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Faith McDonnell

(Photo credit: Act for Sudan)

By Faith McDonnell (@Cuchulain09)

In the coming weeks, I am going to share some insights from this past week’s Sudan Emergency Action Summit sponsored by Act for Sudan. But today I want to suggest some actions that you can take right now, to help further our message on Sudan. In my last newsletter I offered you some actions to take on Sudan as well. Did you act? I’d love to hear from you if you did. Here are some additional suggestions:

1. Congressional Caucus for Sudan and South Sudan

Call your U.S. Representative’s office and ask for his/her foreign policy legislative assistant (L.A.).

Ask if your member of Congress is a member of the Congressional Caucus for Sudan and South Sudan. If so, express your appreciation. If not, let the foreign policy L.A. know that you feel it is very important for your member to join the Caucus. You can send them a copy of the invitation to join from Caucus co-chairs, U.S. Representatives Michael Capuano, Barbara Lee, Michael McCaul, and Frank Wolf. You will find this invitation on the IRD website in the Religious Liberty section entitled “Be Aware and Take Action.”

I have provided a list of Caucus members as of the beginning of the 113th Congress on the IRD website in the Religious Liberty section entitled “Be Aware and Take Action.” If you do not know the name of your representative, you can find it easily at the U.S. House of Representatives website. In the top right hand corner, you will see “Find Your Representative: Enter your zip code.”

2. Qatar’s Donor Conference for the Government of Sudan

Background:

Qatar is hosting, and the African Development Bank Group is promoting, a donor conference for investment in Sudan to be held in Doha, Qatar, April 7-8, 2013.

Act for Sudan is sending a group letter to the Emir of Qatar objecting to financial support by Qatar for Sudan since such support places his country, as well as all international donors, squarely in the role of helping to fund the genocidal Sudanese regime. Act for Sudan is also sending a group letter to the President of the African Development Bank Group, protesting its plans to promote investment in Sudan and asking them instead to revoke support for this conference and their fundraising efforts that place the bank, and all international donors, in the same role – generating financial support for the genocidal regime.

In addition to general objections to supporting Sudan President Omar al-Bashir, Act for Sudan has discovered that funds would be used to “develop” Darfur. Sudan has already ethnically-cleansed much of Darfur of the black, African indigenous Darfurians and replaced them with outsiders sympathetic to the Arabist/Islamist regime. In other words, the region would not be developed for Darfurians, but for what Khartoum believes is the coming Caliphate in Africa.

In our letters, Act for Sudan says:

. . . Among the issues of greatest concern are the fact that unlawful attacks against civilians continue in Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and the East even as the Government of Sudan continues to restrict movement and access for international humanitarian aid organizations operating throughout Sudan. Further key issues with South Sudan remain unresolved, including final definition and demarcation of the north-south border and the final status of the Abyei area. People across Sudan who protest the current regime are denied basic rights and face attack, arrest and torture.

Efforts to promote investments in Sudan are premature and put the international community at risk of funding a government that continues to perpetrate massive human rights violations against its own people. Such investments should not occur prior to a cessation of attacks on civilians, the granting of unhindered humanitarian access across Sudan, and a clear demonstration of progress on all remaining issues, including an inclusive constitutional review process followed by free and fair elections . . . .

Previous Darfur donors’ conferences collected billions of dollars, but there are no signs on the ground today of how those billions of dollars were spent. Instead, the money, after falling in the hands of the central government, is used against the people of Darfur to fund aerial bombardments and militia attacks. 

Disturbingly, the U.S. government may also be supporting this investment of billions of dollars to the genocidal regime, in spite of our own economic sanctions still in place against Sudan as a country supporting terrorism. This is where you come in. Contact both your member of Congress and your Senators (or their foreign affairs L.A.) and urge them to pressure the Obama Administration not to support the Doha Donor Conference, for the reasons described above.

In addition to these actions, please pray for the people of Sudan and South Sudan, as well as for all those who are persecuted for their faith around the world. In future e-newsletters, I will report on human rights and religious freedom violations in such places as Nigeria, Pakistan, Egypt and throughout the Middle East, North Korea, China, and elsewhere.

Please take these small actions for those who suffer for their faith!

Faith McDonnell directs IRD’s Religious Liberty program. If you liked this article, visit our website to support our work today and read her previous posts!