Europe, there was Mao and Pol Pot in Asia, and Mobutu and Taylor in Africa.”

“Recognizing that a declaration alone could not guarantee these rights, we created the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals, then the ad hoc tribunals for the former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone, and finally the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague. Never again, we declared, would world leaders commit mass murder with impunity.

“And then there is Darfur—where, since 2003, government-supported militia have left 300,000 dead and 2.7 million people internally displaced. The situation was so dire that in April 2007, Susan Rice, now the U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations, wrote, “The U.S. should press for a Chapter VII U.N. resolution that issues Sudan an ultimatum: accept unconditional deployment of the U.N. force within one week, or face military consequences . . . If the U.S. fails to gain U.N. support, we should act without it as [we] did in 1999 in Kosovo.” The International Criminal Court then issued arrest warrants for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, the first for a sitting head of state, and other Sudanese leaders implicated in the atrocities in Darfur.

“On this Human Rights Day—the same day President Obama receives his Nobel Peace Prize—we must also remember those who have been deprived of their rights. Holding perpetrators of mass atrocities accountable is the best way to ensure justice today and peace in the future. Sudan is the place to start."

To read the full article, visit the Newsweek website.

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