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Sens. Cruz, Durbin Introduce Bipartisan Resolution to Support Peaceful Transfer of Power in Sudan

May 3, 2019

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202-228-7561

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) this week introduced a bipartisan resolution encouraging a swift transfer of power by the military to a civilian-led political authority in Sudan.

“The people of Sudan have suffered under the tyranny of the Omar al-Bashir and his thugs for three decades," Sen. Cruz said. "Now that he has been removed from power, Sudan’s military should ensure a swift transition of power to a civilian-led political authority that reflects the will of the Sudanese people, and is committed to credible, internationally-monitored elections. In the meantime, and until that happens, the United States must maintain pressure on Sudan’s rulers, and there should be no movement to normalize relations with the Government of Sudan or remove it from the State Sponsors of Terrorism List.”

“In 2010, I visited Sudan and what later became the independent nation of South Sudan to discuss the country's troubling violence.  For years the world had watched as Omar al-Bashir unleased a genocide in Darfur and war in South Sudan.  His crimes deservedly earned him an indictment by the International Criminal Court -- which he must now finally face,” said Durbin.  “That the Sudanese people have finally had enough of his tyrannical rule is understandable and they deserve U.S. and international support in undertaking a credible democratic transition.”

S. Res. 188 is cosponsored by Chairman James Risch (R-Idaho), Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).

Read the full text of the resolution here and below:

Encouraging a swift transfer of power by the military to a civilian-led political authority in the Republic of the Sudan, and for other purposes.

Whereas the nation of Sudan has endured corrupt and brutal dictatorships for most of its post-independence period since 1956;

Whereas President Omar al-Bashir came to power through a military coup in 1989, and for the next three decades his government was responsible for horrendous crimes in Sudan, especially Darfur, South Kordofan, Blue Nile, and in what is now the Republic of South Sudan;

Whereas the United States Government designated Sudan a State Sponsor of Terrorism on August 12, 1993, for its support to international terrorist organizations and extremists, including elements of what would later be known as al Qaeda;

Whereas more than two decades of civil war between President al-Bashir’s government and insurgents in southern Sudan resulted in more than 2,000,000 deaths and led to the eventual independence of South Sudan in 2011;

Whereas in 2003, President al-Bashir’s government launched a ruthless crackdown against insurgents and civilians in Darfur that killed at least 300,000 Sudanese and displaced 2,500,000 more, resulting in Congress and the Administration of President George W. Bush in 2004 describing as genocide the Government of Sudan’s actions in Darfur;

Whereas in 2011, when conflict resumed in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, President al-Bashir’s government conducted indiscriminate bombings and raided villages, raping and killing civilians, and waged a campaign of forced starvation in the Nuba Mountains region of South Kordofan that displaced as many as 2,000,000 people;

Whereas, while the fighting between government forces and insurgents in Darfur has subsided since 2016, when the government waged a large-scale offensive before declaring a ceasefire, violent attacks against civilians continue and humanitarian access remains restricted in some opposition stronghold areas of Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile;

Whereas President al-Bashir remains the subject of two outstanding arrest warrants from the International Criminal Court based on charges including five counts of crimes against humanity, two counts of war crimes, and three counts of genocide;

Whereas Sudan’s economic crisis risks bringing the national economy to total collapse, further raising the possibility of state failure and broader regional destabilization that could threaten a wide array of United States interests in East and North Africa and the Red Sea regions;

Whereas the people of Sudan have engaged since December 2018 in a wave of peaceful protests throughout the country demanding an end to the hegemony of President al-Bashir’s brutal regime;

Whereas President al-Bashir’s government unlawfully detained and tortured hundreds of Sudanese during the protests, including political leaders, journalists, doctors, unionists, and youth and women leaders, in violation of the country’s constitutional provisions guaranteeing free speech, association, and assembly;

Whereas on February 22, 2019, President al-Bashir declared a year-long nationwide state of emergency and curfew, dissolving his government and replacing state governors with senior security officers and expanding the powers of Sudan’s security forces;

Whereas when protesters in early April challenged President al-Bashir’s decrees and gathered in the tens of thousands in front of Sudan’s military headquarters in Khartoum to call for an end to the regime, some elements of the security forces tried to disperse the crowds with violence, leading to clashes between internal security forces and the military as some soldiers sought to protect the protesters;

Whereas on April 11, 2019, after five days of mass protests in front of their headquarters, Sudan’s military removed President al-Bashir from office and the country’s First Vice President and Minister of Defense, Lt. General Awad Ibn Auf, announced he would lead a Transitional Military Committee (‘‘TMC’’) that would rule the country for a two-year transition period, in addition to the suspension of the Constitution, dissolution of the National Assembly, and the imposition of a three-month State of Emergency and nightly curfew;

Whereas Lt. General Abdel-Fattah Burnhan, former general inspector of the Sudanese Armed Forces, who replaced Ibn Auf on April 12, 2019, as the Chairman of the Transitional Military Council, said on April 21, 2019, that the council was ‘‘ready to hand over power tomorrow to a civilian government agreed by political forces’’; and

Whereas, the African Union Peace and Security Council convened on April 30, 2019, and reiterated its conviction that ‘‘a military-led transition in Sudan will be totally unacceptable and contrary to the will and legitimate aspirations’’ of the Sudanese people, expressed ‘‘deep regret’’ that the military had not stepped aside, and, noting negotiations were underway, demanded that the military hand over power to a civilian-led transitional authority within 60 days: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

(1) encourages a swift transfer of power by the military to a civilian-led political authority in Sudan that—

(A) respects and reflects the legitimate democratic aspirations of the people of Sudan; and

(B) engages in a credible process of democratization, governance, and security sector reforms, and is transparent in how it measures such progress;

(2) calls on the ruling authorities in Sudan to take measurable steps to—

(A) respect the right to freedom of association and expression;

(B) protect the rights of opposition political parties, journalists, human rights defenders, religious minorities, and nongovernmental organizations to operate without interference;

(C) lift the bureaucratic restrictions on and facilitate access for humanitarian relief operations;

(D) introduce strong measures to create transparency and address the structural corruption and kleptocracy of the state; and

(E) pursue accountability for serious crimes and human rights abuses;

(3) expresses solidarity with the people of Sudan, and urges the United States Government to provide diplomatic, technical, and targeted financial assistance for efforts to advance a peaceful transfer of power and a civilian-led transition period that allows for the peaceful resolution of Sudan’s conflicts and creates the conditions under which timely democratic elections can be held that will meet international standards and be overseen by credible domestic and international electoral observers;

(4) encourages the African Union to continue supporting the Sudanese people’s aspirations for democracy, justice, and peace; and

(5) emphasizes that until a transition to a credible civilian-led government that reflects the aspirations of the Sudanese people is established, the process to consider removing Sudan from the State Sponsor of Terrorism List, lifting any other remaining sanctions on Sudan, or normalizing relations with the Government of Sudan will continue to be suspended.

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