STRATEGY PAPER: Obama Administration Needs to Hold Sudan Accountable to Clear Benchmarks

Jan 19, 2010, 09:49 ET from Center for American Progress

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In its Sudan policy review completed in mid-October 2009, the Obama administration indicated it would regularly assess the progress of peace in Sudan -- or lack thereof. However, the administration has not publicly disclosed precisely what benchmarks it is applying to assess progress in Sudan, even as it begins its official review process this month and as tensions increase with the coming April national elections, and with the January 2011 referendum on independence for Southern Sudan rapidly approaching.

To help bring transparency to the process by which United States ensures strict adherence to unambiguous benchmarks, and apply the appropriate pressures and incentives accordingly, a coalition of nine Sudan advocacy groups has today released a strategy paper aiming to provide these benchmarks for the administration -- guidance for how officials, concerned citizens, and others in the international community can assess genuine progress toward a lasting peace in Sudan.

The nine-member coalition includes the Enough Project at the Center for American Progress, Humanity United, American Jewish World Service, Genocide Intervention Network, Human Rights Watch, iACT/Stop Genocide Now, Investors Against Genocide, Physicians for Human Rights, and the Save Darfur Coalition.

The benchmarks are designed to hold the Obama administration to its promise to set and enforce clear and pre-determined benchmarks of progress for the government of Sudan. The relative progress toward or away from these benchmarks would then determine the pressures and incentives -- so-called "carrots" and "sticks" -- that would be brought to bear in 2010, a moment the Obama Administration itself said, "can either lead to steady improvements in the lives of the Sudanese people or degenerate into even more violent conflict and state failure."

"This is an important moment for the Deputies who are charged with leading the administration review to take a hard look at the real facts on the ground in Sudan," said John Norris, Executive Director of the Enough Project. "There are many worrying indicators that suggest a much broader conflict could break out in Sudan over the course of the next year, and U.S. policy needs to be directed with great urgency toward preventing that from happening."

"We are at the beginning of a critical year for the future of Sudan," noted Jerry Fowler, President of the Save Darfur Coalition. "It is of the utmost importance that the administration evaluates progress in Sudan based on the facts on the ground; facts which are stark.  2.7 million internally displaced persons in Darfur; over 4 million dependent on humanitarian aid; increasing violence and instability in South Sudan; and April elections which will take place in an environment of fear and intimidation. These facts underscore the urgency with which the administration must quickly conclude that the status quo remains unacceptable and that increased high-level engagement to build an international coalition for peace in Sudan is necessary."

To read the strategy paper, visit www.enoughproject.org/benchmarks. To schedule a media interview, contact Eileen White Read, Enough Project at the Center for American Progress, 202 641 0779; eread@enoughproject.org.

SOURCE Center for American Progress



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