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The U.S. government will no longer be allowed to contract with companies doing business in Sudan. The House of Representatives unanimously voted Tuesday to divest from the genocidal regime in Darfur, passing a bill that also eases the way for private and state pension funds to cease backing companies that do business there.

The Sudan Accountability and Divestment Act passed the Senate Dec. 12 and now awaits President Bush’s signature. Leading Jewish groups, including the Reform movement, the National Council of Jewish Women and the Jewish Council on Public Affairs strongly backed the legislation, which was introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and co-sponsored by Rep. Steve Rothman (D-N.J.). “Divestment cuts off funds that help finance the Sudanese regime that is implicated in the deaths of 400,000 civilians in the last four years and the displacement of another 2.5 million now forced to live under dangerous conditions in refugee camps in neighboring countries,” said NCJW President Phyllis Snyder. The Genocide Accountability Act of 2007, which would give the U.S. Department of Justice the authority to prosecute foreign nationals within U.S. territory suspected of perpetrating genocidal acts, also is awaiting a presidential stamp of approval.

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