For Immediate Release
October 19, 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Sudan Now campaign, which comprises several human rights and anti-genocide groups, commends the Obama Administration for constructing a clear statement of U.S. policy in support of a sustainable peace in Sudan. However, the Administration’s diplomatic efforts to date have led member organizations to question whether the policy, as articulated today, will be fully implemented in the days ahead. Success will require President Obama, Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton to live up to campaign promises and ensure that consequences are put into practice now for committing mass atrocities and undermining peace efforts.
Randy Newcomb, president of Humanity United, said: “We are glad the policy review has finally been completed, particularly given the urgency of the situation on the ground in Sudan. The Administration said many of the right things about Sudan today. But a sustainable peace in Sudan is more about meaningful implementation than it is about drafting a policy on paper. Peace will require the U.S. to build and lead a multilateral coalition anchored in full implementation of the North-South peace deal, a credible and inclusive Darfur peace process, and a long-term commitment to address the root causes of conflict in Sudan. This will require a more robust and realistic U.S. diplomatic effort than we have seen to date.”
Specifically, Sudan Now members believe that to achieve lasting peace, President Obama and his team must:
1. Provide support for AU/UN efforts to bring Darfuri civil society into the peace process, and become more proactive in working with the Sudanese parties and the mediation to craft a peace proposal that addresses the root causes of conflict;
2. Build an international coalition for strict implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and to counter the growing violence in the South; and,
3. Implement a policy that creates real consequences for those in Sudan who continue to attack civilians, block life-saving aid, undermine peace and obstruct justice.
John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project, said: “The Administration has outlined a balanced set of incentives and pressures for future use. But the time for applying pressure has already arrived. The Administration must be prepared to build and lead an international coalition of countries that will create consequences for any party in Sudan that undermines the peace process in Darfur and the peace agreement between the North and South.”
The situation in Sudan is urgent: The government has launched a new offensive in Darfur and it blocks monitoring efforts of the UN/AU mission; meanwhile, nearly three million Darfuris living in camps face the threat of rape and aid cut-offs. The country’s president remains wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, torture and attacks against civilian populations. And a return to North-South civil war looms in advance of the 2011 self-determination referendum.
Sam Bell, executive director of Genocide Intervention Network, concluded: “The rhetoric of the policy review is thoughtful and well-crafted, but the jury is still very much out on whether this Administration is genuinely committed to resolving Sudan’s multiple conflicts once and for all. Too often, Sudan policy seems like an afterthought. With an independence referendum for South Sudan looming in 2011, the situation demands the President’s personal and steadfast attention.”
Sudan Now is a campaign committed to bringing meaningful and lasting peace to Sudan and encouraging strong American leadership and action to achieve this goal. For more information, visit SudanActionNow.com. Campaign participants include Humanity United, the Enough Project at the Center for American Progress, Stop Genocide Now, Investors Against Genocide and Genocide Intervention Network.