The U.S. government’s incentive-oriented policy toward Sudan has not achieved its objectives. The Khartoum regime has militarily occupied Abyei, escalated bombing and aid cut-offs in Darfur, and increased support for ethnic militias throughout the South. The process toward normalization between the U.S. and Sudan should be suspended and offered incentives should be supplanted by escalating consequences for government officials in Khartoum and any other party that promotes violence, commits human rights abuses, and targets civilians, said a group of prominent anti-genocide and human rights advocacy organizations.
Over the weekend, the Sudan Armed Forces, or SAF, responded disproportionately to an attack by a southern unit on a U.N.-escorted convoy by indiscriminately bombarding and occupying the contested Abyei region along Sudan’s North-South border. This prompted the civilian population of Abyei town to flee. Confidential reports seen by the Enough Project describe northern-affiliated Popular Defense Force, or PDF, militias fighting alongside the SAF, and the U.N. Mission in Sudan, or UNMIS has condemned “burning and looting” perpetrated by armed elements in Abyei town.
“If there is no cost to the Khartoum regime’s commission of atrocities and to the dishonoring of agreements, then why would anything change in Sudan?” said Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast. “Darfur is deteriorating, Abyei is a war zone, and pockets of the South have been set aflame by Khartoum-supported militias. It is time to impose serious consequences for the Khartoum regime’s use of overwhelming military force to deal with every challenge it faces.”
Photo: Families flee from insecurity in Abyei in March (Enough/Tim Freccia)