News / USA

US Congressional Human-Rights Panel Condemns Sudan

Cindy Saine
— Members of a U.S. Congressional human-rights panel are calling on Sudan to stop alleged state-sponsored violence and abuses against civilians. The government is fighting rebel movements in the western Darfur region and two southern states, and stands accused of a long string of rights violations, including alleged "scorched earth" tactics against villages in Blue Nile State. At a hearing Wednesday, the panel also examined U.S. policy on Sudan and how to best help suffering civilians.  

Senior State Department official Larry Andre had strong words for the government of Sudan, saying the country is again the scene of horrendous human-rights abuses and widespread starvation.

"Sudan must stop bombing its own citizens and depriving them of humanitarian relief. The pathway to peace is open dialogue, democracy and respect for human rights. We are looking at ways to deliver that message directly to senior decision makers in Khartoum," said Andre.

Witnesses at the hearing said five million people in Sudan are now in need of humanitarian assistance, and called on the government in Khartoum and all of the groups involved in the armed conflict to allow unfettered access for relief groups to provide food and medical aid to civilians.

Ken Isaacs, vice president of the humanitarian group Samaritan's Purse, recently traveled to Sudan. He said tens of thousands of people are suffering.

"People are terrorized and they are living like animals. They are living like animals in rocks and in caves and they are eating leaves and bugs," said Isaacs.

Wednesday's hearing was held by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, a bipartisan panel in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Some lawmakers criticized President Barack Obama and the State Department for inviting a senior Sudanese official, Nafi al Nafi, who was involved in the genocide in Darfur, to come to Washington for talks.  The commission's co-chairman, Republican Congressman Frank Wolf, was outraged.

"And you are inviting a genocidal person to Washington! I mean, he is going to drive right by the Lincoln Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial," said Wolf. "It is immoral!"

Andre explained that the State Department has now withdrawn its invitation to the Sudanese delegation because the planned visit was linked to Sudan's respecting the peace agreements with South Sudan, which he said Khartoum is now violating.

He said most people now in power in Khartoum do not have a very nice past, but Washington needs to talk to them to try to help suffering civilians.

The commission's other co-chairman, Democratic Congressman James McGovern, said he is also happy that the planned visit is now off. But he reserved his criticism for countries like Iran and China, which he said are funding Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

"I am not quite sure what it is, but there ought to be some sort of consequence to those countries that welcome him to their countries for visits, and that supply him arms," said McGovern.

Human-rights activists testifying at the hearing called on the U.S. Congress to keep the spotlight on the plight of millions of innocent civilians in Sudan.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid