This post appeared today on the Huffington Post.
Yesterday, a coalition of anti-genocide advocacy organizations announced the launch of a bold new campaign called Sudan Now: Keep the Promise. The campaign will challenge President Barack Obama and top U.S. administration officials to live up to their campaign and political promises by taking strong and immediate action to help end the international crisis in Sudan and bring a lasting peace to the people of that country. Members of the coalition include Humanity United, the Enough Project, Stop Genocide Now, and Investors Against Genocide.
The situation in Sudan is urgent: Nearly 3 million Darfuris living in camps face the threat of rape and aid cut-offs. The country’s president is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, torture and attacks against civilian populations. And a return to full-scale North-South civil war looms as the nation prepares for a vote on bifurcation of the country in 2011.
As part of the campaign’s launch, a series of print and online advertisements will appear in national publications beginning today. The advertisements feature statements made by President Obama, Vice President Biden, and Secretary Clinton, which focused on applying “real pressure” to the government of Sudan. (Check out all the ads here, here, here, and here.) In sharp contrast, the U.S. administration’s current approach, according seems to favor incentives and concessions over strong, comprehensive action.
In addition to the ads, the coalition will launch a new Web site, SudanActionNow.com as well as a strong social media presence to complement, amplify and reinvigorate efforts already under way by the advocacy community, which has for years been working to help bring lasting peace to Sudan.
“There has never been a more critical time in Sudan’s history, nor a more acute opportunity for the U.S. to lead a bolder path forward, than right now,” said Randy Newcomb, president and CEO of Humanity United, a Silicon Valley-based philanthropic organization and founding member of the coalition. “The advocacy community can help keep pressure on President Obama to ensure that he and his administration officials are pursuing the best possible path to peace—one that is comprehensive in approach, long-term in vantage point, and one that is mindful of the lessons of history and does not repeat the errors of past efforts which have tried to help create peace for the people of Sudan.”
With the U.S. administration planning to release its major policy review on Sudan soon, we call on President Obama to:
- Lead a more effective and urgent peace process for Darfur;
- Build an international coalition for strict implementation of the North-South peace deal; and
- Implement a policy that creates real consequences for those in Sudan who continue to attack civilians, block life-saving aid, undermine peace, and obstruct justice.
Sudan Now members believe that the best chance for peace lies in crafting a policy that carefully balances incentives for Sudan’s political leaders with unequivocal consequences for non-compliance. “Sustained pressure backed by meaningful and focused consequences is the only tool that has moved Sudanese President al-Bashir and his National Congress Party during the 20 years of its authoritarian rule in Sudan,” said John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project. “This was the approach President Obama advocated as a candidate and this is the course he should return to with a comprehensive policy focused on nationwide peace.”