FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ACT FOR SUDAN COMMENDS CONGRESSIONAL LETTER TO OBAMA
Joins with Congress in urging immediate cross-border humanitarian aid operation
CITIES NATIONWIDE – November 23, 2011 – Act for Sudan, a bipartisan, interfaith alliance of 55 American and Sudanese advocacy organizations across the country, commends the Congressional Sudan Caucus and the 62 members of Congress who yesterday sent a letter to President Obama regarding the dire humanitarian crisis and ongoing government-sponsored ethnic cleansing in Sudan.
In the letter, the Members of Congress urge the Obama Administration to “adopt a Sudan policy that addresses the symptoms of unresolved conflicts that remain despite the CPA. That is, we must recognize and confront the root of the problem: marginalization of the peripheries by Khartoum.“ The letter continues, “In order to address the source – rather than just the symptoms – of the problems in Sudan, the Administration should refocus its current policy on mediation, democracy promotion, accountability, and civilian protection. If we, as a key stakeholder, fail to take swift action, the ongoing violence will only increase and the peace that so many Sudanese hoped for will fade into the abyss of instability and war.”
The timing of this letter is especially important since it contrasts directly with recent statements from the Administration encouraging respect for the “sovereignty” of Sudan, in spite of its track record of committing genocide in most every region of Sudan over the course of the past two decades. White House Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough and US special envoy to Sudan Princeton Lyman recently travelled to Khartoum and Juba for diplomatic meetings with both Sudan and South Sudan. During their trip they encouraged all parties to continue political talks. Act for Sudan believes that the Obama administration should acknowledge the difficulty of political dialogue with a government that continually breaks its agreements and has engaged in a long-standing pattern of ethnic cleansing.
Act for Sudan commends the Congressional letter for urging an immediate cross-border humanitarian aid operation given the massive humanitarian crisis in Sudan where the government is using food as a weapon of war by denying access to aid organizations. The letter states, “The people of Sudan are in dire need of humanitarian assistance, including food, water, shelter and medical treatment. The Government of Sudan has shown an unwillingness to allow humanitarian organizations access in order for them to provide these critical supplies and services. Therefore, we urge the Administration to mobilize international support for an immediate cross-border humanitarian aid operation to get the people of Sudan the help they so desperately need.”
According to Act for Sudan, the United States must work with its allies, including those within the African Union, to end the continued impunity of al-Bashir’s government in attacking its own civilians and civilians in South Sudan. The alliance advocates for the United States to take all necessary steps to prioritize protecting civilians and providing necessary aid. Recently, Act for Sudan coordinated an open letter to President Obama signed by 66 organizations across the country asking the United States to urgently address civilian protection and humanitarian assistance for millions of Sudanese facing government-sponsored attacks and obstruction of humanitarian assistance.
Hundreds of thousands of civilians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile face relentless aerial attacks, violent displacement, and starvation due to the Sudanese government’s ongoing military assaults. Residents of these areas are now also experiencing additional ground attacks as the rainy season has ended and the government has activated militias and ground equipment that were staged for deployment. Further, the government is denying humanitarian aid access to these vulnerable men, women and children as well as the IDPs who fled Abyei months ago. In Darfur, civilians continue their years of living in insecurity and under government oppression and attack.
Act for Sudan is an alliance of American citizen activists and Sudanese U.S. residents who advocate for an end to genocide and mass atrocities in Sudan. Act for Sudan is dedicated to advocacy that is directly informed by the situation on the ground and by Sudanese people who urgently seek protection, justice, and peace. For more information please visit www.actforsudan.org.