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Andre explained that the State Department has now withdrawn its invitation to the Sudanese delegation because the planned visit was linked to Sudan's respecting the peace agreements with South Sudan, which he said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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid