Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) is pleased by the response of United States President Joseph Biden to Sudan by expanding the existing sanctions to impose further sanctions on leaders in Sudan who undermine Sudan’s transition to democracy. This expansion of previous sanctions is the first step in realizing the Sudanese people’s demands for democracy and the protection of human rights. Nonetheless, the US and the international community must meet the current dire humanitarian crisis and the human cost of the current war with a sense of urgency.
For the sanctions to be effective, the US must take swift and creative measures that will limit the two warring generals’ ability to continue the carnage in Sudan, thus effectively preventing the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) from causing more devastation and suffering, as well as saving lives in Sudan. Simply it’s a targeted sanction directed toward the two individuals and their inner circle that will cut the war money and the regional political support.
DWAG appreciates the United States’s leadership on this issue, but these current sanctions do not go far enough in enacting adequate accountability. To be effective, the US must impose clearly spelled out targeted sanctions against leaders responsible for the death and destruction in Sudan; specifically, it must sanction both General Abdel Fattah El Burhan and General Mohamed Hamdan ‘Hemeti’ Dagalo individually. With two generals emboldened by unrestricted access to money and weapons, there must be swift measures to limit their access to funds and weapons to these military leaders and their allies. The sanctions must include freezing assets to stop the flow of money and all financial transactions with these military leaders and others in their inner circle, as well as the imposition of a travel ban that limits the generals’ ability to travel across the world and the region to seek political and economic support from their supporters from regional spoilers.
The military in Sudan is actively violating all the international Humanitarian and Human Rights laws by endangering the lives and livelihood of millions of Sudanese civilians, including via direct killing, air bombardment of homes, health, water, and electric facilities, and making access to food and medicine nearly impossible. Furthermore, they are taking countless Sudanese people hostage, preventing their movement to safety, and creating unprecedentedly dangerous living conditions. The generals bear full responsibility for all of these wrongs – both by imposing death and destruction, as well as by halting Sudan’s transition to democracy – for which they must be held accountable. The US should also pressure its partners in the region, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, to end their support for both generals. General Burhan and General Dagalo must also be barred from traveling outside Sudan. They must not be allowed to gain further support.
The current situation in Sudan is a humanitarian crisis of a global magnitude. If left unaddressed, it will become a full-blown humanitarian crisis, likely the worst of modern history; it will further cost more lives in Sudan and equally cost more resources and energy for the international community, including the United States. Humanitarian efforts for people in need must be non-negotiable. We must seek to apply accountability measures while seeking to promote peace. Peace will only be achieved when both generals no longer have the financial and logistical support which enabled them to wage this war.
Accordingly, DWAG calls on the US Congress to make sure these sanctions are clearly defined, implemented, and enforced, and to encourage the Biden administration to take serious measures to show US leadership in holding the generals accountable by implementing and enforcing the targeted sanctions with asset freezing, travel bans, and individual sanctions targeting General al-Burhan and General Dagalo and all their business dealings internationally.
DWAG extends its utmost gratitude to our supporters, whose calls for sanctions made this moment possible. We believe our collective voice is a powerful tool we have in the fight for justice in Sudan and Darfur. As we enter a new phase of this crisis, we must continue to speak up because when we do, they listen and take action.
Niemat Ahmadi, President and Founder, DWAG
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