October 12, 2010

Chairman Kerry Introduces Bipartisan Legislation On Sudan

Washington, DC – With just over 100 days until the January referenda in Sudan, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry today introduced the bipartisan Sudan Peace and Stability Act of 2010, which is cosponsored by Senators Brownback, Durbin, Wicker, and Feingold.  The bill defines the objectives of U.S. policy toward Sudan and the tools available to pursue them.

“Sudan is facing a defining moment.  While the Sudanese must own their future, the United States can help the parties find a peaceful path forward.  The Obama administration has launched a heightened campaign of diplomatic engagement.  Today, I introduced bipartisan legislation to put Congress on record reinforcing this message to North and South Sudan, and to help break the logjam on Darfur.  The Sudan Peace and Stability Act of 2010 offers a specific set of recommendations to drive the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) negotiations forward and to advance the Darfur peace process, both of which are vital to Sudan’s future.  It authorizes U.S. aid for Southern Sudan, while demanding accountability requirements for this assistance.  The bill also calls for the appointment of a senior U.S. official to guide U.S. efforts in Darfur,” said Senator Kerry, who has chaired two Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings and a Committee roundtable on Sudan. In April 2009, Kerry traveled to Sudan, going to both Khartoum and Darfur, for high-level discussions and meetings with NCP, SPLM, and Darfuri leaders and humanitarian workers to promote trilateral negotiations and the restoration of humanitarian access after the expulsion of NGOs.

John Prendergast, Co-Founder of the Enough Project, stated: “I thank Chairman Kerry and Senators Brownback, Durbin, Wicker, and Feingold for introducing the Sudan Peace and Stability Act.  This bill is part of a developing momentum in the legislative and executive branches to ensure that the United States will do all it can to prevent a return to war between North and South Sudan and end the war in Darfur.  Activists on Sudan and a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders have been resolute in their demand that the United States intensify its efforts in support of peace, human rights, and humanitarian response.  This bill makes these demands concrete, and hopefully will catalyze further efforts by the Obama administration to help bring an end once and for all to the suffering of the Sudanese people.”

The Sudan Peace and Stability Act of 2010 reasserts U.S. leadership and commitment to working toward peace throughout Sudan by emphasizing the need for all parties to commit to seeing the CPA through the referenda and beyond; underscoring the importance of Darfur and providing policy guidance on both the peace process and the humanitarian situation; and laying the legal groundwork, spurring the humanitarian planning, and shaping the policy framework in the likelihood of secession.

The bill proposes a number of specific policy prescriptions, including:

  • Designation of a senior official to aid the Darfur peace process;
  • Authorization of certain types of assistance for security forces, civil aviation, and police in Southern Sudan;
  • A provision stating that the transshipment of oil originating in Southern Sudan may transit northward without being subject to U.S. sanctions under specified conditions;
  • Modification of U.S. policy toward international financial institutions to promote implementation of the CPA and capacity building in Southern Sudan;
  • Requirements for long-term strategies on the North-South situation, Darfur, and other vulnerable areas; and
  • Benchmarks for the U.S.-Sudanese relationship and accountability requirements for U.S. aid.

Several nongovernmental organizations have voiced their support for the Sudan Peace and Stability Act of 2010, including: Investors Against Genocide; Stop Genocide Now; Save Darfur Coalition; Enough Project, Center for American Progress; Genocide Intervention Network; Jewish World Watch; American Jewish World Service; THE INSTITUTE on Religion and Public Policy; Leadership Council for Human Rights; Essex County Coalition for Darfur, Montclair, NJ; Massachusetts Coalition to Save Darfur; Genocide No More--Save Darfur, Redding, CA; Orange County for Darfur, a Living Ubuntu project; Never Again Coalition, Portland, Oregon; Darfur and Beyond, Phoenix, AZ; Champion Darfur; and Colorado Coalition for Genocide Awareness and Action. 

A copy of the legislation is attached. 

###

Press Contact

CONTACT: SFRC Press Office, 202-224-3468