Keep Sudan a Priority – Join Bipartisan Letter to President Obama

Deadline Extended:  12:00 PM Noon, Friday, April 29th –

Keep Sudan a Priority – Join Bipartisan Letter to President Obama

Signatories to date (77):  Jim McGovern, Joe Pitts, Mike Capuano, Michael McCaul, Barbara Lee,Jeff Fortenberry, Eliot Engel, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Alcee Hastings, John Lewis, Danny Davis, Yvette Clarke, Raúl Grijalva, Gwen Moore, André Carson, Krysten Sinema, Maxine Waters, Sheila Jackson lee, Michael Doyle, Earl Blumenauer, Joe Crowley, Randy Weber, Greg Meeks, Charlie Rangel, Stephen Lynch, John Yarmuth, Peter Welch, Donald Payne, Jr.,  Jim McDermott, Gerald Connolly, Suzanne Bonamici, Peter DeFazio, John Conyers, Jr., Carolyn Maloney, Tim Huelskamp, Robin Kelly, Sanford Bishop, Jr., Donna Edwards, Ted Lieu, Corrine Brown, David Cicilline, Seth Moulton, Julia Brownley, Sam Farr, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Anna Eshoo, Bobby Rush, Katherine Clark, Hank Johnson, Jr., Mark DeSaulnier, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Hakeen S. Jeffries, Chellie Pingree, Bill Flores, Alan Lowenthal, Betty McCollum, Dina Titus, Elijah Cummings, Donald Beyer, Jr., Cedric Richmond, Brenda Lawrence, Ryan Costello, Karen Bass, Jan Schakowsky, Chris Van Hollen, Barbara Comstock, Daniel Lipinski, David Scott (GA), Emanuel Cleaver, Frank Pallone, Al Green, Joyce Beatty, Frederica Wilson, Tom Emmer, Brad Sherman, Chaka Fattah, William Keating.

National NGO Support: Act for Sudan, American Friends of the Episcopal Church of South Sudan and Sudan, Carl Wilkens Fellowship, Damanga Coalition for Freedom and Democracy, Darfur Interfaith Network, Darfur Women Action Group, Dear Sudan-Love Marin, Enough Project, Harry Potter Alliance, Humanity United, i-ACT, Institute on Religion and Democracy, International Justice Project, Investors Against Genocide, Jewish World Watch, Jews Against Genocide, Nuba Mountains Advocacy Group-USA, Nuba Mountains International Association-USA, Nubia Project, Sudanese Marginalized Forum-USA, Sudan Unlimited, STAND: The Student-led Movement to End Mass Atrocities, Stop Genocide Now, United to End Genocide — State/Local NGOs: African Freedom Coalition (NY), Beja Organization for Human Rights and Development (Herndon, VA), Brooklyn Coalition for Darfur & Marginalized Sudan (Brooklyn, NY), Darfur Action Group of South Carolina, Darfur and Beyond (Phoenix, AZ), Darfur People’s Association of New York, Genocide No More-Save Darfur (Redding, CA), Georgia Coalition to Prevent Genocide, Hawa Abdalla Salih/Human Rights and Women’s Rights Activist/Recipient-2012 US Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award (Philadelphia, PA), Humanity is Us (NY, NY), Jewish Federation of Greater Austin (TX), Joining our Voices (Baton Rouge, LA), Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur, Never Again Coalition (Portland, OR), Nuba Christian Family Mission (Denver, CO), NY Coalition for Sudan, Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition (PA), San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition (CA), Sudan Advocacy Action Borum (Birmingham, AL), Unite for Darfur (MD), Use Your Vloice to Stop Genocide (RI), World Peace & Reconciliation (Arlington, VA)  


Keep Sudan a High Priority for Leadership and Action

Join Bipartisan Letter to President Obama


Dear Colleague,

We ask that you join us on sending the letter below to President Obama urging him to re-prioritize peace, accountability and protection of civilians in Sudan during his final year in office.  The human rights and humanitarian crisis in Sudan continues to deteriorate. Rape, murder, the burning and looting of villages and mass displacement are, once again, commonplace in Darfur.  Bombing and starvation are the weapons of war used against the civilian populations of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.  And with the attention of the world so focused on other crises, including in South Sudan, the nightmare suffered by the people of Darfur, Blue Nile, South Kordofan and indeed throughout Sudan has faded from the front pages.  The United States needs to exercise its leadership in condemning Khartoum’s actions and coordinating a more effective international response.

Today, over 5 million people are in need of life-saving aid across Sudan.  Violence has intensified in recent years, with at least half a million people newly displaced in the last two years.  USAID’s Famine Early Warning System reports almost 4 million people at crisis levels of food insecurity and warns of increased food insecurity in 2016.  In Darfur, U.N. agencies report extreme levels of child malnutrition, and in South Kordofan, food insecurity is at emergency levels, which is just one level below famine.  These are a result of deliberate policies by the Sudanese government to deny life-saving humanitarian aid to communities in conflict areas.  Violence has also escalated over the control of gold mining, including local mines in northern Darfur, to continue to fund the conflict and its many atrocities.

As you are aware, the conflicts in Sudan have a long history.  As described by Congressional Research Service, rather than forging an identity that accommodated the country’s diverse peoples, customs and institutions, the Northern-led regimes espousing Islamist ideals have powered Sudan’s political history, forcing distant provinces to conform to the Arab-dominated center.  Khartoum chose to exacerbate racial, religious, cultural and linguistic differences.  For over 60 years, the Sudanese government has waged a series of wars, predominantly against “African” blacks, many of whom are Christian or practitioners of traditional religions, as well as Muslims.  Years of fighting in the southern part of the country led to the deaths of 2 million people and eventually the push for the independence of South Sudan in 2011.  But other parts of Sudan have remained under siege. The current regime, led by President Omar al-Bashir, has carried out a campaign of terror and murder against Sudan’s border states so severe that the U.S. government, in 2003, recognized that acts of genocide had been committed against the population of Darfur.  In October 2006, President Bush signed into law the bipartisan-supported Darfur Peace and Accountability Act, in which Congress gave the Administration additional tools to address this crisis, including the ability to sanction Sudanese officials considered to be contributing to the violation of human rights in Darfur.  In 2009, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for President Bashir for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity, and in 2010 it added genocide to the list of charges.  As the investigation leading to the arrest warrant makes clear, the war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide are focused mainly on black African communities and peoples in Darfur, and those same acts have now been spread to other border regions, like Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

As it has in the past, the U.S. can make a difference in Sudan.  But it requires sustained efforts at the very highest level of our government.  To join us on the letter to President Obama, or for more information, please contact Cindy Buhl (McGovern) at; Carson Middleton (Pitts) at; Eliza Ramirez (Capuano); Brandon Batch (McCaul) at; Diala Jadallah (Lee) at; or Diana Cloutier (Fortenberry)




James P. McGovern

Member of Congress


Joseph R. Pitts

Member of Congress


Michael E. Capuano

Member of Congress


Michael T. McCaul

Member of Congress


Barbara Lee

Member of Congress


Jeff Fortenberry

Member of Congress




Dear Mr. President,

Darfur has not gone away. As you know, the crisis has spread to other parts of Sudan, particularly South Kordofan and Blue Nile, as lifesaving aid has been blocked and aerial bombardments have targeted civilians and their crops exacerbating an already dire humanitarian crisis. Across Sudan severe human rights abuses continue.

Public and media attention may have waned, but the suffering of civilians has not. We urge you to enhance the U.S. approach to this conflict, and re-prioritize peace, accountability, and protection of civilians in Sudan in your last year in office.

We appreciate the efforts you have made with the Sudanese government to address and resolve the crisis in South Sudan, and the recent opening of Sudanese southern borders is a welcome development.  Such engagement, valuable on its own merits, must not preclude or overshadow the need for strong U.S. leadership and advocacy on the grave abuses and humanitarian crisis that persist and continue to worsen inside Sudan itself.

Today, over 5 million people are in need of life-saving aid across Sudan including at least 1.5 million who have been continually displaced since the Darfur genocide began in 2003. Violence has intensified in recent years, with at least half a million people newly displaced in the last two years. USAID’s Famine Early Warning System reports almost 4 million people at crisis levels of food insecurity and warns of increased food insecurity in 2016.  In Darfur, U.N. agencies report extreme levels of child malnutrition, and in some parts of South Kordofan, food insecurity may reach emergency levels, just one level below famine. While we welcome the fact that the United States remains the largest supplier of humanitarian aid to Sudan, those efforts are hollow if that aid cannot get to the people who need it most, or if the conflict continues to rage on indefinitely.

The Government of Sudan is directly responsible, bombing civilian targets and blocking or delaying both life-saving aid and supplies for UN peacekeepers. This intransigence is well documented. Violations of UN Security Council Resolutions including the ongoing bombing of civilians are consistently reported by the UN Panel of Experts. Nuba Reports, a local group of journalists reporting from within Sudan, has documented over 4,000 bombs dropped on civilian targets in South Kordofan and Blue Nile since 2012.

The United States has a number of ways that it can help influence the behavior of the Sudanese regime through the use of financial tools at its disposal. We urge the Obama Administration to enhance the current sanctions regime so that is focused to impact the calculations of the Sudanese regime’s top-level officials, by targeting  top level officials, financial institutions and other facilitators of the conflict. Similarly, the U.S. should utilize the good relations that the U.S has with countries in the Arab world that support Khartoum financially, to pressure  countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are investing in Sudan and lending the regime money, to turn off the spigot until true reform and change occurs on the ground.

Additionally, we urge the administration to counter gold as a major source of funding for the conflict in Sudan, allowing it to continue its atrocities.  Please prioritize efforts to encourage industry associations to designate Sudan’s gold as conflict-affected. Gold has emerged as a top revenue earner for the Sudanese government after the secession of South Sudan deprived the regime of oil proceeds. The bulk of this gold is mined in the conflict region of Darfur and its extraction bears the hallmarks of grave human rights abuses. Penalizing the trade in Sudanese gold can help deprive the regime of a major source of revenue for its war machinery.

Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir continues to travel with near impunity despite arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. This includes visits to India, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa with no apparent consequences. The lack of accountability has emboldened the Government of Sudan. Despite the documented uptick in violence and displacement the Government of Sudan has announced plans for dismantling displacement camps and has been demanding the removal of UN peacekeepers.

The United States can make a difference in Sudan by making it more difficult for the regime to continue to wage war against its own population. With sustained urgent attention and multilateral efforts, the United States can significantly contribute toward peace, accountability, and protection of civilians in Sudan. The genocide in Darfur is an issue you championed as a Senator and as you came into office as President.

The current situation in Darfur and throughout Sudan requires sustained efforts at the very highest level of our government.  Now, as much as ever, the people of Sudan need you to be a champion today.