This week, the co-chairs of the U.S. House of Representatives Caucus on Sudan and South Sudan began seeking support from other members of Congress for a letter calling for deeper engagement on the conflict in South Sudan. The caucus plans on sending the letter to Secretary of State John Kerry. The conflict has so far led to almost 900,000 South Sudanese citizens driven from their homes, thousands hurt or wounded and 3.7 million people are deeply food in secure. Widespread human rights abuses have been reported across the country. Both forces loyal to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir, and the opposition forces loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar have been implicated in these abuses.
The co-chairs of the Caucus on Sudan and South Sudan, Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Michael Capuano (D-MA), and Frank Wolf (R-VA) invite other Representatives to join the letter to Secretary Kerry. The letter urges continued vigilance and support to end the atrocities and bring about a sustainable solution to the crisis. While welcoming the sustained attention the crisis has thus far received, the letter outlines why the U.S. Government must pursue an even greater role in facilitating and supporting a lasting, comprehensive peace and reconciliation. It calls for enhanced diplomatic engagement, humanitarian support, and accountability to hold perpetrators of grave human rights abuses responsible.
Among other things, the letter calls for "the Office of Global Criminal Justice and Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor to work with the Government of South Sudan to consider the creation of an independent hybrid or mixed special court with both international and domestic representation for South Sudan.The creation of these courts would help hold perpetrators of grave human rights abuses accountable, while respecting South Sudanese sovereign legal authority and building indigenous capacity in the judicial sector. The United States should also consider supporting and fascinating the Commission of Inquiry, as authorized by the African Union."
The United States has the power to be a positive agent for change in the ongoing South Sudanese conflict. It is imperative that all leverage points are used strategically, and that the U.S. remains committed long-term to an inclusive, sustainable, and comprehensive peace process.The Enough Project commends the Sudan and South Sudan Caucus for their leadership on this issue,
If you are interested in signing on, or have any questions about the letter's text: please contact [email protected] (with Rep. Lee) or [email protected] (with Rep. McCaul) by March 2, 2014.