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US Lobby Groups Want A No-Fly Zone in Sudan


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

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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    John Tanza

    John Tanza works out of VOA’s Washington headquarters and is the managing editor and host of the  South Sudan In Focus radio program.
     
    Before joining VOA, John worked in Nairobi, Kenya where he established the first independent radio station (Sudan Radio Service) for the people of Sudan. He has covered several civil wars both in Sudan and South Sudan and has been engaged in the production of civic education materials for creating awareness about post conflict issues facing Sudanese and South Sudanese. John has interviewed South Sudan President Salva Kiir, former Vice President Riek Machar, Vice President Wani Igga, leader of Sudan’s Umma Party Sadiq Al Mahdi in addition to other senior United Nations and U.S government officials in South Sudan and Washington. His travels have taken him across to Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Egypt, Ethiopia, Syria, DRC Congo and parts East Africa where he reported on the South Sudanese diaspora and the challenges facing them.
     
    A South Sudanese national, John enjoys listening to music from all over the world, reads academic books, watches documentaries and listens to various radio stations on the internet.  You can follow John on Twitter at @Abusukon
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