Sudan and South Sudan

John Prendergast on CNN International: South Sudan's Anniversary Marks Little to Celebrate

Enough Project's John Prendergast discusses the problems still plaguing South Sudan as the country marks its fourth Independence Day.

Enough Project's John Prendergast discusses the problems still plaguing South Sudan as the country marks its fourth Independence Day with CNN International's Isha Sesay.

 

 

U.S. Special Envoy Booth's Khartoum Visit: Opportunity to Refocus U.S. Policy on Sudan

Date: 
Aug 25, 2015

Current international approach has done little to end the conflict, address corruption, or prevent mass atrocities, says Enough Project

August 25, 2015 – As U.S. Special Envoy Donald Booth visits Khartoum, the Enough Project published a statement today urging an enhanced policy of increased financial pressures on political elites in Sudan, in order to end ongoing armed conflict and suffering, address corruption, and pave the way for a credible national dialogue. The statement also lauded Ambassador Booth’s willingness to meet with civil society organizations while in Sudan, which demonstrates U.S. support of their important work in an increasingly constrained political environment.

John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project, said: "As long as it is able to benefit from conflict and silence opposition, the Bashir regime has no incentive to pursue peace. To escalate financial pressure on key decision-makers in Khartoum, the U.S. government should increase targeted sanctions enforcement against political elites and their financial enablers, support stolen asset recovery and return, and open criminal investigations and possible prosecutions into economic crimes where they have a nexus to the United States.”

Omer Ismail, Enough Project Senior Advisor, said: “During his visit to Sudan, Ambassador Booth should make clear that normalized relations with the U.S. government, including U.S. support for debt relief to Sudan under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, are not possible until the Sudanese government ends its deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians, stops the obstruction of humanitarian aid, and revamps the framework for the national dialogue to allow a credible, genuine conversation about Sudan’s future.”

Read the full Enough Project statement below:

August 25, 2015 -- The U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan’s visit to Khartoum provides an important opportunity to enhance U.S. policy on Sudan. The current international approach emphasizes endless peace negotiations and a sham national dialogue while allowing the Bashir regime to determine—and effectively deny—humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations suffering from state violence. This approach has done little to end the conflict, ameliorate suffering, or prevent mass atrocities.

To create the pressure necessary to change calculations in Khartoum, the U.S. government should employ a much broader strategy of financial pressure to target those individuals and entities that profit from this untenable status quo. Ambassador Booth can use his trip to Khartoum to signal this new approach, as follows:

  • Ambassador Booth should make clear that normalized relations with the U.S. government, including U.S. support for debt relief to Sudan under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, are not possible until the Sudanese government ends its deliberate and indiscriminate attacks on civilians—including aerial bombardment, stops the obstruction of humanitarian aid, and revamps the framework for the national dialogue to allow a credible, genuine conversation about Sudan’s future.
     
  • To escalate financial pressure on key decision-makers in Khartoum, the U.S. government should increase targeted sanctions enforcement against political elites and their financial enablers, support stolen asset recovery and return, and open criminal investigations and possible prosecutions into economic crimes, like pillage and money laundering, where they have a nexus to the United States. During his engagements with high-level Sudanese officials, Ambassador Booth should emphasize that the U.S. government will move beyond relying on existing blanket country-wide sanctions to also focus more targeted financial pressure on the individuals and entities benefitting from corruption and conflict and preventing peace.
     
  • Ambassador Booth should cite recent examples of violent contestation and displacement around gold mines in Darfur and Blue Nile, and he should publicly state that gold being exported from Sudan is conflict-affected, high-risk, and that Sudan’s gold trade is helping to destabilize Darfur, Blue Nile, and South Kordofan, the country’s main conflict zones.
     
  • Following Ambassador Booth’s visit, the United States should remain committed to Sudanese civil society organizations, especially human rights, anti-corruption, and transparency groups. We appreciate Ambassador Booth’s willingness to meet with civil society organizations while in Sudan, which demonstrates U.S. support of their important work in an increasingly constrained political environment. Beyond this trip, Ambassador Booth should also engage more deeply with the Sudan Call, a coalition that prioritizes a peaceful transition to democratic rule through an inclusive and comprehensive political process, by building the coalition’s capacity to advance a coherent economic policy platform and participate in future negotiations and dialogue.

The Bashir regime has survived for more than 25 years by successfully looting the state and its considerable resource wealth and by responding to all opposition with unsparing violence. Past policy approaches have failed to counter the regime’s ability to finance conflict and to remain in power through corruption and patronage. As long as it is able to benefit from conflict and silence opposition, the regime has no incentive to pursue peace.

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For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact:
Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org

Enough Project Statement on the Signing of the South Sudan Peace Agreement

The Enough Project welcomes the decision by the Government of South Sudan and President Salva Kiir to sign the compromise peace agreement, adding his signature to that of armed opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar and other stakeholders, to hopefully bring their country’s brutal civil war to an end.  Read More »

The Daily Beast Op-ed: Saving South Sudan From Kleptocracy

Saving South Sudan from Kleptocracy

South Sudan’s belligerents have signed a peace deal, but it is far from certain that the brutal 20-month civil war is over. If the next steps the parties take are simply to restore the status quo that existed before the war’s eruption, the odds are wildly in favor of a return to deadly conflict.  However, if the implementation of the agreement is seen as a chance to restart the construction of a viable state in the world’s newest country, dismantling the violent kleptocracy that it’s become since independence in 2011, then South Sudan has a chance for peace.  Read More »

Enough Project Welcomes South Sudan Peace Agreement, Warns of Challenges Ahead

Date: 
Aug 26, 2015

 

International Pressures Key to Compromise Deal and Successful Implementation, Say Experts

August 26, 2015 – In a statement published today, the Enough Project welcomed the signing by the President of South Sudan of a peace agreement to end the civil war that has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths since the conflict began in December 2013.

The Enough Project lauded newly unified efforts and pressure by regional leaders and the international community, including direct engagement by U.S. President Obama, as President Salva Kiir added his signature today to a compromise peace deal signed last week by opposition leader Riek Machar. The statement also warned of ongoing challenges, offering recommendations for implementation in support of a sustainable peace for the world’s newest nation.

John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project, said: "Concerted pressure from neighboring governments and the broader international community has been instrumental in convincing the government to sign after missing the August 17 deadline. President Obama’s direct engagement with regional leaders during his trip to Africa in late July was essential in cultivating what had been missing so far in the negotiations -- international leverage aimed at pressuring the warring parties towards peace.”

Justine Fleischner, Enough Project Policy Analyst, said: “The compromise agreement does not resolve the multiple crises facing South Sudan on issues of governance, security, accountability, and economic development, but rather provides a starting point for the parties to come back together and get down to the business of rebuilding their war-torn nation. Only by putting the interests of their people ahead of their own self-interests may peace prevail in South Sudan.”

Lindsey Hutchison, Enough Project Policy Analyst, detailed ongoing challenges: “Both sides contain hardline factions and interests that openly oppose the signing of the compromise agreement and continue to benefit financially from the misery of the South Sudanese people. There will be winners and losers as a result of this deal, and the losers could very well attempt to undermine the agreement, potentially through further violence."

"The successful implementation of the agreement also depends largely on ending impunity for economic and atrocity crimes. The U.S., UK, and other partners should pursue global efforts to trace, seize, freeze, and return the proceeds of corruption back to the people of South Sudan,” said Prendergast, adding, “Those that profit from the war should not be able to do so with impunity, even if a peace agreement is signed.”

Read the full Enough Project statement below:

Enough Project Statement on the Signing of the South Sudan Peace Agreement  

August 26, 2015 - The Enough Project welcomes the decision by the Government of South Sudan and President Salva Kiir to sign the compromise peace agreement, adding his signature to that of armed opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar and other stakeholders, to hopefully bring their country’s brutal civil war to an end. Concerted pressure from neighboring governments and the broader international community -- including the circulation of a UN Security Council draft resolution by the United States focused on potential high-level targeted sanctions and an arms embargo -- has been instrumental in convincing the government to sign after missing the August 17 deadline. President Obama’s direct engagement with regional leaders during his trip to Africa in late July was essential in cultivating what had been missing so far in the negotiations: international leverage aimed at pressuring the warring parties toward peace.

Nevertheless, the challenges of implementing the agreement far exceed the challenges of negotiating one. Both sides contain hardline factions and interests that openly oppose the signing of the compromise agreement and continue to benefit financially from the misery of the South Sudanese people. Provisions for economic transparency and accountability contained in the agreement directly threaten the kleptocratic system of governance, the entrenched patronage networks, and the opaque business transactions that have provided the warring parties with the funds necessary to sustain the war effort on the ground.  There will be winners and losers as a result of this deal, and the losers could very well attempt to undermine the agreement, potentially through further violence.   

In order to ensure the agreement is signed in good faith and implemented accordingly, the regional and international communities must maintain their diplomatic and financial pressure on both sides, including the credible threat of targeted sanctions and other diplomatic and financial measures. Steps must be taken to ensure potential spoilers are denied access to material and financial support in the region, including those that have recently defected from the armed opposition and have based themselves in Khartoum. Uganda must also withdraw its troops based on the timetable outlined in the agreement. The U.N. Security Council should urgently adopt a global arms embargo to stem the flow of weapons and ammunition to the rival parties and allow for the imposition of secondary sanctions designations against those that facilitate arms transfers and profit directly from the civil war. Regional enforcement is key and should be closely monitored by the UN Panel of Experts.

The successful implementation of the agreement also depends largely on ending impunity for economic and atrocity crimes. International support for the South Sudan-African Union hybrid court should include legal and investigative teams with experience in prosecuting economic crimes, including pillage and grand corruption. The U.S. Department of Justice’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative should investigate instances of grand corruption focusing on assets, properties, and businesses in the United States. The United States, United Kingdom, and other partners should pursue global efforts to trace, seize, freeze, and return the proceeds of corruption back to the people of South Sudan. For their part, Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia should share intelligence through the Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for Eastern Africa. Efforts to improve their compliance with international financial, legal, and regulatory regimes would increase donor and investor confidence as well.

Finally, South Sudan’s leaders must be accountable to the people of South Sudan. Civil society groups’ participation at the peace process was often drowned out by the demands of the warring parties. Donors must redouble their efforts to amplify the voices of South Sudanese through public opinion polling, support for free media, and assistance to campaigns for financial transparency and accountability based on South Sudan’s existing public disclosure laws. Space for civil society participation during the transition and protections for journalists should be made preconditions for the resumption of normal donor activities.

South Sudan has once again been devastated by war; this time a tragic conflict between the very elites that fought for their nation’s independence. The compromise agreement does not resolve the multiple crises facing South Sudan on issues of governance, security, accountability, and economic development, but rather provides a starting point for the parties to come back together and get down to the business of rebuilding their war-torn nation. Only by putting the interests of their people ahead of their own self-interests may peace prevail in South Sudan. In the meantime, those that profit from the war should not be able to do so with impunity, even if a peace agreement is signed.

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For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact:
Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org

Enough Project Statement on the Signing of the South Sudan Peace Agreement

The Enough Project welcomes the decision by the Government of South Sudan and President Salva Kiir to sign the compromise peace agreement, adding his signature to that of armed opposition leader Dr. Riek Machar and other stakeholders, to hopefully bring their country’s brutal civil war to an end.

Read the full statement below.

Enough Project Statement on U.S. Special Envoy Booth’s Visit to Khartoum

The U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Ambassador Donald Booth, is traveling to Khartoum, Sudan this week. Today, the Enough Project released a statement to the Special Envoy encouraging him and the U.S. government to use this trip to enhance U.S. policy on Sudan by employing a much broader strategy of financial pressure to target the individuals and entities that profit from corruption and illicit financial activities and benefit from ongoing conflict.  Read More »

Special Envoy Booth's Khartoum Visit: Opportunity to Refocus U.S. Policy on Sudan

On August 25, the Enough Project released a public statement addressing U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan Donald Booth’s diplomatic visit to Sudan. Ambassador Booth should use this trip to enhance U.S. policy on Sudan by creating the financial pressure necessary to target the individuals and entities that benefit from pervasive corruption and ongoing conflict in Sudan.

Report Urges ‘Aggressive’ Strategy in Obama’s Plan B to End South Sudan War

Date: 
Aug 12, 2015

 

As August 17 Deadline Looms, Elites Stalling Peace Process Should Face Sanctions, Asset Seizures

August 12, 2015 – As the clock ticks down on South Sudan's peace talks, a new Enough Project report makes recommendations for a threatened “Plan B” to force the warring parties to end a conflict that has left tens of thousands dead and has featured widespread rape, child soldiers, and the burning of villages. President Obama has promised grave consequences if South Sudan President Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar fail to sign a peace agreement by the internationally designated deadline of August 17.

Enough’s report, “Beyond Deadlock: Recommendations for Obama’s Plan B on South Sudan,” calls for the Plan B strategy to include high-level asset freezes and travel bans, a global arms embargo, and the prosecution of grand corruption and atrocity crimes, including natural resource pillage as a war crime.

John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project, said: "With each passing day it looks like a Plan B will be necessary in South Sudan. If August 17 passes by with no agreement, the U.S. government should launch an aggressive diplomatic strategy at the UN Security Council to secure a global arms embargo and impose a second round of high-level sanctions designations against South Sudan's leaders and their financial enablers.

South Sudan’s warring factions have one last chance to end their country’s 20-month civil war and sign a compromise agreement proposed by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) mediators, who are leading negotiations.

The U.S. government has promised serious consequences if the parties fail to meet the August 17 deadline set by the international community. During his recent visit to East Africa, President Obama, warned that the United States is prepared to move forward with additional available tools to apply greater pressure on the parties. He said that if the two sides miss the deadline, “the international community must raise the costs of intransigence.” On August 4, President Obama also warned, “If they miss [the August 17 deadline] then I think it’s our view that it’s going to be necessary for us to move forward with a different plan and recognize that those leaders are incapable of creating the peace that is required.”

"More sanctions are part of the story, but the real game changer in South Sudan will be a transnational commitment to trace, seize and ideally return the billions that have been stolen from the South Sudanese people by their own leaders,” said Akshaya Kumar, Sudan and South Sudan Policy Analyst at the Enough Project, adding, “That money, and continued access to patronage networks, lies at the heart of elite motivations driving the ongoing conflict."

Pressure from President Obama and other world leaders at such a pivotal moment in negotiations has already set in motion the most serious peace deliberations to date. The United States must be prepared to take swift action on the promised Plan B should the parties once again fail to agree to and implement peace. The United States must follow through on the president’s strong words with equally strong action, both unilaterally and at the U.N. Security Council, where so far only six ground commanders —who hold little in the way of personal wealth or assets outside of South Sudan—have been designated for sanctions.

Report excerpts:

  • “Even as South Sudan’s warring parties bitterly debate the proposed compromise agreement, the United States should prepare to take swift action on a Plan B that imposes a direct cost on South Sudan’s leaders who continue to put their own personal ambitions above their obligations toward the people of South Sudan.“
  • “The impact of this Plan B will largely depend on the ability of the U.S. government to garner regional support for targeted sanctions against high-level political and military elites that have significant wealth and assets in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda. Travel bans, an arms embargo, the criminal prosecution of pillage, and efforts to recover the proceeds of grand corruption should also be a part of President Obama’s Plan B.“
  • “South Sudanese people are weary of corruption and conflict at the hands of their own leaders, and support to strengthen civil society in order to hold leaders accountable is necessary. The United States has the institutions, resources, and capabilities necessary to ensure there is a cost for continuing the conflict.”

The report offers 7 key recommendations for an effective Plan B:

  1. Implementation of high-level asset freezes, travel bans, and an arms embargo
    President Obama should request that the U.S. Department of the Treasury prepare dossiers to present to the U.N. Security Council on high-level targets and their financial backers and enablers. If the two parties fail to sign the proposed compromise agreement by the August 17 deadline, the Security Council should be prepared to impose additional designations immediately. Because many of the targets’ assets are in the region, the United States should urge Kenya and Ethiopia to ensure U.N. sanctions designations are enforced. The United States should also support a global arms embargo on South Sudan. Should these measures fail to gain the support of the Security Council, the United States should be prepared to build a coalition of countries that are willing to ratchet up the pressure on high-level officials from both sides, who undermine peace and are responsible for ongoing atrocities.
     
  2. Measures to end impunity for economic and atrocity crimes
    The United States should fully support IGAD’s proposed Hybrid Court for South Sudan (HCSS), including its mandate to investigate and prosecute pillage as a war crime and other serious crimes, including grand corruption.  The United States should offer technical and legal assistance to the court and South Sudan’s existing Anti-Corruption Commission, including specific expertise on asset tracing and financial crimes investigations. The United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and others should also take steps to prosecute pillage cases involving South Sudan within their own legal jurisdictions to ensure that corporations do not benefit from the pillage of South Sudan’s natural resource wealth.
     
  3. Strengthened regional capacity to enforce U.N. sanctions  
    Building on efforts to tackle corruption and money laundering in the region, the United States should offer additional legal and technical support to improve regional sanctions enforcement. The U.S. should prioritize programs that enhance the operational capacity of regional financial intelligence units to identify and freeze the assets of designated individuals. The United States should also urge Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda to submit reports on their efforts to enforce U.N. sanctions as required by U.N. Security Council Resolution 2206. 
     
  4. A connection of regional infrastructure projects to peace  
    The U.S. and Chinese governments should jointly review bilateral and multilateral funds earmarked for regional infrastructure projects in East Africa to assess the feasibility of additional investments given the risks presented by ongoing conflict in South Sudan. This review should make clear that active regional sanctions enforcement will be considered a key risk mitigation factor.
     
  5. Measures to return the proceeds of corruption back to South Sudan  
    President Obama should direct the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI to provide inter-agency support to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative and focus on investigating instances of grand corruption in South Sudan. The U.S. should also encourage Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda to actively contribute to global efforts to trace, seize, freeze, and return the proceeds of corruption to the people of South Sudan by sharing intelligence through the Asset Recovery Inter-Agency Network for Eastern Africa.
     
  6. Amplification of civil society advocacy to increase beneficial ownership transparency 
    Donors should support efforts by South Sudanese civil society groups to advocate for the full implementation of existing beneficial ownership transparency rules and other public disclosure provisions laid out in the 2012 Petroleum Act and the Transitional Constitution of 2011.  Donors should also support civil society efforts in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda to demand increased transparency about the real owners of corporate assets and trusts, as well as information about payments made to governments for mining and oil concessions. At the same time, the U.S. Treasury should revise its own proposed rule on beneficial ownership to include a look-back provision before the final rule’s publication later in August 2015.
     
  7. Greater resources for civil society groups to fight corruption 
    Donors should use South Sudan’s ratification of the U.N. Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) as an entry point for supporting efforts by grassroots organizations to hold their own leaders to account for the misuse and misappropriation of government funds. Ensuring the provision of space for civil society participation during the transition, including protections for local journalists and news outlets, should be made a precondition for the resumption of donor assistance to the government of South Sudan.

Link to the full Report: http://eno.ug/1TtgaLd

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact:
Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606, gh@enoughproject.org

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT
The Enough Project seeks to build leverage for peace and justice in Africa by helping to create real consequences for the perpetrators and facilitators of genocide and other mass atrocities. Enough aims to counter rights-abusing armed groups and violent kleptocratic regimes that are fueled by grand corruption, transnational crime and terror, and the pillaging and trafficking of minerals, ivory, diamonds, and other natural resources. Enough conducts field research in conflict zones, develops and advocates for policy recommendations, supports social movements in affected countries, and mobilizes public campaigns. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org

7 Things That Need To Be In An Effective Plan B for South Sudan

August 17 is the deadline set for South Sudan's warring parties to reach a final political settlement to end their country's twenty-month civil war. Today, 5 days until the deadline, the Enough Project released a new brief outlining the 7 key elements for an effective Plan B.  Read More »

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