Bipartisan, Bicameral Group of 92 Lawmakers Urge Support For Civilian-Led Transitional Government in Sudan
Washington, May 16, 2019
Tags: Foreign Policy , Human Rights
Text of Letter (PDF)
Their letter comes as Sudanese organizers continue their nation-wide pro-democracy protests against a Transitional Military Council which many say creates the appearance of change while maintaining many of the elements and structures of the old regime.
“The Sudanese people are demanding real democratic reforms – not a reshuffling of players or a new regime that mirrors the oppression and injustice felt under Omar al-Bashir,” said Representative McGovern. “This is a crucial time for the people of Sudan. The United States must make clear that international credibility and partnership will only come through credible civilian leadership. We urge Secretaries Pompeo and Mnuchin to use the full weight of American diplomacy to encourage a rapid and peaceful transfer of power to a civilian-led government in Sudan.”
The full text of the letter is copied below:
Dear Secretary Pompeo and Secretary Mnuchin,
We write to express our deep concern about the current situation in Sudan and our support for a rapid transfer of power to a civilian-led transitional government committed to laying the foundations for democracy in the country. This is a critical moment for Sudan, one that came about because the Sudanese people took to the streets to demand it. It is also critical for the United States to support Sudanese citizen’s demands for real democratic change.
We welcome the April 18th statement by the State Department supporting “a transition to a peaceful and democratic Sudan led by civilians who represent the diversity of Sudanese society,” and expressing support for the “will of the Sudanese people” for “a transitional government that is inclusive and respectful of human rights and the rule of law.” We appreciate the efforts of the Africa Bureau to update congressional offices about the changing situation in Sudan. We also acknowledge the African Union’s condemnation of the military takeover as a coup d’état and its demand that the military “step aside and hand over power to a transitional civilian-led political authority, in accordance with the will of the people” by June 30th. We also welcome U.S. efforts to bring together like-minded nations and donors to emphasize international support for a civilian-led transition.
The military leadership who have taken power are attempting to create the appearance of change, but elements and structures of the old regime remain. The Transitional Military Council (TMC) does not meet the aspirations so clearly articulated by months of peaceful pro-democracy protests that demanded an inclusive, civilian-led democratic change. A government dominated by the military is not the goal of the Sudanese people and the longer the protestors’ demands remain unfulfilled, there is increased probability of conflict like the violence against protestors, deaths and injuries that occurred this week.
We support your decision to continue Sudan’s designation as a State Sponsor of Terrorism (SST) and to suspend Phase II discussions. Congress also has a role to play in law regarding changes to Sudan’s status as a state sponsor of terrorism. We encourage close consultation with and the consent of Congress should the Administration seek to alter the SST designation or provide further economic relief to Sudan, actions which at the current moment would be inappropriate and premature. We understand that rapidly changing events on the ground might require a corresponding change in U.S. policy and we are ready to work as equal partners in decisions that advance civilian democratic governance, respect for human rights, including religious freedom, and rule of law.
The United States must send a clear message that the path to international credibility and American partnership will only come through credible civilian leadership. We encourage you to use all mechanisms and leverage to facilitate, as quickly as possible, an inclusive civilian-led transition to democratic governance. The United States should make clear to foreign governments that have expressed support for the TMC that a civilian transition that reflects the will of the Sudanese people is non-negotiable.
In this regard, we are dismayed by the announcement from the Governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that they intend to provide Sudan with $3 billion in budget support and aid. We urge you to use all appropriate diplomatic and political channels to discourage such a transfer of funds. If funds are disbursed, this will likely encourage the TMC to delay a civilian-led transition.
The Sudanese people will rightly determine matters of justice regarding the crimes of the previous regime, given the millions of people who suffered and perished under its deliberate and repressive actions. It is important for you, Mr. Secretaries, to emphasize that former President Bashir and other officials and military officers of his regime are internationally indicted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and the crime of genocide. It is an urgent matter of international law that they face trial and judgement on these charges.
There are additional actions that we strongly encourage you to take in your respective capacities as Secretary of State and Secretary of the Treasury:
Thank you for your attention to these urgent concerns and recommendations. We look forward to working together and developing a new policy framework consistent with American values and the aspirations of the Sudanese people.