Commemoration of South Sudan's Independence Occurs in the Shadow of Crisis

Press Release
July 11, 2012

Commemoration of South Sudan's Independence Occurs in the Shadow of Crisis

Human Rights Organization and Congressional Commission to Hold Briefing with Witnesses to the Crisis

Contact: Sharon Singh, ssingh@aiusa.org, 202-675-8579, @spksingh

(Washington, D.C.) — Amnesty International USA (AIUSA), in conjunction with the Congressional Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, will host a briefing on the human rights organization's recent report, "We Can Run Away from Bombs, But Not from Hunger," on Thursday, July 12, at noon in the Longworth House Office Building, Room 1539.

Alex Neve, secretary general of AI Canada, and Khairunissa Dhala, AI South Sudan researcher, will brief the participants. Both were recently in the region speaking with refugees and assessing the current situation in both Sudan and South Sudan.

In advance of Thursday's briefing, co-chairs of the Lantos Commission, Reps. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and James McGovern (D-MA), issued the following joint quote:

"The abuses committed by the government of Sudan, including their resistance to the rule of law and lack of respect for the basic human rights of all people, continue to be an affront to conscience. As another crisis threatens the lives of many Sudanese, we must renew our efforts to support the Sudanese people in their quest for peace, justice and dignity."

In the north, a ruthless crackdown on peaceful protestors and journalists continues, as students and activists are frequently arrested and detained by Sudan's security forces. In the south, a humanitarian crisis created by widespread displacement has forced half a million people into refugee camps, where they are further exposed to human rights abuses.

A weak response from the United Nations has allowed the government of Sudan to continue its campaign of bombing and starvation with complete impunity. Amnesty International is calling on the U.N. Security Council to extend the current arms embargo on Darfur to all of Sudan and mandate a full and independent investigation into alleged human rights violations.

"The international community cannot watch from the sidelines as thousands of displaced people fight to survive amid a lack of food, water and adequate shelter," said Frank Jannuzi, head of Amnesty International's Washington, D.C. office. "The Sudanese government must allow humanitarian organizations unhindered access to deliver the much-needed and long-overdue aid."

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.