FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jonathan Hutson, Enough Project, [email protected],
Andrea Clarke, Save Darfur Coalition, [email protected], 202-460-6756
Joshua Berkman, American Jewish World Service, [email protected], 212-792-2893
Mame Annan-Brown, Genocide Intervention Network, [email protected],
Rights Groups Respond to Today’s Testimony by Obama Administration’s Envoy to Sudan
Why the U.S. Must Exert More Pressure and Hold Parties Accountable to Prevent a Return to Full-Scale War
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a hearing today before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the U.S. special envoy to Sudan, retired Major General Scott Gration, testified on the Obama administration’s approach to Sudan. Four leading anti-genocide and Sudan advocacy organizations — the Enough Project at the Center for American Progress, American Jewish World Service, Genocide Intervention Network, and the Save Darfur Coalition– jointly issued the following statement in response.
The Special Envoy rightly emphasizes the urgency and enormity of issues to be addressed in the brief period before the scheduled January independence referendum for South Sudan. Yet, it is perplexing to hear the Special Envoy maintain that he has all the resources he currently needs to do his job in both South Sudan and Darfur. Since the Sudanese peace process remains stagnant, while risk of a return to full-scale, national war grows and a referendum to split Africa’s largest country draws near, the Obama administration should introduce the consequences and pressures it promised for the lack of measurable progress and continued backsliding on key benchmarks. President Obama should empower Secretary of State Clinton and Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice to provide their personal, sustained leadership in implementing the policy and renew a diplomatic push for peace, backed by pressure-based leverage.
Committee Chairman Senator John Kerry was blunt in expressing concern that the U.S. government needs to do more and more at senior levels to help divert potential disaster. “You need increased leverage,” Senator Kerry told the Special Envoy, noting that the Director of National Intelligence has warned that Sudan is the country most at risk of a new genocide or round of mass atrocities. Through the implementation of its own pressure- and incentive-based policy, the Obama administration could create real leverage in pursuit of peace.
John Norris, Executive Director of the Enough Project, commented, “While it was welcome to hear the Special Envoy condemn renewed Sudanese Government attacks in Darfur for what seems to be the first time, there still seems to be a real reluctance to take concrete measures and impose tangible costs for Sudanese President al-Bashir’s continued abuses — ranging from attacks on civilians to stealing the national election. In order to prevent a return to full-scale, national war, the U.S. must marshal more resources, exert more pressure, and hold all parties accountable.”
“We appreciate General Gration’s honesty today in assessing the dangerous realities that currently exist in Darfur and the enormous challenges that lie ahead for the people of Sudan,” said Mark Lotwis, Acting President of the Save Darfur Coalition. “Before it’s too late and the referendum becomes as disastrous as the recent elections, General Gration, Secretary of State Clinton and Ambassador Rice must begin working with international partners and start putting points on the board. They must put sufficient pressure on all parties to protect millions of civilians in Sudan still at risk of violence, implement the final stages of the 2005 peace agreement on time, and restore the rule of law and democratic governance so the Sudanese people can finally control their own destinies.”
“General Gration’s repeated assertion that success will require a truly international response underscores the need for personal leadership at the top levels of the Obama administration,” said American Jewish World Service President Ruth Messinger. “Our government must send a clear signal that peace and security for millions in Sudan is a priority and that the administration’s Sudan policy of incentives and disincentives will be fully implemented.”
“While we welcome the effort at today’s hearing to raise Sudan as a priority following the rigged elections, Special Envoy Gration’s testimony was short on critical details about the Obama administration’s plans to implement the Sudan policy,” states Mark Hanis, President of Genocide Intervention Network. “We need transparency around key benchmarks if we are going to avert bigger crises as we approach the 2011 referendum.”
Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, northern Uganda, and Somalia. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org
American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is an international development organization motivated by Judaism's imperative to pursue justice. AJWS is dedicated to alleviating poverty, hunger and disease among the people of the developing world regardless of race, religion or nationality. Through grants to grassroots organizations, volunteer service, advocacy and education, AJWS fosters civil society, sustainable development and human rights for all people, while promoting the values and responsibilities of global citizenship within the Jewish community. Visit www.ajws.org
Genocide Intervention Network empowers individuals and communities with the tools to prevent and stop genocide. Currently focused on conflicts in Sudan, Burma and Democratic Republic of Congo, among other areas of concern, Genocide Intervention Network envisions a world in which the global community is willing and able to protect civilians from genocide and mass atrocities. The organization is building a permanent anti-genocide constituency, mobilizing the political will to prevent and stop genocide. For more information, please visit www.genocideintervention.net
The Save Darfur Coalition –an alliance of more than 190 faith-based, advocacy and human rights organizations – raises public awareness about the ongoing crisis in Darfur and mobilizes a unified response to promote peace throughout the Darfur region and all of Sudan. The coalition’s member organizations represent 130 million people of all ages, races, religions and political affiliations united together to help the people of Sudan. Please join the movement at www.SaveDarfur.org