Widespread protests that erupted in Sudan on December 19 over worsening economic conditions have led to a palace coup that saw Sudan's longstanding dictator Omar al-Bashir arrested, the near-immediate fall of a new dictator within 24 hours, and the emergence of a brutal junta that is now refusing to meet protesters demands. Sudan's peaceful revolution, which has been spearheaded by women, students, and young professionals, is hanging in the balance.
Since the Transitional Military Council seized power on April 11, military leaders have delayed, stalled, and walked back on promise after promise in the face of sustained protests. Over the past few days, the situation has grown increasingly tense. Several more Sudanese have been injured and murdered by the junta's brutal Rapid Support Forces militia in Khartoum. It is clear that the junta is not a new regime as they wish the world to believe, but is in fact the same regime as it was underneath Bashir.
U.S. Policy Is Gridlocked
Despite nearly 5 months of protests and the regime's lethal response, the U.S. government has failed to make any real policy changes to match the rapidly changing situation in Sudan. A poorly managed effort to improve U.S.-Sudan bilateral relations began underneath the Obama Administration and continued largely unchanged underneath the Trump Administration until very recently.
While the current administration has paused bilateral talks with the regime in Khartoum and joined protesters calls for a transition to democracy and civilian rule, the need for a more robust and focused policy that increases pressure on the Transitional Military Council remains lacking. As one senior U.S. official recently noted in an interview, “What’s happening in Sudan is a sea change, and there’s nobody minding the store. The policy process is broken.”
Congressional committees began realizing that something was amiss in American policy back in January. In February, we noted that Congressional activity needed to ramp up due to changes in U.S. policy historically stemming from Congressional accountability of the Executive Branch. The House and Senate pursuit for answers has become increasingly vocal ever since, albeit at a painstakingly slow pace.
Today, a bipartisan group of 92 members of the House and Senate appealed to the State and Treasury Departments for a more robust policy that matches changes on the ground in Sudan. Their bipartisan letter hits on several critical points where U.S. policy has clearly gone off the rails and notes the urgency of the present moment. READ THE FULL LETTER »
While this latest Congressional effort is a good step in the right direction, it is not nearly enough. American policymakers are woefully behind the now rapidly changing situation in Sudan, and the dangers of that reality are already coming to fruition. For better or worse, Congressional action has long been the driving force when it comes to initiating changes in U.S. policy towards Sudan. This escalating crisis warrants the Senate Foreign Relations and House Foreign Affairs Committees making Sudan a top foreign policy priority immediately.
The people of Sudan are overcoming two of the greatest challenges facing humanity today: war and genocide. Operation Broken Silence is accelerating their ability to generate lasting change by funding storytelling and movement-building, education and emergency response, and grassroots advocacy programs. Here are a few ways you can join us:
1. Give Monthly To The Education In Yida. The Renewal is our unstoppable family of monthly givers who never stop fighting for change. They give automatically each and every month to the two schools we sponsor in Yida Refugee Camp, providing consistent support to 24 teachers and nearly 1,100 students. Monthly givers who donate $25+ a month also get free tickets to our two annual events! LEARN MORE »
2. Become A Fundraiser. If you can't give monthly right now but have some time to spare, you can start an online fundraising page for the schools in Yida or Mother of Mercy Hospital in the Nuba Mountains warzone. BECOME A FUNDRAISER »
3. Give Once. Not ready to commit with a monthly gift or fundraising yet? That's okay, making a one-time gift is the best next step to get your feet wet! GIVE HERE »
Mark began working on Sudan issues in 2007 after an eye-opening conversation with a genocide survivor from Darfur, Sudan. Since 2011 he has overseen the steady growth of our organization.
Mark makes sure our on the ground programs stay on the rails and that our movement remains focused on our end goal of closing our doors one day. He’s one of only a few Americans to have been in frontline areas in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan during the war.