June 15, 2011
Dear Members of Congress:
Over the past two weeks, Government of Sudan troops have laid waste to the Nuba Mountains in the state of Southern Kordafan. Jets and Antonov bombers have attacked towns, villages and farms. Tukuls (homes of mud walled with conical shaped roofs), churches, and other buildings have been burned to the ground. Farms have been destroyed.
Tens of thousands of people are on the run. Many have headed into the mountains where there is no food or water. Government of Sudan troops have gone door-to-door in Kudugli and Dilling in search of Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement supporters and executed them on the spot, either shooting them or slicing their throats.
This is the very same Sudanese government that committed the atrocities in Darfur and whose president (Omar al Bashir) is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of crimes against humanity and genocide. The newly “elected” governor of South Kordafan, Ahmed Haroun, who has been imposed on South Kordafan as its “Governor” by Khartoum, is also wanted by the ICC on over 40 counts of crimes against humanity and war crimes for the atrocities perpetrated in Darfur.
Outrage is beginning to swell among human rights activists, genocide scholars and certain members of the media across the United States that the U.S. government has not spoken out publicly against these atrocities and threatened to reimpose sanctions on the Sudanese government.
We believe that it is imperative that the U.S. also addresses these massacres in the UN Security Council. Now is the time to act, not after the Nuba Mountains have become the next genocide by the Government of Sudan.
We represent human rights and scholarly organizations. We urgently request that you support Representative Frank Wolf's (VA) request to President Obama to send former Secretary of State Colin Powell to Khartoum to demand that President Omar al Bashir stop these attacks on his own citizens.
We also urge you to convince your fellow Members of Congress and the Obama Administration to:
- Suspend further movement toward diplomatic normalization with the Government of Sudan;
- Call for the arrest and extradition of Ahmed Haroun to the International Criminal Court, noting that he is responsible for the deaths of far more people than President Qaddafi of Libya, and call for him to be dismissed immediately as Governor of South Kordafan;
- Set a short deadline (one week) for the Government of Sudan’s withdrawal from Abyei and a halt to military attacks in South Kordafan. If Khartoum fails to meet the deadline, re-impose those sanctions that have been lifted since the last year of the Bush Administration;
- Announce publicly that, unless Khartoum withdraws its forces from Abyei and halts the ethnically targeted violence and forced displacement in South Kordofan, the U.S. will vigorously oppose debt relief for Khartoum in its discussions with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
- Announce plans to further constrain Khartoum’s ability to use the international banking system;
- Announce that there will be no further negotiation over Northern Sudan's status as a terrorism-sponsoring nation; all further discussion will be suspended pending withdrawal of all troops from Abyei and an end to military actions in South Kordofan.
- Demand unfettered humanitarian access and freedom of movement for UNAMID in Darfur and commit significant US training and transportation resources to UNAMID;
- Demand the immediate arrest and prosecution of UNMIS personnel who allegedly raped females in the Nuba Mountains.
- Sign a Congressional letter to the President asking him to instruct the US Ambassador to the United Nations to propose a UN Security Council Resolution that will urgently strengthen the UNMIS mission in South Kordafan by increasing its numbers of combat ready soldiers, and increasing its financing, heavy weaponry, communications, transportation, and logistical capacity.
- Furthermore, we urge you, as Members of Congress, to support a Congressional Resolution that urges the President to instruct the US Ambassador to the United Nations, working with other members of the UN Security Council, to strengthen the mandate of UNMIS, by adding the duty to “use all necessary means to protect the lives of civilians in South Kordafan and Blue Nile provinces.”
This is not the time for realpolitik, but the time to prevent another genocide in Sudan.
In the name of the humanity we all share,
Professor Bruce Hoffman
Center for Peace and Security Studies
Dr. Eric Reeves
Professor of English
Author of A Long Day’s Dying: Critical Moments in the Darfur Genocide (The Key Publishing House, 2007)
Dr. Gregory Stanton
Research Professor in Genocide Studies and Prevention, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University
President of Genocide Watch and Chair of the International Alliance to End Genocide
Author of The Eight Stages of Genocide: How Governments Can Tell When Genocide Is Coming and What They Can Do to Stop It (forthcoming, Woodrow Wilson Center Press)
Ervin Staub, Ph.D.
Founding Director of the Ph.D. program in the Psychology of Peace and Violence, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Author of Overcoming Evil: Genocide, Violent Conflict and Terrorism
Dr. Samuel Totten
Professor of Genocide Studies
University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Fulbright Scholar, National University of Rwanda, 2008
Author of Oral and Documentary History of the Darfur Genocide (Praeger Security International, 2010) and Co-editor (with Eric Markusen) of Genocide in Darfur: Investigating the Atrocities in the Sudan (Routledge, 2006)
Dr. John Hubbel Weiss
Assoc. Professor of History
Founder, Bosnia Coordinating Committee, Ithaca
Founder and Director, Darfur Action Group-Cornell
Former director, Cornell Institute for European Studies
Author of "Lessons from the Failure to Rescue Darfur"