SUDAN ACTIVISTS ASK SENATE TO BLOCK GRATION’S CONFIRMATION TO KENYA POST
In letter, rights groups cite ongoing “missteps” and “failures in diplomacy” in Sudan
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact – Susan Morgan, 617-797-0451
CITIES NATIONWIDE – April 01, 2011 – In advance of a hearing of the U.S Senate Committee on Foreign Relations regarding President Obama’s nomination of Air Force Major General (ret.) Scott Gration to be the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, 33 human rights and anti-genocide organizations representing U.S. citizens and members of the Darfuri Diaspora from 18 states sent an open letter to sent an open letter to Committee Members asking them to vote against Gration’s confirmation. The letter states, “As Special Envoy to Sudan, General Gration has made ongoing errors of judgment, has spoken inaccurately about a range of issues and has alienated many parties in Sudan.” According to the letter, “General Gration’s lack of experience and failures in diplomacy make him unqualified to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Kenya.”
“Missteps” cited in the letter include: Gration’s statement that the 2010 Sudan national elections would be “as free and fair as possible” in spite of conspicuous evidence of fraud; his decision to “de-emphasize” Darfur and “de-couple” the Darfur genocide from negotiations with Khartoum about Sudan’s status as a terrorism-sponsoring nation; his decision to support the Government of Sudan’s “domestication” strategy on Darfur, with its implied policy of dismantling IDP camps against the wishes of Darfuri IDPs; downplaying the dangerous humanitarian conditions and grossly inadequate levels of aid in Darfur which are not supported by the evidence widely available through multiple expert sources; ignoring the terms of the Abyei Protocol of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the “final and binding” July 2009 ruling on Abyei by the Permanent Court of Arbitration; and taking public positions favorable to the regime in Khartoum that were sometimes at odds with the established policy of the Obama Administration on Sudan.
If General Gration were confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, he would have a key voice in U.S. anti-terrorism efforts due to the Kenyan Ambassador’s decision-making authority regarding Somalia. In addition, Kenya is perceived by many experts to be at significant risk of genocide or mass atrocities in connection with its upcoming election. “Given the millions of additional lives at risk in the complex societies in the Horn of Africa, and the implications for U.S. national security, we respectfully request that the Committee work with the Administration to fill this critical position with an experienced, skilled and proven diplomat,” the letter concludes.
Full text of press release and letter online at Save Darfur Massachusetts.