Congressman Jim McGovern

Representing the 2nd District of Massachussetts
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McGovern Statement on New Obama Sanctions Policy for Sudan

Jan 13, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA), a senior House Democrat and leading voice on Sudan released the following statement on the announced changes by the Obama Administration regarding U.S. sanctions on Sudan.

“I am angry and deeply disappointed that the last act by the Obama Administration on Sudan policy is to ease sanctions against a genocidal regime when there has been little to no change on-the-ground in the human rights and humanitarian crises suffered by the Sudanese people.

“Let us make no mistake: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is a war criminal. He and his brutal, corrupt cronies have been indicted for acts of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Any kind of sanctions relief should only have happened after the humanitarian and human rights situation had markedly changed on-the-ground.

“Khartoum remains a brutal authoritarian government that represses its own people, cracks down on democratic dissent and political opposition, provides no space for a free and independent press, and has yet to allow the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid to the suffering people of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile.  

“I recognize advances in the areas of counter-terrorism, tracking LRA leader Joseph Kony, and ending support for rebel forces in South Sudan, but for me, the bottom line is whether the genocidal policies and practices of the Bashir government have changed. In my opinion, they have not.  Women and children, the young and the old, are dying from slow starvation due to Khartoum’s scorched earth military campaigns and the denial of humanitarian aid to those in need.  Until such time as unimpeded access by international and humanitarian relief groups is happening and aid is actually being delivered to those in need, I remain skeptical that any such good will gestures by our government are warranted.

“As for the process that has just been put in place, I ask that the in-coming Trump Administration make sure that conditions have truly changed on-the-ground when making its determination in six months whether to make today’s temporary relief permanent, let alone expanded. There can be no back-sliding and there must be concrete change in the reality of the most besieged regions. Truly, people’s very lives are at stake.”

For over a decade, Congressman McGovern has been a leader in imposing sanctions against the genocidal regime of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, along with several other members of his government and military forces. 

Congressman McGovern has been arrested three times in front of the Sudanese embassy, having organized other members of Congress to protest the genocide and humanitarian crisis perpetrated by the Bashir regime. In May 2016, Congressman McGovern led a bipartisan letter to President Obama signed by 120 lawmakers, raising concerns about the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in Sudan and asking the president to keep Sudan as a priority in the final months of his tenure.