On April 24, 2013, Rep. Wolf (R-VA) and Rep. McGovern (D-MA), along with 22 other co-sponsors, introduced H.R. 1692 – the Sudan Peace, Security, and Accountability Act of 2013. The bill comes at a critical moment: with a humanitarian crisis rapidly unfolding in South Kordofan and Blue Nile, continued unrest in Darfur and Abyei, and instability widespread throughout the country, immediate attention that addresses both the dire fallout and the root causes of these issues is essential.
In remarks in the House of Representatives yesterday, McGovern explained the urgency of the need for new legislation:
Aerial bombardment of civilian areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states and continued blocking of humanitarian relief by the Government of Sudan has led to over 900,000 Sudanese in need of humanitarian aid. And in Darfur, violence continues while aid remains restricted — approximately 130,000 people have been newly displaced in the first months of 2013 alone. Reports by the U.N. and independent monitors have documented ongoing abuses by the Government of Sudan and associated militias that “may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity”.
The Sudan Peace, Security and Accountability Act of 2013 would create a comprehensive U.S. strategy to end serious human rights violations in Sudan, provide genuine accountability for persons who have committed or assisted in serious human rights violations, support Sudanese aspiration for democratic reforms, encourage other governments and persons to end support of and assistance to the government of Sudan, and reinvigorate genuinely comprehensive and sustainable peace efforts that can end Sudan’s multiple crises.
The legislation seeks to do the following:
- Create a strategy focused on all of Sudan;
- Demand free and unfettered access for international humanitarian aid to all parts of Sudan and take steps to mitigate the lack of such humanitarian aid;
- Promote free and transparent democratic reform in Sudan;
- Increase engagement with other stakeholders who have influence over the Sudanese government in Khartoum, such as the African Union, Arab League, and China;
- Create a broad-based sanctions regime to target governments and individuals whose support assists the Sudanese government in committing serious human rights abuses;
- Seek more effective enforcement of existing sanctions including adequate resources and personnel and extending to all of the existing Sudan sanctions regimes included in prior enacted legislation that were specific only for “Darfur”; and
- Provide genuine accountability for crimes committed in Darfur and encourage other countries to expand international accountability efforts to include crimes committed in other regions of Sudan.
It has been ten years since the beginning of genocide in Darfur and the continued developments in the border regions between Sudan and South Sudan are highly concerning; however, this legislation is a step in the right direction towards ending this humanitarian crisis.
Photo: Senator McGovern on CSPAN