Congressional Campaign: Sample Letter and Phone Script

 

Sample Letter

 

Dear (Representative xxx  or Senator Name),

My name is (Name), and I am from (State/District). I am extremely concerned about the situation in Sudan and am writing to you in solidarity with Darfur Women Action Group to ask for your help to urge the Biden administration to hold the military accountable and pressure the Sudanese government to immediately restore to the civilian-led democratic transition. On October 25, 2021, military forces led by Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan staged a coup and deposed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok from power, detained government officials and activists— at least of which 200 remain in detention. The military forces proceeded to dissolve the transitional government. When the people protested, rejecting the coup, they were met with excessive force. As of December 2, at least 43 individuals have died as a result of this force. These numbers will continue to rise if the Sudanese military remains in power. The military has also imposed an internet and telecommunications blockade to prevent the Sudanese people from telling their story to the international community. Our fear is that this situation — if left unaddressed — would descend into a catastrophic crisis, and more people will lose their lives.

Despite adversity, the Sudanese people continue to rise up, while peacefully resisting the military coup. Prior to the military coup, millions of Sudanese people took to the streets to protest the tensions between the transitional government and its military wing and called for a peaceful transition.

The situation in Sudan needs to put accountability first. The lack of accountability and failure to transfer al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court to put on trial for his crimes has led Lt. General al-Burhan to believe that he can disregard the demands of the people and dismantle the democratic transition without consequences. For this, it is imperative that the United States takes an atrocity prevention approach emphasizing accountability to resolve the current crisis.  As a member of the UN Security Council, the United States is also obligated to support the immediate transfer of the three ICC indictees to the Hague, as these cases were referred to the Court through the unanimous decision on the UN Security Council Resolution 1593.

Since the Sudanese people successfully deposed Omar al-Bashir after years of corrupt and genocidal governance, the Sudanese people have been fighting for their freedom and transparent, democratic rule. For this reason, we urge the (Senate Foreign Relations Committee/ House Foreign Affairs Committee ) to urge the Biden Adminstration to take the following actions:

  1. a) Dispatch a high-level official to Sudan to gather factual information and mediate the tensions.
  2. b) Call for an urgent United Nations Security Council meeting to rally multilateral action against any military takeover in Sudan and to avoid a collapse.
  3. c) Lead the United Nations Security Council to send an investigative mission to Sudan to investigate human rights violations and ensure that there is an international presence in Sudan.
  4. d) Cease all collaboration with Sudanese military officials
  5. e) Impose targeted sanctions, freeze assets, and issue a travel ban on Lt General al-Burhan, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemeti,” and other military members involved in the coup until they surrender the power to a civilian government.
  6. f) Investigate past crimes and support accountability for present crimes, particularly those committed against protestors
  7. g) Facilitate the creation of multilateral grantees to oversee the implementation of the interim period in Sudan and develop strong accountability measures for parties involved in the event that they violate or pose obstacles to the implementation of the interim arrangements.

We appreciate the US effort and its condemnation of the coup; however, Sudan needs robust accountability measures to avert a catastrophe. The United States must stand with the people of Sudan in their calls for a civilian-led democracy. As your constituent, I urge you to continue to monitor the crisis in Sudan and move to take the aforementioned actions before it is too late.

Sincerely,

(Name)

Phone Banking Script*:

Hello, my name is (name), and I am your constituent from (City, State). I am calling to ask (Congressperson’s name) to urge the Biden Administration to put pressure on military leaders in Sudan, in particular, Lt. General al-Burhan, to immediately step down and allow the safe restoration of a civilian-led government in Sudan.Since Omar al-Bashir was successfully deposed in the 2019 revolution after 30 years of corrupt and genocidal governance, the Sudanese people have been fighting for their freedom and transparent, democratic rule. The military coup that was conducted on October 25th is a major blow to democratization progress and the prospect of peace in Sudan. With the military cracking down on opponents, signaling its ties to the former regime, and cutting off internet access, the window of opportunity is slowly diminishing. It is time to stand with the Sudanese people as they fight for their last hold on freedom and democracy. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Letter Writing/Email Script:

Hello (Congressperson’s Name),

My name is (name), and I am your constituent from (state). I am emailing you on behalf of Darfur Women Action Group to ask for your help to urge the Biden administration put pressure on military leaders in Sudan, in particular, Lt. General al-Burhan, to immediately step down and allow the safe restoration of a civilian-led government in Sudan. Since Omar al-Bashir was successfully deposed in the 2019 revolution after 30 years of corrupt and genocidal governance, the Sudanese people have been fighting for their freedom and transparent, democratic rule. The military coup that was conducted on October 25th is a major blow to democratization progress and the prospect of peace in Sudan. With the military cracking down on opponents, signaling its ties to the former regime, and cutting off internet access and releasing al-Bashir’s allies from detention, the window of opportunity is slowly diminishing. It is time to stand with the Sudanese people as they fight for their last hold on freedom and democracy. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

(Name)

*List website where people can find there representatives/senators and their contact information


Civilian-led Government: Fulfilling the Promise of the Interim Sudanese Government—Women’s Participation in all Levels of Decision-Making

By Ana Torres

 

Like in any other nation, Sudanese women have contributed to shaping the history of their country, demonstrating outstanding leadership to shape the future of Sudan. However, when it comes to political participation, they have been completely sidelined from meaningful participation in public institutions for decades at the hands of the Bashir regime and his archaic and oppressive laws against women. This, in addition to the long-standing crises and economic disparities, worsens gender inequalities and pre-existing patterns of cultural barriers that promote discrimination against women. Nevertheless, Sudanese women have remained remarkably resilient, as they were instrumental in the 2019 revolution that ousted Bashir’s authoritarian regime. Despite their leading efforts in ushering in a new era for their country, Sudanese women continued to be excluded from the transition arrangement and the peace process in Sudan. The interim government, despite the promise to integrate women’s voices, showed no genuine interest in fulfilling it. As a result, women’s representation in the interim government and implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement were inadequate. 

Even worse now, following the military takeover, the civic space for women to have their voices heard has shrunk significantly. Negotiations to resolve the current crisis in Sudan have also been inadequate, as international actors have not prioritized women’s participation. Women must be included in the negotiations because sustainable change in Sudan cannot be achieved without their active participation. However, to ensure women’s meaningful inclusion and participation at all levels of decision-making in Sudan, a civilian-led government must be restored. Without it, the civic space for women will continue to be limited. Therefore, international actors must hold accountable those responsible for orchestrating the coup and immediately restore a civilian-led government to ensure women’s active participation in all levels of decision-making to achieve the societal change that the Sudanese people have been demanding. 

Sudanese women were instrumental figures in the revolution that overthrew al-Bashir in 2019. News outlets estimated that about 70 percent of the protesters were women who not only marched at the frontlines of the protests but were committed to providing food, resources, and information for other protestors. Yet even with the pivotal role women played in the revolution, this did not translate to adequate levels of participation in the post-revolution political processes. Women were sidelined during the negotiations between the Transitional Military Council and Forces for Freedom and Change in 2019 that led to the interim government. This resulted in low representation of women despite the interim government’s obligations under the Constitutional Charter, which stipulated that women must constitute 40% of the leaders of the Transitional Legislative Council’s members. Article 1.20 of the Juba Peace Agreement signed in October 2020 also states the importance of women’s representation at all levels of decision-making and emphasizes that women’s representation at all levels of power and decision-making must be no less than 40 percent. The interim government did not adhere to the promises made in these documents, as women’s representation in Sudan on all levels remained at abysmal levels. 

The initial transitional government formed after the agreement between the Military Council and Forces for Freedom and Change was composed of an 18-member Cabinet of Ministers, of which only four were women, and an 11-member Sovereign Council, of which only two were women. Thus, the total rate of women’s participation at the outset of the formation of the interim government was 20.6 percent. Tragically, these numbers decreased rather than increased as the transitional period continued. The Juba Peace Agreement led to the reshuffle of the interim government, as it required both the Cabinet of Ministers and Sovereign Council to incorporate rebels into leadership positions. Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok’s cabinet also increased the number of cabinet members to 25. The Sovereign Council added three more seats for the rebels, creating a 14-member council. Yet, despite the increase in political leaders within the interim government, the number of women within it remained the same. Then in May 2021, one of the two women serving on the Sovereign Council, Aisha Musa El-Said, resigned, accusing the military component of the transitional government of sidelining civilian voices. Such developments decreased women’s participation in the interim government from 20.6 percent to 12 percent. Similarly, women’s participation remained low on the regional level, as only two women were appointed as governors out of the 18 states in Sudan. This means that total women’s participation at the regional level remained a pathetic 11 percent. 

Despite these challenges, Sudanese women remained remarkably resilient, as they continuously demanded the interim government fulfill its obligation to ensure their full and meaningful participation in all levels of decision-making. For instance, after Prime Minister Hamdok announced the 18 new state governors last year, women protested against the low levels of their representation in high-level government positions and demanded a commitment to the agreed-upon participation rate of 40 percent. In addition, the Darfuri women that took part in the Juba Peace Agreement negotiations accused the interim Sudanese government, Peace Commission, and rebel movements of violating the Juba Peace Agreement’s provision on the representation of women in governance. Unfortunately, the interim government continued to fail Sudanese women by not keeping its promise and adhering to the agreement. 

Now, with the military takeover, the civic space for women has severely shrunk, making it nearly impossible for women to make their voices heard. Although an agreement between the Sudanese military and Prime Minister Hamdok was reached, this agreement has not led to the restoration of a civilian-led government. Rather, the agreement legitimizes the military coup and extends the power of the military over the political transition, undermining any progress made towards the meaningful inclusion of women. While the military was supposed to transfer power to the civilian-led government on November 17, 2021, the agreement between Prime Minister Hamdok and the military modified this timeframe, handing power to the military over the civilian-led government until elections will supposedly be held in 2023. This is extremely concerning because, without a clear timeframe, the military can continue holding overwhelming power over the political transition, resulting in the continued exclusion of women from decision-making. 

Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) has taken an institutional approach to combat women’s exclusion and strongly advocates for women’s inclusion at all levels of decision-making in Sudan. For this, DWAG has developed a document entitled, “Strategic Framework for Women’s Participation and Empowerment in Sudan,” which analyzes and addresses women’s issues on the basis of three principles: protection, prevention, and participation. DWAG hopes the Strategic Framework will serve as a guide for a National Action Plan to establish equal participation and to secure the protection of women and girls’ human rights. Further, the Strategic Framework creates the foundation that will allow women from across Sudan to work together to mainstream their agenda into public institutions in order for meaningful change to take place. 

To accomplish this, international actors must pressure the military to restore the civilian-led government that can adopt an institutional approach to women’s inclusion in all levels of decision-making. Therefore, international actors must implement strong measures such as targeted sanctions, travel bans, and asset freezing on General al-Burhan, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemeti,” and other military members until they surrender to a civilian-led government. It is only with a civilian-led government that the demands of women and women-led civil society organizations—particularly those from historically marginalized and conflict-affected communities—will be heard and the promises of the interim government be fulfilled. The inclusion of women in governance would guarantee a Sudanese government that is more unified, representative, and able to tackle the challenges that all people around the country face. 

Sudanese women have demonstrated time and time again that their leadership is critical in affecting societal change and that they must be equally included in the transformation of their country. Thus, when a truly civilian-led government is implemented in Sudan, it must look beyond meeting the 40 percent quota and create a strong civic space where women can have their voices heard; merely meeting the quota is not enough. International and regional actors working in Sudan must also make women’s inclusion a prerequisite for any support or collaboration in Sudan. Furthermore, empowering women civil society leaders and providing them with the tools, access to communication and technology, and economic empowerment must be the foundation for all interventions. These efforts will enable women to bring their voices to the center of decision-making and collectively work for the transformation of Sudan and foster sustainable social change. With women’s active participation in the transition, Sudan will finally undergo the societal change necessary to truly lead the country to a democratic and peaceful future.

Ana Torres is a recent graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, with a B.A. in Political Science with a specialization in International Relations and a minor in Human Rights. She is currently the Outreach and Partnership Building Intern for Darfur Women Action Group.


Letter to the United Nations Security Council Members for Accountability and the Immediate Restoration of a Civilian-led Government in Sudan

H.E. Ambassador Juan Ramón de la Fuente 

Representative to the United Nations 

Mexico Mission to the United Nations 

2 United Nations Plaza, 28th Floor 

New York, NY 10017 United States 

Cc: All Member States of the United Nations Security Council 

Stand with the People of Sudan 

For Accountability and the Immediate Restoration of a Civilian-led Government in Sudan

Your H.E. Ambassador de la Fuente: 

Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) and the undersigned civil society leaders are writing to you to express their grave concern about the military takeover in Sudan and its implication on the safety and security of vulnerable civilians. We are further concerned about attacks on peaceful protesters and the closure of internet and phone services in Sudan, constituting yet more grave violations of the Sudanese people’s rights. Despite the reinstation of Prime Minster Hamdok to his pre-coup position, the Sovereign Council has not followed through with what they have agreed upon in the Interim Constitution—to transfer power to the civilian-led government by the end of their term, November 17, 2021. We believe accountability for orchestrating a coup and the transfer of power to a civilian-led government must not be compromised. 

The September 21st coup attempt intensified tensions between the civilian and military factions of the Sudanese interim government, culminating in yet another desperate power move on behalf of the military apparatus. On the morning of October 25, 2021, the military staged a coup, placing Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok under arrest, later moving him to an unknown location after his refusal to support the military takeover. General al-Burhan’s actions are unacceptable and in violation of the Interim Constitution, International Human Rights, and Humanitarian Laws promoted by the Security Council. 

After news of the coup spread, crowds immediately gathered in the streets to protest in rejection of the coup. However, the military and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) responded by patrolling the area with a heavy military presence in various areas across Sudan and using brutal force against civilians. Thus far, at least 39 people have been reportedly killed and more than 512 injured. Moreover, internet and phone services have been disrupted or unavailable in Khartoum and across Sudan, and roads and bridges connecting Khartoum with the rest of Sudan have been closed, making it more difficult to access information. The internet shutdown has put more people at risk as they face attacks and cannot reach out for help or emergency assistance. We are worried that with no internet or phone service in Sudan, regions of high risk, such as Darfur and South Kordofan, with millions out of their homes, face an even greater risk of violence as the news of recent attacks having already been reported.

DAWG and the undersigned civil society leaders are also extremely concerned over the dissolution of the government, including state governors, which created lawlessness that further endangers the lives of millions of people, particularly those who dare to protest and those vulnerable people living in internally displaced camps for near two decades in Darfur and two other areas. We are further concerned about General al-Burhan’s remarks emphasizing close relations with the RSF, which further legitimizes this force involved in the genocide in Darfur. We fear that this will embolden them to continue their genocidal campaign to eradicate the people of Darfur as the RSF already continues to attack civilians. In the first seven months of 2021 alone, the RSF and Arab militias have been explicitly responsible for 388 civilian casualties in Darfur. Thus, the military takeover will obviously lead to more insecurity and heighten displacement, further deteriorating the humanitarian situation. 

As the people of Sudan and we at DWAG and the undersigned civil society leaders are familiar with the military rule and its history of human rights violations, we have repeatedly warned the international community not to trust the Sudanese military leaders who have been implicated in previous crimes. We have implored the United Nations Security Council not to withdraw the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). Additionally, DWAG consistently urged the United Nations Security Council to pressure the interim government to surrender al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court and be held accountable for his crimes. Unfortunately, the failure of the international community to take any of these actions seriously has led General al-Burhan to believe that he can disregard the demands of the people and dismantle the democratic transition without consequences. Orchestrating a coup while unlawfully arresting government officials and endangering the lives of millions is a grave crime that should have shocked the world and galvanized both regional and international leaders to hold the military in Sudan accountable. We greatly appreciate the several statements from regional and global actors condemning the coup, but given the severe threat in Sudan, words are not enough to avert a collapse. In order to avert a catastrophe, the United Nations Security Council must take immediate action to hold General al-Burhan and others accountable for their criminal actions and restore the civilian-led government as it was stipulated in the Interim Constitution. 

This coup has destroyed all the gains the people of Sudan have built in the last two years to rebuild their nation. It is time for the international community to listen to the Sudanese people’s demands. We believe that the United Nations Security Council members are that voice of conscience that can speak for the people of Sudan in these times of their great suffering and need. The international community has invested so much in bringing about peace in Sudan, and military leaders must be held accountable for draining such investment. If the international community does not take immediate action to ensure the restoration of a civilian government in Sudan, the possibility of achieving peace and stability will be sabotaged by the former regime’s affiliates. Therefore, DWAG and the undersigned civil society leaders implore the United Nations Security Council to immediately address the current situation before it descends Sudan into chaos that will not only affect the prospect of peace and stability in Sudan but in the whole of Eastern Africa and the continent’s horn as well.

DWAG and the undersigned civil society leaders call upon the United Nations Security Council to take the following actions: 

  • Reject the military coup and call for the immediate restoration of a civilian government.
  • Maintain sanctions and arms embargo on Sudan and impose targeted sanctions (including a travel ban and freezing assets) on General al-Burhan, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemeti,” and all officials and other military members involved in the coup.
  • Dispatch an independent and high-level mission to Sudan to gather factual information and monitor the situation and restore peace in Sudan. 
  • Cease all collaboration with Sudanese military officials until they surrender the power to a civilian government. 
  • Authorize a United Nations force to protect civilians, particularly in Darfur, Blue Nile, South Kordofan, and Khartoum throughout the remainder of the interim period.
  • Demand the immediate surrender of al-Bashir, Haroun, and Hussein to The Hague to hold them accountable for their crimes against the people of Darfur. 

We believe now more than ever that a civilian-led government and criminal accountability are the only way forward to establish the foundation for democracy and transform Sudan. The United Nations Security Council must prioritize accountability and the safe restoration of a civilian government in Sudan. Without it, there cannot be peace nor democracy in Sudan. The Sudanese people have demanded a civilian government, justice, and security. The United Nations Security Council has the tools at hand to leverage and ensure that these demands are met in order to bring change to Sudan. 

DWAG and the undersigned civil society leaders appreciate the role of the United Nations Security Council and its efforts to mediate peace and promote stability in Sudan. We will be grateful for your kind consideration. 

Sincerely, 

The undersigned, 

Niemat Ahmadi, President, Darfur Women Action Group — Washington D.C., USA

Eileen Weiss, New York Coalition for Sudan —New York, USA 

Gregory Stanton, Founder and President, Genocide Watch — Virginia, USA

Peter Van Arsdale, Co-chair, Natural Disaster Response Committee, Rotary International — Illinois, USA

Mohamed Hamid, Global Ambassador, Darfur Women Action Group — Rome, Italy

Maria Kisumbi, Senior Advisor, Policy & Government Relations, Humanity United — Washington D.C., USA 

Rupert Skilbeck, Director, REDRESS — London, United Kingdom 

Dr. Hashim Eltinay, Salaam Sudan — Washington D.C., USA 

Dr. Mahmoud Draima, President, Darfur Association of North America — Baton Rouge, USA

Mohamed Yassin Khalifa, Educator & Human Rights Activist — Cambridge, USA

Amber Maze, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Crane Center for Mass Atrocity Prevention — Indiana, USA 

Bakhiet Shata, Director, Darfur Community Association — Omaha, USA

Martha Boshnick, Co-chair, Darfur Interfaith Network — Bethesda, USA

Hagir Elsheikh, CEO, HSE Staffing Agency LLC — Pennsylvania, USA 

Dr. Beckry Abdel-Magid, Professor, Composite Materials Engineering — Minnesota, USA

Tamador Gibreel, Sudan Human Rights Network — Washington D.C., USA

Kamala B. E. Osman, Sudan Human Rights Network — Texas, USA


Letter to the U.S Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken for Accountability and the Immediate Restoration of a Civilian-led Government in Sudan

To: The United States Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken 

US Department of State 

2201 C St., NW 

Washington, DC 20520 

Stand with the People of Sudan 

For Accountability and the Immediate Restoration of a Civilian-led Government in Sudan

Dear Secretary of State Blinken: 

Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) and the undersigned civil society leaders are writing to you to express their grave concern about the military takeover in Sudan and its implication on the safety and security of vulnerable civilians. We are further concerned about attacks on peaceful protesters and the closure of the internet and phone services in Sudan, which constitute another grave violation of the Sudanese people’s rights. Despite the reinstation of Prime Minster Hamdok to his pre-coup position, the Sovereign Council has not followed through with what they have agreed upon in the Interim Constitution—to transfer power to the civilian-led government by the end of their term, November 17, 2021. We believe accountability for orchestrating a coup and the transfer of power to a civilian-led government must not be compromised. 

The September 21st coup attempt intensified tensions between the civilian and military factions of the Sudanese interim government, culminating in yet another desperate power move on behalf of the military apparatus. On the morning of October 25, 2021, the military staged a coup, placing Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok under arrest, later moving him to an unknown location after his refusal to support the military takeover. General al-Burhan justified the coup by claiming that the military needed to protect the country’s security as stated in the constitutional declaration. Nevertheless, General al-Burhan’s actions are unacceptable and in violation of the Interim Constitution. 

After news of the coup spread, crowds immediately gathered in the streets to protest in rejection of the coup. However, the military and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have been patrolling the area with a heavy military presence in various areas across Sudan and are using brutal force against civilians. Thus far, at least 39 people have been reportedly killed and more than 512 injured. Moreover, internet and phone services have been disrupted or unavailable in Khartoum and across Sudan, making it more difficult to access information. In addition, roads and bridges connecting Khartoum with the rest of Sudan have been closed. The internet shutdown has put more people at risk as they face attacks and are unable to reach out for help or emergency assistance. We are worried that with no internet and phone service in Sudan, regions of high risk such as Darfur and South Kordofan, with millions out of their homes, will face a greater risk of violence; the news of recent attacks has already been reported. 

DAWG and the undersigned civil society leaders are also extremely concerned over the dissolution of the government, including state governors, which created lawlessness that further endangers the lives of millions of people, particularly those who dare to protest and those vulnerable living in internally displaced camps for near two decades in Darfur and two other areas. We are further concerned about General al-Burhan’s remarks emphasizing close relations with the RSF, which further legitimizes this force involved in the genocide in Darfur. We fear that this will embolden them to continue their genocidal campaign to eradicate the people of Darfur as the RSF continues to attack civilians. In the first seven months of 2021 alone, the RSF and Arab militias have been explicitly responsible for 388 civilian casualties throughout Darfur. Thus, the military takeover can lead to more insecurity and heighten displacement, further deteriorating the humanitarian situation. 

As the people of Sudan and we at DWAG and the undersigned civil society leaders are familiar with the military rule and their history of human rights violations, we have repeatedly warned the international community not to trust the Sudanese military leaders who have been implicated in previous crimes and implored the United Nations Security Council not to withdraw the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). Additionally, DWAG consistently urged the United Nations Security Council and the United States, in particular, to pressure the interim government to surrender al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court and be held accountable for his crimes. Unfortunately, the failure of the international community to take any of these actions seriously has led General al-Burhan to believe that he can disregard the demands of the people and dismantle the democratic transition without consequences. Orchestrating a coup while unlawfully arresting government officials and endangering the lives of millions is a grave crime that should have shocked the world and galvanized both regional and international leaders to hold the military in Sudan accountable. We greatly appreciate the several statements from US officials, including the statement from the Secretary of State Blinken and President Biden condemning the coup, but given the severe threat in Sudan, words are not sufficient to avert a collapse. To avert a catastrophe, the United States must take immediate action to pressure General al-Burhan and others accountable for their criminal actions to restore the civilian-led government as it has been stipulated in the Interim Constitution. 

This coup has destroyed all the gains the people of Sudan have built in the last two years to rebuild their nation. It is time for international actors, such as the United States, to listen to the Sudanese people’s demands. The United States has invested so much in bringing about peace in Sudan, and military leaders must be held accountable for draining such investment. If the United States does not take immediate action to ensure the restoration of a civilian government in Sudan, the possibility of achieving peace and stability will be sabotaged by the former regime’s affiliates. Therefore, DWAG and the undersigned civil society leaders implore the United States to immediately address the current situation before Sudan descends into chaos that will not only affect the prospect of peace and stability in Sudan but in the whole of Eastern Africa and the continent’s horn. It can possibly pose a threat to the United States’ national security as Sudan can once again strengthen its ties with terrorist groups. 

DWAG and the undersigned civil society leaders call upon the United States to take the following actions:

  • Dispatch a high-level official to Sudan to gather factual information and mediate the tensions. 
  • Call for an urgent United Nations Security Council meeting to rally multilateral action against any military takeover in Sudan and thereby avoid a collapse. 
  • Lead the United Nations Security Council to send an investigative mission to Sudan to oversee the situation and ensure that there is an international presence in Sudan.
  • Cease all collaboration with Sudanese military officials and impose targeted sanctions (including a travel ban and assets freezing ) on General al-Burhan, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemeti,” and other military members involved in the coup until they surrender the power to a civilian government. 
  • Facilitate the creation of multilateral grantees to oversee the implementation of the interim period in Sudan and develop strong accountability measures for parties involved in the event that they violate or pose obstacles to the implementation of the interim arrangements. 
  • Denounce Egyptian government interference, including threatening aid withdrawal in the event that Egypt intervenes in the internal affairs of Sudan by backing the military takeover. 
  • Call on allies in the Gulf States to not support military control over the interim government. 
  • Denounce the Russian naval base and its interference with Sudan’s internal affairs.
  • Impose pressure for the immediate restoration of the internet and phone services as fundamental civil rights. 
  • Take strong measures to make criminal accountability for past and current crimes a priority in Sudan. 

We believe now more than ever that a civilian-led government and criminal accountability are the only way forward to establish the foundation for democracy and transform Sudan. The United States must prioritize accountability and the safe restoration of a civilian government in Sudan. Without it, there cannot be peace nor democracy in Sudan. The Sudanese people have demanded a civilian government, justice, and security. The United States has the tools at hand to leverage and ensure that these demands are met in order to bring change to Sudan. 

DWAG and the undersigned civil society leaders appreciate the role of the United States and its efforts to mediate peace and promote stability in Sudan. We will be grateful for your kind consideration. 

Sincerely, 

The undersigned, 

Niemat Ahmadi, President, Darfur Women Action Group — Washington D.C., USA

Eileen Weiss, New York Coalition for Sudan —New York, USA 

Gregory Stanton, Founder and President, Genocide Watch — Virginia, USA

Peter Van Arsdale, Co-chair, Natural Disaster Response Committee, Rotary International — Illinois, USA 

Maria Kisumbi, Senior Advisor, Policy & Government Relations, Humanity United — Washington D.C., USA 

Dr. Hashim Eltinay, Salaam Sudan — Washington D.C., USA 

Dr. Mahmoud Draima, President, Darfur Association of North America — Baton Rouge, USA

Mohamed Yassin Khalifa, Educator & Human Rights Activist — Cambridge, USA

Amber Maze, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Crane Center for Mass Atrocity Prevention — Indiana, USA 

Bakhiet Shata, Director, Darfur Community Association — Omaha, USA

Martha Boshnick, Co-chair, Darfur Interfaith Network — Bethesda, USA

Hagir Elsheikh, CEO, HSE Staffing Agency LLC — Pennsylvania, USA 

Dr. Beckry Abdel-Magid, Professor, Composite Materials Engineering — Minnesota, USA

Tamador Gibreel, Sudan Human Rights Network — Washington D.C., USA

Kamala B. E. Osman, Sudan Human Rights Network — Texas, USA

Letter to the Biden Administration for Accountability and the Immediate Restoration of a Civilian-led Government in Sudan

To: The President of the United States, Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. 

The White House 

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. 

Washington, DC 20500 

Stand with the People of Sudan 

For Accountability and the Immediate Restoration of a Civilian-led Government in Sudan

Dear President Biden: 

Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) and the undersigned civil society leaders are writing to you to express their grave concern about the military takeover in Sudan and its implication on the safety and security of vulnerable civilians. We are further concerned about attacks on peaceful protesters and the closure of the internet and phone services in Sudan, which constitute another grave violation of the Sudanese people’s rights. Despite the reinstation of Prime Minster Hamdok to his pre-coup position, the Sovereign Council has not followed through with what they have agreed upon in the Interim Constitution—to transfer power to the civilian-led government by the end of their term, November 17, 2021. We believe accountability for orchestrating a coup and the transfer of power to a civilian-led government must not be compromised. 

The September 21st coup attempt intensified tensions between the civilian and military factions of the Sudanese interim government, culminating in yet another desperate power move on behalf of the military apparatus. On the morning of October 25, 2021, the military staged a coup, placing Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok under arrest, later moving him to an unknown location after his refusal to support the military takeover. General al-Burhan justified the coup by claiming that the military needed to protect the country’s security as stated in the constitutional declaration. Nevertheless, General al-Burhan’s actions are unacceptable and in violation of the Interim Constitution. 

After news of the coup spread, crowds immediately gathered in the streets to protest in rejection of the coup. However, the military and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have been patrolling the area with a heavy military presence in various areas across Sudan and are using brutal force against civilians. Thus far, at least 39 people have been reportedly killed and more than 512 injured. Moreover, internet and phone services have been disrupted or unavailable in Khartoum and across Sudan, making it more difficult to access information. In addition, roads and bridges connecting Khartoum with the rest of Sudan have been closed. The internet shutdown has put more people at risk as they face attacks and are unable to reach out for help or emergency assistance. We are worried that with no internet and phone service in Sudan, regions of high risk such as Darfur and South Kordofan, with millions out of their homes, will face a greater risk of violence; the news of recent attacks has already been reported. 

DAWG and the undersigned civil society leaders are also extremely concerned over the dissolution of the government, including state governors, which created lawlessness that further endangers the lives of millions of people, particularly those who dare to protest and those vulnerable living in internally displaced camps for near two decades in Darfur and two other areas. We are further concerned about General al-Burhan’s remarks emphasizing close relations with the RSF, which further legitimizes this force involved in the genocide in Darfur. We fear that this will embolden them to continue their genocidal campaign to eradicate the people of Darfur as the RSF continues to attack civilians. In the first seven months of 2021 alone, the RSF and Arab militias have been explicitly responsible for 388 civilian casualties throughout Darfur. Thus, the military takeover can lead to more insecurity and heighten displacement, further deteriorating the humanitarian situation. 

As the people of Sudan and we at DWAG and the undersigned civil society leaders are familiar with the military rule and their history of human rights violations, we have repeatedly warned the international community not to trust the Sudanese military leaders who have been implicated in previous crimes and implored the United Nations Security Council not to withdraw the United Nations-African Union Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). Additionally, DWAG consistently urged the United Nations Security Council and the United States, in particular, to pressure the interim government to surrender al-Bashir to the International Criminal Court and be held accountable for his crimes. Unfortunately, the failure of the international community to take any of these actions seriously has led General al-Burhan to believe that he can disregard the demands of the people and dismantle the democratic transition without consequences. Orchestrating a coup while unlawfully arresting government officials and endangering the lives of millions is a grave crime that should have shocked the world and galvanized both regional and international leaders to hold the military in Sudan accountable. We greatly appreciate the several statements from US officials, including the statement from President Biden condemning the coup, but given the severe threat in Sudan, words are not sufficient to avert a collapse. To avert a catastrophe, the United States must take immediate action to pressure General al-Burhan and others accountable for their criminal actions to restore the civilian-led government as it has been stipulated in the Interim Constitution. 

This coup has destroyed all the gains the people of Sudan have built in the last two years to rebuild their nation. It is time for international actors, such as the United States, to listen to the Sudanese people’s demands. The United States has invested so much in bringing about peace in Sudan, and military leaders must be held accountable for draining such investment. If the United States does not take immediate action to ensure the restoration of a civilian government in Sudan, the possibility of achieving peace and stability will be sabotaged by the former regime’s affiliates. Therefore, DWAG and the undersigned civil society leaders implore the United States to immediately address the current situation before Sudan descends into chaos that will not only affect the prospect of peace and stability in Sudan but in the whole of Eastern Africa and the continent’s horn. It can possibly pose a threat to the United States’ national security as Sudan can once again strengthen its ties with terrorist groups. 

DWAG and the undersigned civil society leaders call upon the Biden Administration to take the following actions:

  • Dispatch a high-level official to Sudan to gather factual information and mediate the tensions. 
  • Call for an urgent United Nations Security Council meeting to rally multilateral action against any military takeover in Sudan and thereby avoid a collapse. 
  • Lead the United Nations Security Council to send an investigative mission to Sudan to oversee the situation and ensure that there is an international presence in Sudan.
  • Cease all collaboration with Sudanese military officials and impose targeted sanctions (including a travel ban and assets freezing ) on General al-Burhan, Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemeti,” and other military members involved in the coup until they surrender the power to a civilian government. 
  • Facilitate the creation of multilateral grantees to oversee the implementation of the interim period in Sudan and develop strong accountability measures for parties involved in the event that they violate or pose obstacles to the implementation of the interim arrangements. 
  • Denounce Egyptian government interference, including threatening aid withdrawal in the event that Egypt intervenes in the internal affairs of Sudan by backing the military takeover. 
  • Call on allies in the Gulf States to not support military control over the interim government. 
  • Denounce the Russian naval base and its interference with Sudan’s internal affairs.
  • Impose pressure for the immediate restoration of the internet and phone services as fundamental civil rights. 
  • Take strong measures to make criminal accountability for past and current crimes a priority in Sudan. 

We believe now more than ever that a civilian-led government and criminal accountability are the only way forward to establish the foundation for democracy and transform Sudan. The United States must prioritize accountability and the safe restoration of a civilian government in Sudan. Without it, there cannot be peace nor democracy in Sudan. The Sudanese people have demanded a civilian government, justice, and security. The United States has the tools at hand to leverage and ensure that these demands are met in order to bring change to Sudan. 

DWAG and the undersigned civil society leaders appreciate the role of the United States and its efforts to mediate peace and promote stability in Sudan. We will be grateful for your kind consideration. 

Sincerely, 

The undersigned, 

Niemat Ahmadi, President, Darfur Women Action Group — Washington D.C., USA

Eileen Weiss, New York Coalition for Sudan —New York, USA 

Gregory Stanton, Founder and President, Genocide Watch — Virginia, USA

Peter Van Arsdale, Co-chair, Natural Disaster Response Committee, Rotary International — Illinois, USA 

Maria Kisumbi, Senior Advisor, Policy & Government Relations, Humanity United — Washington D.C., USA 

Dr. Hashim Eltinay, Salaam Sudan — Washington D.C., USA 

Dr. Mahmoud Draima, President, Darfur Association of North America — Baton Rouge, USA

Mohamed Yassin Khalifa, Educator & Human Rights Activist — Cambridge, USA

Amber Maze, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Crane Center for Mass Atrocity Prevention — Indiana, USA 

Bakhiet Shata, Director, Darfur Community Association — Omaha, USA

Martha Boshnick, Co-chair, Darfur Interfaith Network — Bethesda, USA

Hagir Elsheikh, CEO, HSE Staffing Agency LLC — Pennsylvania, USA 

Dr. Beckry Abdel-Magid, Professor, Composite Materials Engineering — Minnesota, USA

Tamador Gibreel, Sudan Human Rights Network — Washington D.C., USA

Kamala B. E. Osman, Sudan Human Rights Network — Texas, USA

Adding Insult to Injury- Flooding and Climate Change in Sudan

By Ana Torres

Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) is extremely concerned about the several reports that have been circulated in the last few weeks about deadly floods across Sudan. Floods across Sudan have become more severe in the last 30 years. Last year, for instance, Sudan experienced the worst flooding in the country in 30 years. DWAG fears that this rainy season would result in the same or even more devastating situation as last year. For this, DWAG urges the interim Sudanese government and the international community to be prepared to assist those in need but also to ensure the security and well-being of the Sudanese people. 

In October 2020, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) reported that 875,120 people were affected by floods in Sudan, 92,556 houses damaged, and 82,468 houses destroyed. This led to the displacement of numerous people due to the magnitude of destruction caused by the floods, particularly people from North Darfur, Khartoum, Blue Nile, West Darfur, and Sennar, the states hit the worst. The floods also damaged several farmlands, and many large areas of farmland from these states were underwater, compromising food security. The number of people affected by floods is likely to continue increasing as, in the last five years, the number of people affected by floods in Sudan has drastically increased. In 2015, 51,310 people were affected in comparison to nearly 900,000 in 2020. 

Moreover, due to the poor governance of the previous regime, there were not enough efforts taken to mitigate the damage or mitigate future flooding situations. Now, after the overthrow of al-Bashir, Sudan is still experiencing mismanagement of crises. This is due to the fact that, despite a significant number of people in need after the flooding from last year, the funding allocated to respond to the emergency was extremely low. According to UN OCHA, last year, only 15% of the budget needed for healthcare and 22% of the budget needed for water and hygiene needs was allocated. This led to insufficient aid resources for all the people affected and exacerbated the already catastrophic levels of suffering of the people of Sudan, who were already vulnerable due to longstanding crises.  

With the current climate emergency, DWAG fears that the suffering of the Sudanese people would continue without proper management of the crises. A report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicated that heavy rains fueled by warmer air will increase the number of deadly floods across the planet, among other consequences. This is particularly concerning in Sudan as to this day, climate change continues to affect the region as temperatures steadily rise and rainfall remains highly unpredictable.  

Thus far, this rainy season has resulted in several deadly floods. According to UN OCHA, heavy rains and flash flooding have so far affected 10 out of 18 states across Sudan, including El Gezira, El Gadarif, North Kordofan, River Nile state, South Darfur, South Kordofan, West Darfur, and White Nile. Also, the floods have affected over 15,700 people, and over 3,100 homes and an unconfirmed number of public infrastructure and farmlands have been either damaged or destroyed. This is dramatically increasing, as another report from UN OCHA states that the heavy rains and flash flooding have affected 8 out of the 18 states in Sudan and over 12,200 people. UN OCHA continues assessing the situation to confirm the number of people affected and identify their needs. 

The response from the interim Sudanese government and international aid organization is not sufficient to assist those in need. This is because “there are stockouts of relief supplies in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); shelter and non-food items; education; child protection, and gender-based violence.” Additionally, people from the eastern state of El Gadarif who have been displaced and sought shelter in schools are concerned about the lack of aid, including food and medicine for those in need, and called for immediate action from the interim government and aid organizations. It is imperative that the interim Sudanese government and international aid organizations step up their preparedness for this crisis and ensure the delivery of aid to those in need to prevent the mistakes and suffering of last year’s flooding. 

This lack of crisis management from the authorities is concerning, as these severe floods exacerbate the suffering of vulnerable communities such as internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Darfur and in other crises affected regions and survivors of gender-based violence (GBV).

During the rainy season, farmers cultivate their land, but when severe floods occur, the crops are damaged or underwater, leading to food insecurity. This is concerning due to the prevalence of food insecurity in Sudan. Darfur, for instance, is experiencing an increasing prevalence of food insecurity. According to the Food Security Monitoring System (FSMS), 64 percent of IDP households are food insecure in Darfur. However, providing assistance to IDPs is especially difficult during the rainy season, as flooding, heavy rains, and damaged roads lead to a limited humanitarian presence. The resources of humanitarian organizations have already been strained due to an increased number of displaced people throughout the region. Moreover, the flooding also affects the shelter of IDPs. For instance, in South Darfur, the flash floods from July 20 to July 24 hit four camps in the Nyala locality, resulting in more than 1,630 shelters being destroyed or damaged. DWAG fears the instability that will occur during the rainy season will only exacerbate the suffering. 

The effects of climate change are also particularly devastating for survivors of GBV, as the necessary resources for survivors are not available in every city. For instance, in Darfur, these resources are concentrated in the states’ capitals, making it difficult for women in more remote areas to access them due to the costs of transportation and services, stigmatization, and unsafe roads. And, as previously mentioned, flooding, heavy rains, and damaged roads, make it even more difficult for survivors to mobilize to seek these resources. DWAG urges the interim Sudanese government and the international community to take the necessary steps to expand the available services for survivors of GBV to seek health, psychological, and legal services.

DWAG calls upon the interim government to take immediate action to mitigate this crisis. This includes making a public statement announcing their plans and issuing an appeal to humanitarian agencies to intervene and provide relief across Sudan, and follow-up on efforts to meet the needs of people displaced by the floods. DWAG furthermore calls upon international humanitarian organizations, including the UN agencies operating in Sudan, to work toward providing food, clean water, safe shelter, and adequate health assistance to those in need. Only a joint effort by the interim government and international agencies can mitigate the crisis caused by climate change in Sudan. DWAG hopes to see decisive action for the well-being of the Sudanese people.  

Due to climate change, floods would continue to evolve into an emergency affecting the region. Therefore, it is also imperative that the interim government begins taking the necessary steps to ensure the well-being of the people in Darfur and throughout Sudan. Otherwise, floods will continue affecting the most vulnerable, causing more displacement and food insecurity. The Sudanese interim government must begin to invest, raise awareness, and commit to addressing environmental and climate change issues. Without sustainable measures to mitigate the climate crisis, floods will continue to become even more severe, disrupting any progress towards achieving sustainable peace in Sudan and Darfur.

Ana Torres is a recent graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, with a B.A. in Political Science with a specialization in International Relations and a minor in Human Rights. She is currently the Outreach and Partnership Building Intern for Darfur Women Action Group.

ICC Indictees Campaign

As DWAG kicks off our Indictee Tracker campaign to hold the interim Sudanese government accountable to their promise to turn over Harun, al Bashir, and Hussein to the International Criminal Court (ICC), we want to remind our network of their charges and why the immediate transfer to ICC custody is essential to securing justice for Darfur.

The most time-sensitive case is that of Ahmad Muhammad Harun. Harun is charged with 20 counts of crimes against humanity including murder, persecution, the forcible transfer of population, rape, inhumane acts, imprisonment or severe deprivation of, and torture. He is also charged with 22 counts of war crimes including murder, attacks against the civilian population, destruction of property, rape, pillaging, and outrage upon personal dignity. His arrest warrant was issued on April 27, 2007 for crimes committed between at least August 2003 to March 2004. The attacks were carried out by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the janjaweed militia on West Darfur villages (Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar, and Arawala). 

In his capacity as Minister of State for the Interior during 2003-2005, Harun leveraged the “Darfur Security Desk” against the people of Darfur. He also recruited, mobilised, funded and armed the janjaweed to attack in tandem with government forces (including local police, SAF, and intelligence agencies). After his tenure as Minister of State for the Interior, Harun served as Sudan’s Minister of State for Humanitarian Affairs, Governor of South Kordofan, and Governor of North Kordofan before being imprisoned in the aftermath of the 2019 coup.

Harun must be immediately turned over to the ICC so he may be tried alongside Ali Kushayb. Ali Kushayb was a former leader of janjaweed forces who worked directly with Harun to secure the janjaweed with the resources and security to perpetrate the Darfur genocide. He is currently in ICC custody and awaiting a confirmation of charges. 151 victims have been authorized to testify during his trial. However, as both leaders conspired to enable attacks on West Darfur, their victims are one in the same. They have waited too long to see justice. Until Harun and Ali Kushayb are tried together, accountability for the heinous attacks on Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar, and Arawala between August 2003 – March 2004 cannot be fully realized.

Former President of the Republic of Sudan Omar Hassan Ahmad al Bashir has been in Sudanese custody since ousted from power on April 11, 2019. Al Bashir was the first sitting president to be charged by the ICC on March 4, 2009 and then again on July 12, 2010 for crimes committed between at least March 2003 and July 14, 2008 across Darfur. Al Bashir is charged with five counts of crimes against humanity including murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture, and rape. He is also charged with two counts of war crimes including intentionally directing attacks against a civilian population and against innocent individual civilians, and pillaging. Lastly, al Bashir is charged with three counts of genocide by means of killing, by causing serious bodily or mental harm, and by deliberately inflicting on each target group conditions of life calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction. Such conditions of life include contaminating the water supply of entire communities, coordinating government forces and janjaweed militias to threaten villages, and preventing aid from reaching those in need. 

President al Bashir launched a genocidal campaign against the Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa tribes for their perceived connection to opposition movements. The ICC charges him as a primary driver and implementer of the campaign in exercising full control of the government branches and janjaweed militias. Among his victims are thousands of murdered civilians, the rape of thousands of women, hundreds of thousands of civilians forcibly transferred. So far, 12 of these victims have been authorized to participate in the proceedings. DWAG strongly urges for the ICC to work with survivors and bring more victim testimony to the international court for justice after al Bashir is transferred to ICC custody.

Former Minister of National Defense Abdel Raheem Muhammad Hussein has also been in Sudanese custody since the aftermath of the 2019 coup. Hussein is charged with seven counts of crimes against humanity including persecution, murder, forcible transfer, rape, inhumane acts, imprisonment or severe deprivation of liberty, and torture. He is also charged with six counts of war crimes including murder, attacks against a civilian population, destruction of property, rape, pillaging, and outrage upon personal dignity. His arrest warrant was issued on March 1, 2012 for crimes committed between at least 2003 and 2004 across Darfur.

Hussein used his position as Minister of National Defense to coordinate government resources and armed forces to execute al Bashir’s genocidal campaign against Darfur. He actively recruited, armed, and funded local police and janjaweed alike to carry out civilian attacks against the people of Darfur. Hussein was instrumental in the attacks against the Fur populations of Kodoom, Bindisi, Mukjar, and Arawala. Prior to his tenure as Minister of National Defense, Hussein served as Minister of the Interior and Special Representative of the President in Darfur.

The people of Darfur have waited long enough to have their day in court and tell the world of the heinous crimes they endured. Darfur and the Two Areas continue to be plagued by violence and acts of genocide that were initially perpetrated and enabled by Harun, al Bashir, and Hussein. The interim government remains riddled with remnants of the previous administration intent on impeding the restoration of justice. The transfer of Harun, al Bashir, and Hussein is an essential step towards securing the confidence of the people of Darfur and fulfilling their promise of justice. The imprisonment of the indictees in Sudanese custody proves insufficient to the magnitude of their crimes. DWAG urges the interim government to keep their promise and immediately transfer the indictees to ICC custody. The interim government cannot waver in their commitment to serving Sudanese civilians, including and especially the diverse people of Darfur.