FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Call for Intensified Diplomatic Efforts on Darfur, Justice, Human Rights
WASHINGTON, D.C.– Following the United Nations High Level Meeting on Sudan on September 24, 2010, leading Sudan advocacy groups American Jewish World Service, The Enough Project at the Center for American Progress, Genocide Intervention Network, iACT, Investors Against Genocide, and the Save Darfur Coalition, offered this joint statement:
On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of activists who have repeatedly called on President Obama and his administration to prevent a return to war in Sudan and bring peace to Darfur, we applaud President Obama and his Sudan policy team for making Sudan a top priority and providing leadership at Friday’s United Nations High Level Meeting on Sudan. It is an important step forward that Sudanese parties and a comprehensive group of world leaders have now reached an agreement to implement the final phase of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, or CPA, and address the crisis in Darfur.
In his speech to the high-level meeting, President Obama clearly outlined two paths that Sudan’s leaders might take. If Sudan reneges on past commitments and fosters violence, it will be met with negative consequences and deeper isolation from the international community. But a Sudan which fulfills its obligations — including holding the upcoming referenda on independence for South Sudan and the status of Abyei on time, bringing concrete and lasting peace to Darfur, and holding accountable perpetrators of mass violence against civilians — will be met with improved diplomatic relations, development support, and an easing of sanctions.
The president has taken concrete steps to support the two Sudanese parties in their fulfillment of the CPA. We appreciate President Obama’s personal leadership on Sudan, his decision to provide high-level engagement by members of his administration, and his appointment of Princeton Lyman as a key diplomat to work on negotiations between the two parties. As the administration intensifies its engagement on referenda preparations and post-referenda arrangements, increased independent monitoring on the ground will also be necessary to ensure that human rights violations and attempts to instigate conflict do not take place during this critical time.
Notably, President Obama also highlighted the need to improve security and access for humanitarian groups and peacekeepers in Darfur in his address. We urge the United States to continue to focus a spotlight on Darfur, to appoint an ambassador-level diplomat for the region who can engage full-time in both the political and civil society processes as needed, and to encourage the enhanced engagement of other international actors. The people of Darfur desperately need immediate and significant improvements in security, unimpeded access for humanitarians, independent human rights monitors and peacekeepers, and a shared effort by the nations of the world to protect the people of Darfur and to seek sustainable solutions to the ongoing displacement crisis. No matter the progress made on North-South issues, failure by Sudan to remedy these conditions in Darfur should result in consequences by the United States and international community.
Finally, we welcome the president’s call to the world to not turn a blind eye to violations of human rights. We urge the United States and all world leaders to continue to hold all parties in Sudan — the NCP, SPLM, militias, and rebels — accountable for such violations. One step towards this accountability would be for the United States to work with other members of the Security Council to demand that the International Criminal Court-indicted Ahmed Harun, an architect of the genocide in Darfur and currently governor of Southern Kordofan, be removed and handed over to the Court. Another step would be the immediate imposition of consequences for further attacks against civilians, obstruction of aid and the repression of a free and fair press.
We thank President Obama and his administration for their renewed focus on Sudan. We look forward to supporting the administration in its work toward a peaceful Sudan where all citizens enjoy basic human rights.