With the wars in both Sudan and South Sudan escalating, the United States needs to enhance its efforts in the areas of accountability and consequences, diplomacy and peacemaking, democracy building, and aiding and protecting the most vulnerable.

Photo by daveblume/flckr

Photo by daveblume/flckr

In an open letter to U.S. leaders, United to End Genocide, joined 77 partner organizations in calling for a strengthened Sudan and South Sudan including increased efforts to arrest and limit the movements of wanted war criminals like Sudan’s President Bashir, stepped up diplomatic personnel and sanctions enforcement capabilities at the Treasury Department, and a push for rapid deployment of UN peacekeepers.

Sudan is experiencing unprecedented levels of violence in South Kordofan and Blue Nile where hospitals and civilian areas are being increasingly bombed and in Darfur where fighting rivals the intensity that triggered global outrage from 2003-2005.In South Sudan, despite a May 9th transitional agreement, violence persists and genocide and famine remain real threats. With the wars in both Sudan and South Sudan escalating, the United States needs to enhance its efforts in the areas of accountability and consequences, diplomacy and peacemaking, democracy building, and aiding and protecting the most vulnerable.

In order to enhance accountability and consequences for further rights abuses, the U.S. must invest more in new tools for stronger influence on both governments and rebel actors, such as assigning additional resources  to the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to focus on enforcing sanctions on both countries. Additionally, a renewed push for those wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) as well as the expansion of the ICC mandate to include atrocities committed in South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and other parts of Sudan would better affect Bashir’s calculations in Khartoum, further limiting his capacity to travel and take part in international politics.

In the past, U.S. Diplomacy and Peacemaking has grouped Sudan and South Sudan together by naming one envoy to both countries. We believe that the enormity of the crises in both countries requires another senior level official leading the specific efforts on Sudan, as well as the creation of teams in the region to provide full-time support to the peace processes in both countries.

With the conflicts in Sudan and South Sudan partly rooted in demands for genuine political reform—specifically the dismantling of the decades-long authoritarian system in Sudan and the realization of the democratic system envisioned by the South Sudanese at independence—increased support should be directed towards Democracy Promotion with aid going to groups, parties, and movements best positioned to support such transformation to ensure that they are better equipped, more representative, and more accountable to their constituencies.

From a humanitarian perspective, the gravity of the situation in both countries cannot be overstated. While U.S. commitment in the past has been critical, the U.S. government must continue to advocate that the international community fills the gap between the estimated need and current available humanitarian aid in South Sudan. Lastly, civilian protection is an increasingly urgent task. In South Sudan, we support U.S. efforts to rapidly deploy additional UN peacekeepers as authorized by UNSC Resolution 2132 and the regional force to specifically provide protection to vulnerable groups. In Sudan, supporting a restructured and better equipped UNAMID oriented towards protecting displaced populations, and aggressively documenting and addressing aerial bombings against civilian targets is essential to reducing the violence in the region.

For more information, read the letter below.

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