Oct. 3, 2006
UI Law Alumnus Tells of U.S. Peace Efforts for Darfur
The United States has taken the lead in the United Nations in an effort to end the genocide in Darfur and bring peace to Sudan, a delegate from the U.S. mission to the United Nations said at the University of Iowa College of Law Monday.
Brian Hook, a 1999 UI law graduate, is counselor to John Bolton, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, advising Bolton on U.N. sanctions policy and overseeing the work of the Security Council's sanctions committees. In that capacity, Hook is U.S. representative at meetings of the U.N. Sudan Sanctions Committee, which has the authority to impose sanctions on individuals who contribute to the conflict in Darfur. The committee has imposed sanctions on parties from all sides of the conflict.
He said the current crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan began in 2003, when the Islamic republican government began to systematically kill Africans living in Darfur and drive them from their homes in an effort to end a rebellion. Hook said the government has killed hundreds of thousands of Africans in Darfur in the last three years and millions have become refugees, prompting President George W. Bush to declare the government's actions a genocide in 2004.
"The mind struggles to imagine anything worse than what has happened there, and it is in fact worsening," Hook said. "A United Nations peace force in the region is one of the highest priorities of the Bush Administration."
Hook said the United States has been actively trying to bring peace to the region through U.N. diplomacy, and is backing up its words in other ways, including financial and logistical support for the African Union monitoring force currently in Darfur and providing money to help build the region's infrastructure. The U.S. mission to the United Nations has also led the Security Council effort to approve the formation of a 20,000-man peacekeeping force for Darfur to replace the undermanned and underarmed 7,000-man African Union force. However, he said the United Nations has been thwarted in its attempts to deploy the peacekeepers by resistance from the Sudanese government.
Until the government approves, he said the United Nations will continue to impose and enforce sanctions the international community has brought against the Sudanese government and against individual Sudanese citizens who participate in the genocide. Hook said the Sudanese government has said it wants to end its international isolation and cooperate with other countries. "If it means what it says, it will accept the U.N. force and end its international isolation," he said.
Before coming to the United Nations, Hook served at the White House as special assistant to the president for policy in the Office of the Chief of Staff, from 2004-2006. From 2003-2004 he was counsel in the Office of Legal Policy at the Department of Justice, where he represented the Bush Administration before the 9/11 Commission.
Prior to that appointment, he was an associate with the Washington law firm of Hogan & Hartson. Hook was also an advisor to Gov. Terry Branstad and a legislative aide to U.S. Rep. Jim Leach.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.
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