S.C. among 25 states to take stand against genocide in Sudan

COLUMBIA -- The Darfur Action Group of South Carolina chalked up a legislative victory last week in its effort to apply pressure to relieve the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Sudan.

South Carolina joined 24 other states in passing legislation that would prohibit investment in countries that do business with Sudan.

The law, sponsored by Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Richland, and other lawmakers, prevents investment of public retirement funds in such companies.

They hope it will send a message to the Sudanese government, which continues to carry out genocide on its citizens in the western region of Darfur.

The bill says that investing public funds in Sudan is "inconsistent with the moral and political values of the people of South Carolina." While divestment is a last resort, "the genocide occurring in the Sudan is reprehensible and abhorrent and requires special circumstance."

The Darfur Action Group, founded in 2005 and led by Columbia physician Richard Sribnick, led a rally last October that drew thousands to the Statehouse.

The Arab-backed government of Sudan, which concluded a bloody civil war between the north and south just a few years ago, has refused to end the fighting in Darfur. Conflicts sparked in 2003 when African rebels attacked government installations.

Government-based militias on horseback, called the Janjaweed, have made raids on villages in an attempt to wipe out the Africans, resulting in the displacement of millions who are now housed in refugee camps.