FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jonathan Hutson, [email protected], 202-386-1618
As President Makes Crucial Decision on Sudan, Rights Groups Advocate for ‘Powerful, Proven, Effective Policy’
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sudan Now, a campaign led by a group of prominent anti-genocide and human rights advocacy organizations, is running ads in The New York Times and the Vineyard Gazette to influence the president’s decision, expected soon, on the future direction of U.S. Sudan policy. Additionally, a letter signed by 68 organizations is being sent to the president on the same topic. Both the ads and the letter advocate for a balanced Sudan policy that includes both incentives and pressures.
According to Mark Lotwis, President of Save Darfur Coalition, there is widespread public attention on this pending decision. “Millions of Americans, represented by the 68 organizations that signed onto this letter, want President Obama to make the right decision on Sudan. We hope that the president will listen to these many individuals and choose a policy that includes incentives as well as pressures to help bring peace and justice to the people of Sudan.”
The ad placed by Sudan Now in The New York Times states, “It is the time for a powerful, proven, effective policy.” The right choice by President Obama and his administration, according to the ad, “can help prevent what could be the largest conventional war in the world in 2011.”
“The absence of a clear decision by the president has undermined U.S. influence in support of peace in Sudan,” said Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast. “Based on empirical evidence from the 21 years that this regime has been in power, it is only when robust and multilateral carrots and sticks are combined that the international community has leverage to influence the parties in Sudan.”
With just four months until a critical referendum vote that could divide Africa’s largest country, an internal debate within the administration recently ended with a proposal to shift the U.S. relationship with Sudan to one that favors incentives. This potential shift comes at a perilous time for Sudan. In the past few months, the security situation in Darfur has been deteriorating precipitously. Aid workers are being threatened and expelled. Decisions regarding many of the agreements to ensure a fair vote and security following the vote have still not been made.
“The president has a crucial opportunity to revitalize his administration’s Sudan policy,” said Mark Hanis, President of Genocide Intervention Network. “At this moment, when so much hangs in the balance, the president must step forward and demonstrate leadership on Sudan by effectively implementing a policy that leverages both incentives and pressures.”
Sudan Now is a campaign led by a group of prominent anti-genocide and human rights advocacy organizations committed to bringing meaningful and lasting peace to Sudan and encouraging strong American leadership and action to achieve this goal. The campaign challenges President Barack Obama and top U.S. administration officials to live up to their promises to take strong and immediate action to help end the international crisis in Sudan and bring a lasting peace to the people of that country. Organizations participating in this week’s advertising include the Enough Project at the Center for American Progress, Save Darfur Coalition, Genocide Intervention Network, Stop Genocide Now, and Investors Against Genocide.