• Press Release

Sudanese Diaspora, Rights Organizations Rally Outside White House to Urge US to Take  Urgent Measures to Protect Civilians

September 28, 2023

On Saturday, September 23, 2023, Sudanese diaspora groups and several prominent human rights organizations rallied in Washington, DC outside the White House to call for more strategic action on Sudan from the Biden Administration. 

The event was held as fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces entered its sixth month. Civilians have borne the brunt of the violence throughout the brutal conflict, with both parties targeting civilian infrastructure and hospitals, and as reports of sexual and gender-based violence proliferate. More than 1,000 people have been killed while over five million people have been displaced, including more than one million who have fled Sudan to neighboring countries. The rally sought to raise awareness for the conflict and press the administration to engage more strategically on Sudan. 

“Nearly six months of war have taken a devastating toll on the Sudanese people,” said Dr. Khidir Dalouk, Advocacy Director for the Sudanese American Physicians Association (SAPA). “The crippled health care sector is unable to meet the swelling demands of civilians suffering from bullet wounds, malnutrition, disease, and the trauma of conflict. And a faltering diplomatic process all but guarantees that the suffering will go on. The international community has a choice to make: take the same business as usual approach that has failed to stem the bleeding, or act decisively now to prioritize the health and protection of civilians. The Sudanese diaspora and our partners will not stop fighting for a robust response that honors the needs of our sisters and brothers in Sudan.”

“Six months into the war in Sudan, and it is very clear that the Biden administration failed to address this conflict in any urgent manner,” said Haitham Elnour of Girifna. “The situation in Khartoum portrays a grim picture, with over five million people displaced in front of the world while the international community doing the bare minimum in comparison to Ukraine. Khartoum devolved into a ghost town with a violent environment ranging from sexual and gender-based violence to ethnic and hospital targeting. Food, water, shelter, and medicine are critically vanishing. The health sector already collapsed with almost 90% of hospitals being out of service. Darfur is entering the same genocide situation again. Time to take this seriously is NOW. We call on the Biden administration and the international community to take a strong stance and scale up its operation to meet this catastrophe in Sudan.”

“We’ve seen some welcome engagement from the Biden administration but significantly more needs to be done to protect civilians and respond to the humanitarian crisis in Sudan” said Kate Hixon, Amnesty USA’s Advocacy Director for Africa. “Amnesty USA calls on the Administration to appoint a Presidential Envoy who is able to dedicate the time and resources necessary to develop an Administration wide policy for Sudan. Amnesty USA also calls on the Administration to push to extend the current arms embargo on Darfur to the whole of the country. Amnesty’s recent report found that the violations by the parties to the conflict, including non-state armed groups and militias at times allied to either side, amount to war crimes. For this reason, a full arms embargo is necessary to help protect civilians”. 

“Grim reports coming out of Darfur show strong parallels to the genocide of 20 years ago.” said Jeremy Konyndyk, President of Refugees International. “President Biden must put the same kind of political and diplomatic muscle into stopping atrocities in Sudan that he has in Ukraine. What is happening now in Darfur is rapidly shaping as his administration’s Rwanda moment, and he must act swiftly to ensure it does not become a Rwanda-like stain on his legacy. We call on the President to break his silence on the situation in Darfur – and more importantly, to put the full weight of his administration into averting a potential genocide.”

“The daily anguish of people in Sudan continues while the international community has remained painfully silent,” said Nili Sarit Yossinger, Executive Director of Refugee Congress. “This cannot continue. With over five million people forcibly displaced and millions in dire need of food, medical care, and a pathway to safety, the trauma of war and the unfolding of a genocide is leaving scars on yet another generation. The U.S. has demonstrated that, where this is a will, we are capable of stepping up swiftly during a humanitarian crisis. We strongly urge President Biden to do so NOW with a forceful commitment of robust resources and diplomatic engagement in Sudan.”

“Human Rights Watch continues to document horrific violence, on a mass scale, including ethnically targeted killings and rape in West Darfur, Sudan,” said Nicole Widdersheim, Deputy Washington Director at Human Rights Watch. “Twenty years ago, the US government brought the full force of its foreign policy tools and presidential level engagement to bring an end to what it determined to be a genocide in Darfur. Today, we are simply not seeing this level of attention, action, and prioritization from the White House. Considering the legacy of US involvement in Sudan and the atrocities underway, it’s time for the administration to change course.”

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