Hearing Offers Obama Administration Opportunity to Detail New Action to Halt Ongoing Atrocities, Enforce Multilateral Sanctions in Darfur

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Brenda Bowser Soder
bowsersoderb@humanrightsfirst.org
202-370-3323 - office

Hearing Offers Obama Administration Opportunity to Detail New Action to Halt Ongoing Atrocities, Enforce Multilateral Sanctions in Darfur

Human Rights First Urges U.S. Response to Panel of Experts Report on Arms Embargo Violations

WASHINGTON - This morning, members of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign
Affairs' Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health have the opportunity
to ask tough questions about the Obama Administration's new Sudan
policy and how that plan will address serious problems identified in a recently released U.N. Panel of Experts report.
That U.N. report detailed ongoing and systematic abuses against
civilians in Darfur and provided new evidence of arms embargo
violations by the Government of Sudan, the Justice and Equality
Movement, and other belligerents, findings that underscore the
importance of firm U.S. action in the region, according to Human Rights
First.

Among those testifying today are J. Scott Gration, U.S. Special
Envoy on Sudan, as well as Rico Carisch, Coordinator of the most recent
U.N. Panel of Experts on Sudan, as well as a member of past panels
investigating the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, and
Liberia.

"Today's hearing provides an opportunity for Envoy Gration to detail
how the U.S. will work within the U.N. Security Council to address
violations of the arms embargo in Darfur," said Human Rights First's
Julia Fromholz. "Envoy Gration should provide assurances that the U.S.
is fully committed to ensuring the effective enforcement of this tool
from now on."

In addition to its findings about arms embargo violations, the Panel
of Experts report revealed the extent of the Sudanese government's
efforts to hamper the Panel's work and to avoid cooperation with the
Panel's investigation. Fromholz notes, "The Obama Administration's
Sudan policy is designed around ‘pressures and incentives' to be
deployed based on evidence of progress or setbacks on the ground. Envoy
Gration must explain to Congress his plan to employ new pressures on
the Sudanese government and its allies to ensure their consistent
cooperation with international obligation - such as the arms embargo -
which have been honored only in the breach for years."

Contrary to Envoy Gration's previous assertions about the
ineffectiveness of sanctions in Sudan, Mr. Carisch's testimony will
likely make clear that the U.N. has never enforced its arms embargo on
Darfur. Instead, the conflict has been sustained by weapons and other
goods and services provides by countries such as China and Chad, as
well as by multinational corporations, often acting in violation of
international law.

Human Rights First urges the U.S. to pursue the enforcement of
multilateral sanctions on Sudan with the same determination it has used
to enforce its own unilateral sanctions. Human Rights First notes that
this leadership will play a crucial role in changing the political and
military dynamic in Darfur and halting ongoing violence against
civilians.

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Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.

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