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57 Congress members call for US policy to ‘address Sudanese regime's failures’

March 29 - 2018 WASHINGTON
File photo
File photo

A group of 57 members of the US Congress, have called on the US administration to recognize the realities in Sudan, suggesting that “a policy that is informed by the history and context of Sudan, insists on foundational change, and is backed by strong financial pressure and real incentives” would have strong bipartisan support in Congress.

In an open letter to US Deputy Secretary of State, John Sullivan, on Wednesday, they point out that “the Government of Sudan has a long and well-documented history of violence and repression against its population in order to maintain wealth and power for a small number of elites.  We are gravely concerned about any US policy that might result in further normalizing relations with a regime that routinely violates its citizens' basic human rights, continues to support extremists and extremist groups, represses religious minorities, and steals the nation's wealth while most of its people live in poverty,” the letter reads.

“We encourage you to develop and advance a US policy that recognizes these realities, addresses the Sudanese regime's failures of good governance, and supports the opening of political space. We believe the Administration and Congress must work together to advance a policy that promotes a just society and human rights for all Sudanese.

“We urge the State Department and other appropriate agencies to develop transformational human rights and social and political benchmarks.  These should be tied to real incentives, combined with meaningful new financial pressures, such as network sanctions and anti-money laundering measures that target those most responsible for violence and corruption in Sudan.

“Further, we suggest that the provisions outlining corruption and human rights abuse in Executive Order 13818 related to the Global Magnitsky Act might serve as a useful model to develop concrete benchmarks with regard to targeting individuals and entities engaged in continuing corruption and human rights abuses in Sudan.”

The letter underlines that “corruption and mismanagement by the Sudanese regime has impoverished Sudan, with only a few wealthy and connected insiders amassing immense wealth. The regime relies on extractive industries and natural resource wealth, along with the weapons manufacturing sector, to facilitate personal enrichment. It has a history of blaming US and international sanctions for its own failure to invest in its people and for serious macroeconomic problems. Yet recent demonstrations across Sudan tied to the rising cost of bread and other economic hardships expose the fallacy of these accusations. Corruption and the violent repression of the Sudanese people are the real culprits, as approximately 75% of Sudan's budget is estimated to be spent on security and defense.”

The signatories urge we respectfully urge you to pursue a policy that is informed by the history and context of Sudan, insists on foundational change, and is backed by strong financial pressure and real incentives. We firmly believe that such an agenda would have strong bipartisan support in Congress.

Read the entire letter here

sudan_2018_-_to_dep_secy_sullivan-benchmarks_3-28-18.pdf

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