Editor's note: This blog was written by Enough Project intern Irina Balytsky.
On the occasion of the U.S.-Africa Summit, members of the Sudanese diaspora and U.S.-based Sudan activist groups wrote to President Obama and the leaders of African nations requesting that the plight of the Sudanese people not be forgotten during the Summit.
The letter’s authors praise the Administration’s decision to refrain from inviting President Omar al-Bashir and encourage the Administration to “include the welfare of the Sudanese people” with the Summit agenda of investing in the next generation.
Information about the current situation in Sudan is provided in the letter, stating that there is “no realistic prospect of resolution” for Sudan’s multiple conflicts. In Darfur, the security situation is precarious, with villagers, internally displaced persons, and humanitarian workers being regularly attacked and killed. The number of displaced people continues to grow. In 2013, Sudanese security forces violently suppressed peaceful protests in Khartoum. In 2014, the government of Sudan bombed the only hospital in the Nuba Mountains and deployed the Rapid Support Forces (formerly the Janjaweed militia) in Darfur and the Nuba Mountains to attack civilians and destroy villages. These campaigns amount to concerted ethnic cleansing efforts by the government of Sudan against its various ethnic groups. Internally displaced camps in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile are prevented from receiving humanitarian aid, facilitating a grave situation of hunger and disease. Civil liberties are denied and those who express views in opposition to those held by the government of Sudan are persecuted.
Stressing that the government of Sudan does not honor its agreements and instead, uses them as a “delaying tactic” as part of its methodology to preserve power, the letter’s authors state that approaching Sudan diplomatically is a mistake.
The letter emphasizes that the new generation of Sudanese leaders desire to establish a strong relationship with the United States and other nations in order to contribute to global peace, security, and prosperity. The signatories seek the help of the Unites States and the African leaders in achieving these aims. The signatories request the Administration to use all possible means to convince the government of Sudan to allow desperate populations to access humanitarian aid; to prioritize the disarmament of the Rapid Support Forces and similar militias; to persuade the government of Sudan to release all political and religious prisoners and abide by human rights principles; to support a thorough investigation of UNAMID; to engage with opposition political parties, civil society, and young people to empower them in the implementation of a true national dialogue; and to lead the U.N. Security Council effort in the creation of a Commission of Inquiry to investigate war crimes in Sudan’s many conflict zones. By doing so, the Administration and the African leaders will effectively invest in the next generation of Sudanese who desire peace.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin.