Escalating War in Sudan: Urgent U.S. Policy Responses Needed, Say Rights Groups

Date: 
Jun 15, 2011

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:  Ann Brown, abrown@annbrowncommunications.com, +1-301-633-4193
Contact: Jonathan Hutson, jhutson@enoughproject.org, +1-202-386-1618

WASHINGTON -- The international community must acknowledge that an undeclared war is now beginning between North and South Sudan says Sudan Now, a group of anti-genocide and human rights organizations.

The escalating violence in the Nuba Mountains of the country’s tense border region of South Kordofan is the latest flashpoint in this conflict, but characterizing it as an isolated or localized incident fails to recognize the intensifying conflict across the country. Three weeks away from South Sudan’s independence, the government of Sudan has undertaken military operations on multiple fronts, including the military occupation of Abyei, intensified bombing of Darfur, support for Southern Sudanese militias, an economic blockade of the South, and the most recent attacks in South Kordofan.

“The war between North and South Sudan has resumed due to the offensive military operations launched by Khartoum,” said John Prendergast, Co-founder of the Enough Project. “The current policy of offering carrots to the Sudan government has failed. President Obama should deploy immediate consequences for Khartoum’s escalation, and to provide support to those in a position to protect targeted populations since the international community won’t do it directly.”

“The response of the international community thus far has been mostly rhetorical,” said Mark Hanis, co-founder of the Genocide Intervention Network / Save Darfur Coalition. “As a result, the Sudanese regime has chosen to escalate the violence in South Kordofan, risking a wider conflagration along the border between North and South. Many of the Government of Sudan’s actions—including aerial bombardment of civilians, targeting of populations based on ethnic and political affiliations, and the manipulation and denial of humanitarian aid—constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

The Government of Sudan used similar tactics in Darfur and during the previous North-South war from 1983-2005, says Sudan Now.

“The Government of Sudan appears to believe it can ignore previous peace treaties, use military means to change facts on the ground, and bully its way to more advantageous terms for border demarcation and oil revenue sharing—all without facing consequences from the international community,” said Ruth Messinger, President of American Jewish World Service. “The Government of Sudan must reverse course on all these fronts and the South Sudanese government must prevent any southern retaliation in order to stop the current conflict from becoming an all out war.”

Under these circumstances, Sudan Now calls for the following immediate U.S. government responses to escalation of war in Sudan:

  • Expand existing U.S. sanctions to target the individuals most responsible for the conduct of war in Sudan. Update the existing sanctions regime to enable the sanctioning of anyone who contributes to violence along the North-South border, per existing measures focused solely on Darfur.
  • Map the financial connections between senior NCP officials, the Sudanese military industrial complex, and their outside trade partners, financial backers, and intermediaries. Raise the pressure with credible threats and, as necessary, implementation of financial disruption and economic isolation on any party who contributes to the violence along the border, beginning with President Omer al-Bashir and his top advisor Nafie al Nafie.
  • Working with the European Union, lead multilateral efforts to block dollar and euro transactions against any party who contributes to the violence.
  • Dispatch a senior Obama administration official to Beijing and to engage China to work on joint diplomacy in support of a peace deal and develop an understanding of the need for both carrots and sticks to leverage that agreement, including economic isolation and an international arms embargo.
  • Provide UN civilian protection forces and a monitoring mechanism with access to Abyei, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile after July 9. Civilian protection forces could come in the form of a UN mission with civilian protection as a priority and access to the border regions backed by a flexible monitoring mechanism such as the Civilian Protection Monitoring Teams or Joint Monitoring Mechanism used earlier in the Nuba Mountains.
  • Push for an independent UN Human Rights Council investigation into violence in Abyei and South Kordofan with possible referral to the International Criminal Court where cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or ethnic cleansing are identified.

###

Sudan Now is a campaign led by a group of anti-genocide and human rights advocacy organizations committed to bringing meaningful and lasting peace to Sudan and encouraging strong American leadership and action to achieve this goal. The campaign challenges President Obama, top U.S. administration officials, and the international community to live up to their promises to take strong and immediate action to help end the international crisis in Sudan and bring a lasting peace to Sudan’s people. Organizations participating in the campaign include Humanity United, the Enough Project at the Center for American Progress, Genocide Intervention Network/Save Darfur Coalition, Stop Genocide Now, Investors Against Genocide, and American Jewish World Service.  For more information, please visit www.sudanactionnow.org