Government Relations

President Biden: Enough of the Silence on Sudan

June 13, 2024 |Sudan, USA

Protesters at a Rally for Sudan April 15, 2024
(Amnesty International USA)

By Kate Hixon, AIUSA Advocacy Director, sub-Saharan Africa

Since April 2023, armed conflict between the Sudan Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces with their allied militias has caused mass civilian casualties in deliberate and indiscriminate attacks. All parties to the conflict have committed serious violations and abuses of international human rights law, and violations of international humanitarian law.

Amnesty International USA has worked closely with Sudanese and international human rights partners to advocate for a robust human rights response from the international community to end this crisis. This has included countless meetings and letters to allies in Congress as well as direct pressure on the Administration.

This past April, to mark one year of conflict, Amnesty USA along with key partners including Refugees International, Humanity United, the Sudanese American Physicians Association and the Sudanese American Public Affairs Association came together to host a rally with activists and Members of Congress and delivered a petition with over 15,000 signatures demanding President Biden speak out on Sudan. Despite this, President Biden has been nearly silent on Sudan for over a year.

In just over a year, Sudan has become the world’s largest internally displaced persons crisis with over 8 million people displaced and over 15,000 civilians killed.

Many Sudanese within the country are already likely experiencing famine, although with limited access to the country by external humanitarian actors, the UN has not formally been able to make that assessment.

Meanwhile, civilians continue to face grave threats. Currently, El Fasher city in North Darfur is surrounded by the RSF and allied militias. Amnesty International has received reports of the burning of villages in North Darfur, escalating air strikes, shelling of residential areas including the Abu Shouk IDP camp, and blocking of aid deliveries by both parties to the conflict. El Fasher is home to over 1.5 million people, including hundreds of thousands of IDPs who fled fighting in other parts of Darfur in the early-2000s and from the ongoing conflict from last year. These civilians are now trapped with daily reports of new violations emerging. Civilians in other parts of Sudan are not any safer. Last week an attack in Gezira state killed 100 civilians.

In the face of President Biden’s continued silence, we continue to pressure the Administration to take the necessary steps to protect civilians in Sudan. Last week, Amnesty International USA, along with coalition partners including Humanity United, Human Rights Watch, Refugees International and others, sent a letter to the White House demanding action from Biden. Wanting to ensure no one working in the White House could miss it, we also sent it over as an advertisement attached to the Washington Post. This letter outlines critical steps President Biden can take to protect civilians in Sudan including:

  • To personally speak out on Sudan and condemn the atrocities;
  • Pressure leaders directly arming in the belligerents in violation of the United Nations arms embargo on Darfur; and,
  • Prioritize life-saving assistance to respond to the rapidly growing humanitarian crisis.
To learn more about how you can add your voice to the countless others demanding action on Sudan, read our activist toolkit.