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Sudan Stays in the Spotlight on Capitol Hill

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Sudan Stays in the Spotlight on Capitol Hill

Posted by Sally Smith on February 17, 2011

Sudan Stays in the Spotlight on Capitol Hill

Washington, D.C. – This past Tuesday night at the Capitol Visitors Center, the Enough Project and their Sudan Now campaign partners hosted a reception to thank members of Congress and their staff for all their hard work leading up to and during last month’s peaceful referendum in South Sudan.

The organizations used the opportunity to unveil the new Sudan Now paper, A Roadmap for Peace in Darfur, which lays out a plan to “reassess and rebuild a more robust, comprehensive and coordinated Darfur peace process.”

“We need to keep the spotlight on Sudan,” said Sam Bell, Executive Director of Genocide Intervention Network / Save Darfur Coalition. “So much work remains, not just on issues related to the North-South split, but throughout the country.”

On his way to one of the “twice weekly meetings on Sudan at the White House” Ambassador Princeton Lyman, who has been leading negotiations aimed at ensuring that the North-South separation takes place smoothly since August, said he was “grateful” to activists as well as members of Congress for keeping Sudan on the administration’s radar.

“In Sudan, they ask me how I can promise something, and then these activists speak up and influence the administration, and change things up,” said Lyman. “And I tell them, that’s the beauty of democracy.”

Congress was well-represented at the event, with speakers including Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), John Boozman (R-AR), as well as Representatives Steny Hoyer (D-MD), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Donald Payne (D-NJ), Mike Capuano (D-MA), and Michael McCaul (R-TX).

“We don’t do this work because it gets us a lot of votes back home,” said Representative Capuano, a dedicated champion for Sudan and friend of the movement. “We do it because it’s the right thing to do.”

South Sudan Minister Deng Alor was also on hand for the occasion, and reinforced the night’s main message: while the referendum was a huge step for Sudan, we have a long way to go.

 "This is Sudan's chance. A confluence of historic factors means that there is a real opportunity for lasting peace and democracy in this wounded country,” said Enough Co-Founder John Prendergast. “The U.S.—led by Congress and the activists—can help write the next chapter in a way that finally benefits the long-suffering people of Sudan."

Speakers from the Hill confirmed their standing commitment to establishing lasting peace for all of Sudan, a commitment that Enough and our partner organizations will work hard to hold them to in coming months.

Take Action: Sign the petition urging President Obama to follow the Roadmap for Peace in Darfur.

Photo: U.S. Capitol