AMID REPORTS OF ETHNIC CLEANSING, SUDAN ACTIVISTS REQUEST ESCALATED ACTION

Citing responsibility to protect, rights groups issue open letter to President Obama

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CITIES NATIONWIDE – July 19, 2011 – Amid reports of government-sponsored aerial bombardment of civilians, summary door-to-door executions and evidence of mass graves in Southern Kordofan, 54 human rights and anti-genocide organizations in 27 states have issued an open letter to President Obama asking for limited military action to destroy carefully selected military assets of the government of Sudan. The organizations represent U.S. citizens and members of the diaspora from all parts of Sudan, including Darfur and the Nuba Mountains, and from the Republic of South Sudan. This letter is the first broad-based call by activists for a military response. The letter was also signed by leading genocide scholars, Eric Reeves, Samuel Totten and Daniel Jonah Goldhagen.

The letter states, “It is time for significantly escalated action by the United States consistent with the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, for both The Republic of South Sudan and the marginalized people of Sudan. Condemnations of new war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide are necessary, but not sufficient. We strongly believe that only concrete, escalated action will change the calculations of the government of Sudan and reverse the pattern of grave crimes, human rights abuses and humanitarian crises.”

According to the letter, “recent events in Darfur, Abyei and Southern Kordofan prove that the government of Sudan is continuing to use the same deadly methods that it has employed for years against its own people: attacking civilians on a broad scale with its army, militia, and air force; limiting and blocking humanitarian assistance to millions displaced by attacks; and focusing the attention of the west on negotiations that are not honored and the struggles of providing humanitarian assistance.”

If warnings by the United States to end ethnic cleansing and to allow humanitarian access continue to go unheeded, the letter calls for the use of selective and limited force, such as the use of drones or cruise missiles, to destroy a significant Sudanese military asset deployed against civilians, with the potential of more strikes to come if civilians continue to be harmed. The letter also calls for the United States to deliver anti-aircraft capability to help South Sudan defend itself against the government of Sudan.

“We believe that even the first one or two limited and selective military actions may be sufficient to demonstrate that the U.S. is committed to delivering consequences for grave human rights violations by the government of Sudan,” states Martina Knee, Executive Director of the San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition, and a spokeswoman for the signatories to the letter.

The activists’ call echoes the words of U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, in a 2006 PBS interview. She stated, “A credible threat of the use of force would change the calculus in Khartoum… Right now, they’re assuming that we’re prepared to negotiate our position away, which apparently we are, and that the international community and the United States, despite our rhetoric, is not serious about protecting civilians.”

Sudan experts including Reeves, in recent articles, and Roger Winter, former Special Representative on Sudan, U.S. Department of State, in his recent testimony to Congress, have called for military action to stop the brutal onslaught by the Khartoum regime. Richard Williamson, former special envoy to Sudan under President George W. Bush, wrote in a November 2010 opinion piece in Foreign Policy magazine, “The United States must make a credible threat that it will employ retaliatory actions against those who ignite renewed war, perhaps even using missiles to take out strategic targets.”

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Full text of letter

July 19, 2011

President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear President Obama,

Recent events in Darfur, Abyei and Southern Kordofan prove that the government of Sudan is continuing to use the same deadly methods that it has employed for years against its own people: attacking civilians on a broad scale with its army, militia, and air force; limiting and blocking humanitarian assistance to millions displaced by attacks; and focusing the attention of the west on negotiations that are not honored and the struggles of providing humanitarian assistance.

It is time for significantly escalated action by the United States consistent with the Responsibility to Protect doctrine, for both The Republic of South Sudan and the marginalized people of Sudan. Condemnations of new war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide are necessary, but not sufficient. We strongly believe that only concrete, escalated action will change the calculations of the government of Sudan and reverse the pattern of grave crimes, human rights abuses and humanitarian crises.

In addition to applying increased diplomatic and economic pressures on Sudan, we call on you to take the following decisive steps:

  • Clearly align the U.S. as supporting South Sudan and make a public commitment to help ensure its success, including providing military equipment. Immediately demonstrate the U.S. commitment by planning for and, as soon as possible, delivering anti-aircraft capability to help South Sudan defend itself against the government of Sudan.
  • Warn the government of Sudan to stop the brutal ethnic cleansing ongoing in Sudan, to cease offensive military operations against civilians, to halt the deployment and attacks by the army and militia in Darfur and Southern Kordofan, and to allow unfettered humanitarian access to those in need.
  • If the warning is not heeded, employ selective and limited force, such as the use of drones or cruise missiles, to destroy a significant Sudanese military asset deployed against civilians, such as a MiG or Sukhoi jet, Antonov bomber, attack helicopter, or multiple rocket launcher. Each time such a carefully selected military target is destroyed, it will serve as a fresh warning of the potential of more to come.

Mr. President, the current mass atrocities against civilians in Sudan are part of a long-standing pattern of behavior by the government of Sudan. In your campaign for President, you promised to not turn a blind eye to slaughter. We ask you now to fulfill that promise.

Sincerely,

Americans Against the Darfur Genocide
Nikki Serapio, Director
Washington, DC

Beja Congress, Greater Washington D.C. Chapter
Ibrahim Ahmed, Representative
Sterling, Virginia

Brooklyn Coalition for Darfur & Marginalized Sudan
Laura Limuli, Coordinator
Brooklyn, New York

CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center
Eva Kor, Founder, Holocaust Survivor
Terre Haute, Indiana

Change the world. It just takes cents
Sara Kornfeld, Project founder/educator
Denver, Colorado

Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness and Action
Roz Duman, Founder/Director
Denver, Colorado

Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy
Mohamed Yahya, Executive Director
Falls Church, Virginia

Daniel Jonah Goldhagen
Author, Political Scientist, Genocide Scholar
Cambridge, Massachusetts

Darfur Action Group–Northwest Bronx/Yonkers
Gene Binder, Member – Steering Committee
Bronx/Yonkers, New York

Darfur and Beyond
Cory Williams, Co-Founder
Phoenix, Arizona

Darfur Community Organization
Bakheit A Shata, Founder/Executive Director
Omaha, Nebraska

Darfur Interfaith Network
Martha Boshnick, co-chair
Washington, DC

Darfur Reconciliation and Development Organization
Adeeb Yousif, Director
Elizabeth, New Jersey

Darfur People’s Association of New York
Ahmat Nour, President
Brooklyn, New York

Darfur Solidarity USA
Mohamed Ahmed, Deputy Director Darfur Solidarity USA
Boston, Massachusetts

Dear Sudan, Love Marin
Gerri Miller, Founder
Tiburon, California

Eric Reeves
Sudan Researcher
Northampton, Massachusetts

Essex County Coalition for Darfur
Gloria Crist, Founding Member
Montclair, New Jersey

Fur Solidarity USA
Dr. Adam Mohamed Ahmed Yahya, President
Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Genocide No More–Save Darfur
Marv Steinberg, Coordinator
Redding, California

Hope With Sudan
Jerry Drino, Executive Director
San Jose, California

Human Rights & Advocacy Network for Democracy
Abdalmageed Salih Abker Haroun, Chairperson
Brooklyn, New York

Idaho Darfur Coalition
A.J. Fay, Co-Founder
Boise, Idaho

Investors Against Genocide
Bill Rosenfeld, Co-founder
Boston, Massachusetts

Jews Against Genocide
Eileen Weiss, Co-chair
New York, New York

Joining Our Voices Ministries, Inc.
Jack Slater Armstrong – Director
Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Keokuk for Darfur
Julia Hays, Founder/Director
Keokuk, Iowa

Kentuckiana Taskforce Against Genocide
Phil Nippert, Chair
Louisville, Kentucky

Long Island Darfur Action Group
Nancy Walsh, Coordinator
Farmingdale, New York

Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur
Eric Cohen, Chairperson
Boston, Massachusetts

Never Again Coalition
Diane Koosed, Co-director
Portland, Oregon

New York Coalition for Darfur and all Sudan
Sharon Silber, Co-chair
New York, New York

New York Darfur Vigil Group
Helga Moor, Coordinator
New York, New York

Nuba Mountains American Advocacy Group, Inc
Mario Angelo, Secretary-Executive Committee
Washington, DC

Nuba Mountains Advocacy Group, USA
Amin Z. Ismail, Co-Chairperson
Batavia, Ohio

Nuba Mountains Community of Maine
Boulis Kuku, Organizer
Portland, Maine

Nuba Mountains Democratic Forum, USA
Osman Naway Habila, Coordinator
Kansas City, Missouri

Nuba Mountains Women Community in Ohio
Amira Abdalla, Vice-president
Batavia, Ohio

Nuba Mountains International Association, USA
Nagi Ardeb, Secretary General
Roanoke, Virginia

One Million Bones
Naomi Natale, Director and Founder
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Operation Broken Silence
Mark Hackett, President
Memphis, Tennessee

Samuel Totten
Author and Genocide Scholar
Fayetteville, Arkansas

San Antonio Interfaith Darfur Coalition
Susan Smylie, Coordinator of Advocacy
San Antonio, Texas

San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition
Mohamed Suleiman, President
San Francisco, California

Stop Genocide Now
Gabriel Stauring, Founder and Director
Los Angeles, California

Sudan Advocacy Action Forum
Bill Andress, Moderator
Lexington, South Carolina

Sudan For All
Emad Bukhari, Founder
Phoenix, Arizona

Sudan Unlimited
Esther Sprague
San Francisco, California

The Institute For Sustainable Peace
Makki Makki, Sudan Project Manager
Houston, Texas

THE INSTITUTE on Religion and Public Policy
Joseph K. Grieboski, Founder and Chairman of the Board
Alexandria, Virginia

The Institute on Religion & Democracy’s Church Alliance for a New Sudan
Faith McDonnell, Director
Washington, DC

The Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan: The National Network
Randee Brady, Treasurer
Crofton, Maryland

The Southern Sudanese Community, USA
Natalina Malwal, Secretary
Alexandria, Virginia

The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation
Valentino Achak Deng, Founder and Director
San Francisco, California

Use Your Voice to Stop Genocide RI
Sandra Hammel, Director
Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Voices For Sudan
Jimmy Mulla, Co-Founder and Executive Director
Washington, DC

World Without Genocide
Ellen J. Kennedy, Ph.D., Executive Director
St. Paul, Minnesota

Katie-Jay keeps i-ACT running on several levels. Much of her work entails coordinating partnerships with other grassroots organizations and implementing the campaigns developed by Gabriel and seeing through the details. She graduated from Portland State University with a BA in Sociology and a focus on Community Development. She has previously worked as a community organizer in Thailand, Guatemala, and with grassroots organizations across the United States.

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2 Responses to “AMID REPORTS OF ETHNIC CLEANSING, SUDAN ACTIVISTS REQUEST ESCALATED ACTION”
  1. Aphra Claverie says:

    Please save, by military force if necessary, the people in Southern Sudan and their country which has just been given to them legally!

  2. Julie Ashton says:

    This brutality against innocent people is surely stoppable. If we have the power to do so, we as a nation need to step up to the plate on this.

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