Editor’s Note: Guest contributor Elizabeth Blackney is part of a new alliance of Sudan advocates. She writes about Act for Sudan's purpose and goals, as well as its first action.
In Sudan, the rainy season has drawn to a close and the Khartoum regime has not wasted a moment expanding Omar al Bashir’s relentless campaigns of violence and forced starvation. Today, hundreds of thousands of people in Blue Nile and South Kordofan brace themselves for more violence as Khartoum forces continue to mount relentless aerial and ground attacks responsible for violent and forcible displacement of innocent civilians. The government is also obstructing the delivery of humanitarian aid. The Enough Project’s Omer Ismail and Amanda Hsiao’s reporting from the Sherkole refugee camp contained horrific tales of systemic rape and slaughter of innocents.
To address the deepening crisis, Act for Sudan, a bipartisan alliance of 45 organizations across the country, coordinated an open letter to President Barack Obama. Co-signed by 66 organizations, the letter asked the president to take swift action to protect the safety of Blue Nile, Nuba, and Darfuri populations. They make the recommendations, as Sudanese civilians have also made, to consider the implementation of a No Fly Zone and/or the destruction of Khartoum's aerial assets utilized to target innocent civilians.
In the letter the groups note:
We are deeply concerned and distressed by the Obama Administration's current Sudan policy in the face of ongoing government-sponsored genocide that has spanned more than two decades and resulted in the death and displacement of millions of people.
The eradication of slavery also is addressed in Act for Sudan's letter to the president. Tens of thousands people remain enslaved in Darfur, Kordofan, and across Sudan.
Act for Sudan is an alliance of Sudanese and American activists with a common purpose—to end mass atrocities and genocide in Sudan. Its guiding values include a commitment to elevate the voices of Sudanese inside and outside of Sudan by viewing expert policy recommendations through the lens of the diaspora and the displaced, and to approach advocacy in a holistic manner, taking into account all relevant issues and regions in both the Republic of Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan. The alliance identifies the policies of the National Congress Party as the root cause of Sudan’s problems and is committed to advocate for what is necessary rather than what is politically correct or expedient. Together the alliance will advocate for the civil, political, social, and economic rights of the Sudanese people, including the opportunity for democratic transformation.
The time for U.S. leadership, working with our allies and the international community, to stand with the peoples of Sudan has long since passed. Sudan's genocidal regime must be finally held accountable or "never again" will become "just one more time."
Act for Sudan. Join us.
Elizabeth Blackney is an author, anti-genocide advocate, and communications strategist.