U.S.-Sudan Relations: Enough Project’s Statement on Making the Next Step Count

Omer Ismail (L), senior adviser at the Enough Project; and Ryan Boyette(Photo: Enough Project)

Omer Ismail (L), senior adviser at the Enough Project; and Ryan Boyette(Photo: Enough Project)

August 30, 2017 – The Enough Project has called on the United States to utilize more effective pressures and incentives to address the root problem in Sudan: the authoritarian, kleoptocratic government. Enough Project’s statement begins with key benchmarks, including the need for peace negotiations, cessation of hostilities, and protection of religious freedoms. The statement then identifies a range of options for U.S. policymakers, including network sanctions and anti-money laundering measures, aimed at creating the leverage for these fundamental reforms in the Sudanese state.

Read the full statement below.

In July, the Trump administration delayed the decision on whether to terminate the longstanding comprehensive sanctions on Sudan, a process that began during the last days of the Obama administration. The administration extended the deadline for a decision to October 12, 2017.

Enough Project experts are available for comment and analysis.

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U.S.-SUDAN RELATIONS: MAKING THE NEXT STEP COUNT

The government of Sudan has a long history of mass killings, forced displacement of its people and denial of their fundamental rights, such as religious freedoms, including through attacking churches. Internationally, it has supported terrorist and extremist groups, and continues to destabilize its neighbors. The next phase of U.S. policy needs to address the root problem in Sudan: the authoritarian, kleoptocratic government that makes tactical short-term adjustments in its policies in response to mild pressures but retains its strategic objectives.  The U.S. should utilize more effective pressures and incentives to attempt to bring about more fundamental reforms in the Sudanese state, reforms that would better protect Sudanese people and more effectively secure U.S. strategic interests in the region.  That requires a comprehensive peace agreement with armed groups, commitment to human rights protections, including for religious minorities, and a more inclusive sharing of power with other Sudanese groups.

Benchmarks: Steps the U.S. should press the Sudanese government to take:

  • Engage in cessation of hostilities and peace negotiations with all armed groups without preconditions, reach agreement and verifiably honor agreement
  • Ensure religious freedom by, among other steps, ceasing the demolition of churches; abolishing limitations placed on the construction of new places of worship; repealing Article 126 of the Sudanese Criminal Law on apostasy, to bring it in line with international law; and amending Sudan’s laws, including the Public Order Law, Personal Status Law and Criminal Law, so that they comply with the Constitution, and with Sudan’s international human rights obligations
  • Revise laws in violation of the constitution, including the National Security Act of 2010, the NGO bill, and the Criminal Code, and remove legal immunities for SAF, NISS and paramilitaries
  • Participate in a constitutional convention in Sudan that is led by Sudanese stakeholders and overseen by independent international monitors, followed by adoption of the new constitution
  • Increase transparency around state budgets and corporate ownership and shareholdings
  • Create conditions for free and fair elections, hold elections and honor results

Pressures: The next phase of engagement should feature smart, modernized sanctions that spare the Sudanese public and target those most responsible for grand corruption, atrocities and obstructing peace.  The new pressures should include very specific and robust network sanctions based on the best financial intelligence available, including information provided by The Sentry, and aimed at key officials and their networks who are undermining peace and human rights, combined with anti-money laundering measures designed to protect the integrity of the U.S. financial system.  This represents a shift from a sanctions regime that is geography-based to one that is conduct-based.  This approach narrowly targets the conduct of the individuals and entities most responsible for committing mass atrocities and diverting Sudan’s rich resources to private purposes, and then seeks to disrupt the facilitating corporate and banking networks that support these individuals and entities. These new financial pressures can achieve broad U.S. foreign policy objectives while explicitly seeking to minimize impact on ordinary Sudanese people.

Incentives: New incentives for the Sudanese government should be introduced and tied to transformational benchmarks.  Removal of the State Sponsor of Terrorism designation and support for Sudanese debt relief should be considered, but only associated with achievement of the major reforms listed above.  Shorter term incentives could include appointment of a full U.S. ambassador and increased trade promotion activities.

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For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Greg Hittelman, Director of Communications, +1 310 717 0606gh@enoughproject.org.

About THE ENOUGH PROJECT – an anti-atrocity policy group

The Enough Project supports peace and an end to mass atrocities in Africa’s deadliest conflict zones. Together with its investigative initiative The Sentry, Enough counters armed groups, violent kleptocratic regimes, and their commercial partners that are sustained and enriched by corruption, criminal activity, and the trafficking of natural resources. By helping to create consequences for the major perpetrators and facilitators of atrocities and corruption, Enough seeks to build leverage in support of peace and good governance. Enough conducts research in conflict zones, engages governments and the private sector on potential policy solutions, and mobilizes public campaigns focused on peace, human rights, and breaking the links between war and illicit profit. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.

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