The United States of America was once a key leader among the world’s nations in bringing peace to Sudan. Since 2006 that leadership has faltered and failed. The next President of the United States will have to work hard to reverse years worth of neglect concerning foreign policy towards Sudan. The marginalized peoples of Sudan, Sudanese/American citizens, and US activists have long called for a US foreign policy that embraces civilian protection, pushes for justice for perpetrators and supports the democratic pulses that continue to spread amongst Sudanese. The current US foreign policy does not tackle any of these asks; in fact, it openly states that the current genocidal regime should remain in power.
Satellite imagery has revealed mass graves, razed communities, and the indiscriminate low altitude aerial bombardment of civilian areas in South Kordofan state. Reliable eyewitnesses continue to report systematic government shelling and bombing of refugee evacuation routes. Violence perpetrated by government-backed militias has been extensively documented, as has the use of helicopter gunships to hunt civilians as they flee their homes and farmland to hide in caves. In addition, the Khartoum regime is deliberately and comprehensively blocking the delivery of humanitarian aid into South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Anecdotal evidence of perpetrators screaming racist slurs as civilians are killed and raped are familiar to anyone who knows what has been happening in Darfur since 2003.
Sufficient evidence exists to prove the Sudanese regime is attempting to annihilate anyone whom the government suspects of supporting the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North’s (SPLM-N) aims. Hence many local people are automatically targeted regardless of their true political affiliations.
Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese remain trapped in South Kordofan, the victims of forced starvation, unable to farm their land. This critical situation mirrors what the same regime perpetrated in the 1990s, a case of genocide by attrition.
In Blue Nile state, a scorched earth campaign by government forces has forced the SPLM-N to retreat, leaving tens of thousands with no protection from the perpetrators and a growing refugee crisis across the border.
The United States was once a global leader in the fight for peace, security, and justice in Sudan. Sadly, since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005, the United States has relinquished its vital leadership role. It is no coincidence that while this diplomatic and policy retreat was taking place, the political situation in Sudan has deteriorated once again.
This is why we, the citizens of the United States, write to you. The elections are over and it is time to fix our nation’s policy toward Sudan. It is unwise for the United States to maintain the current course of back-seat diplomacy that encourages zero accountability, amounting to de facto support for this regime. It is morally and politically reprehensible for our nation to continue down this road, and as U.S. citizens we call on you as the President of the United States to fulfill the promises our country made to the marginalized Sudanese people.
Your administration must not assume the Bashir regime intends the best for the people of Sudan. Bashir and his fellow war criminals have committed crimes against their own citizens that even the worst enemies of Sudan would not dare to commit.
As citizens of the United States, standing with the people of Sudan, we ask that your administration reframe the current Sudan policy, ensuring that it includes the following points:
• A comprehensive view of the Sudanese people’s needs, including constitutionally enforceable rights for minorities and peoples in marginalized regions, as guaranteed in the still-to-be-enforced 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement
• Genuine accountability for past and current crimes
• Support for the Sudanese who promote democratic transition, accountability, transparency and who honor diversity and tolerance within the framework of a legally enforceable bill of rights
• Support for more robust civilian protection measures including, but not limited to, the breaking of humanitarian blockades, investigative investments into crimes being committed, and more forceful actions as necessary to prevent further extensive loss of life
The regime will continue to kill its citizens if the United States declines to use the economic and diplomatic leverage at its disposal to ensure aid is delivered to South Kordofan and Blue Nile states under internationally acceptable terms. Leverage must also be applied to promote genuine peace and accountability in Darfur.
If your administration chooses to stand with the victims of Sudan’s continuing campaign of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide, then history will accord you respect and honor. If you do not stand with the victims, history will be much harsher.
We very much look forward to hearing from your administration your plan for standing with the people of Sudan.