News / Africa

US Lobby Groups Want A No-Fly Zone in Sudan

Satellite Sentinal Project images of alleged mass graves in Sudan's Southern Kordofan State
Satellite Sentinal Project images of alleged mass graves in Sudan's Southern Kordofan State
John Tanza

An alliance of 66 organizations across the United States has called on President Barack Obama to protect the millions of Sudanese civilians that it says are facing deliberate attacks and obstruction of humanitarian aid in the regions of Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.

The spokesperson for Act for Sudan, Martina Knee, said the government of Sudan is the root cause of the humanitarian disaster that is looming in the country. She said the United States and the international community should stop viewing the problems in Sudan’s various regions as isolated from each other, instead they need to be viewed as “a unified problem which deserves a sustained attention and action’’

Imposing a No Fly Zone

The group presented a letter to Present Obama asking him to instruct the U.S. National Security Council to protect civilians with the imposition of a no-fly zone over Darfur and Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States. The letter also recommended an urgent cross-border emergency assistance to the populations in Abyei, Darfur, Blue Nile and the Nuba mountains where Sudan Armed forces are fighting with rebels of the Sudan People’s liberation Army-north.

Knee said the alliance wants the U.S. government to act swiftly by taking out Sudan government’s aerial assets without harming civilians.

Ending Impunity, Support of Justice

Since the start of the fighting in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States in late August, the Sudan government expelled international aid agencies operating in the region and blocked access to humanitarian assistance. “Act for Sudan” is also asking the U.S. and the international community to establish an independent commission of inquiry into the alleged war crimes in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile and to apprehend individuals responsible for attacks on civilians. It also called for reconstitution of the U.N. panel of Experts on Darfur to report about the atrocities committed on civilians in Darfur.

Secure Peace

The alliance demanded the Obama administration refocus inconsistent talks between Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North and the National Congress Party into peace negotiations aimed at addressing the concerns all the Sudanese people in the areas affected by the ongoing conflict. Knee acknowledged that the U.S. will need the cooperation of the international community to engage Khartoum. “The urgency of the current situation with the entire crisis that has been continuing for years calls for immediate action,” she said.

The umbrella group comprising of religious groups, Democrats, Republicans, Americans and Sudanese. Martina Knee said she is hopeful that the U.S. Congress will exert pressure on President Obama to take action given U.S. history of intervention in Sudan, most notably the Comprehensive Peace Agreement that paved way for South Sudan’s Independence.

Listen: John Tanza Interviews Martina Knee

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