Breaking news: Recent and escalating violence in the disputed border region of Abyei threatens to plunge North and South Sudan back into civil war. In a flagrant violation of peace agreements, the Sudanese government invaded Abyei and escalated bombing and aid cut-offs in Darfur.
Satellite images show a buildup of northern Sudanese forces including troops, warplanes and tanks.
Doctors without Borders is reporting a steady flow of refugees fleeing south away from the threat of violence in Abyei. Hungry, thirsty, and scared -- they are arriving in new villages with swollen feet after walking for hours or days. Some are collapsing from exhaustion.
Abyei has long been disputed -- both Sudan’s north and south claim it as their own. It was the site of numerous massacres until the recent civil war ended in 2005.
The Obama administration, laudably, has already started taking action and making bold statements to head off escalation and prevent more violence.
But this latest escalation and show of force calls for stronger action. We need the White House to raise the stakes. Ask President Obama to take swift and urgent action now.
The Government of Sudan believes that the United States and other international actors will respond with rhetoric instead of action to its flagrant disregard for international humanitarian law. Now is the time to prove them wrong.
I applaud you for reacting quickly to this situation and making positive statements towards taking undeserved incentives off the table and encouraging all sides to abide by their agreements.. However, I urge you to impose serious consequences on all parties that promote violence, target civilians and violate international law.
As a matter of urgency, I implore you to:
-- Immediately suspend progress toward normalization with Sudan, including the review of its status as a state sponsor of terror, as well as any steps towards review of debt relief or the lifting of sanctions;
-- Immediately impose targeted U.S. sanctions on officials and military and militia leaders implicated in orchestrating violence;
-- Support expanding and strengthening the existing U.N. sanctions regime to hold accountable individuals responsible for instigating violence in Abyei;
-- Press the U.N. Security Council to authorize emergency planning for the protection of civilians from violence in Sudan and the strengthening of the United Nations Mission in Sudan with a future mandate that prioritizes civilian protection and provides access to sensitive areas on both sides of the north-south border.
The United States must now adopt a consequence-based Sudan policy.
Thank you for your continued attention to Sudan.