Sudan Sanctions: Publicly Reported Violations

of the 5-track engagement plan by the Government of Sudan

Posted by OBS Team on June 30th, 2017

UPDATE: On October 12, 2017, the Trump Administration lifted some sanctions on Sudan despite a severe lack of progress on the ground as outlined in this report. Our organization maintains the view that sanctions on their own are not policy. The process that led to the lifting of sanctions was severely flawed and did not take into account a number of important points as outlined in our report. 

The U.S. government still has no active foreign policy towards Sudan and millions of Sudanese remain oppressed and silenced, especially in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile. Because of this, we consider that the decision to lift sanctions was premature, especially considering that Sudan's dictatorship committed many flagrant violations of the sanctions-lifting agreement. These violations were largely ignored by the U.S. government. 

Despite this setback, we would like to thank those of you who read this report, shared it with their Congressional offices, and took other actions. Thank you. 

For additional advocacy opportunities, please visit the Advocacy section of our website

On January 13, 2017, the Obama Administration announced that, over the preceding six months, the United States had been on a “comprehensive” five-track engagement plan with the Government of Sudan concerning the lifting of U.S. sanctions in exchange for progress in specific areas concerning the Government of Sudan’s behavior. The stated five-tracks of this plan are as follows:

  1. An end to government offensive military operations.
  2. Improving humanitarian aid access in conflict areas.
  3. Ending Sudan’s destabilizing role in South Sudan. 
  4. Countering terrorist groups. 
  5. Ending the threat of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

Upon making this announcement, the U.S. Department of State claimed that the Government of Sudan had “made significant progress toward these goals, as well as new commitments." This claim was met with near-unanimous confusion from a number of respected Sudan watchers, human rights organizations, Congressional officials familiar with Sudan, Sudanese diaspora groups, and more. The confusion centered around a single question: “what sustainable progress?”

Regardless of these serious concerns, the Obama Administration immediately began a six-month process of lifting comprehensive U.S. sanctions on Sudan to encourage progress that remains largely non-existent. 

Sudan Sanctions: Publicly Reported Violations Of The Five-Track Engagement Plan By The Government of Sudan

July 12, 2017 marks the end of the six-month period of lifting sanctions as begun by the Obama Administration. During this time, the Government of Sudan has committed sweeping violations of this agreement that have continued to negatively impact millions of Sudanese and U.S. interests.

Many of these publicly-reported violations can be found in our new 43-page report Sudan Sanctions: Publicly Reported Violations Of The Five-Track Engagement Plan By The Government of Sudan.


This report serves to show the broader egregiousness of the Government of Sudan’s violations of the five-track process it entered into with the United States, as well as other issues that should be considered critical to the sanctions-lifting process. There are a handful of authoritative, independent news agencies and NGOs that have been faithfully reporting on these issues in Sudan for years. This report simply brings such open-source reporting into a single location. It also highlights the severe issues of the five-track process itself and provides basic recommendations that can help the United States Government begin stepping in a more productive direction. 

This report does not make a recommendation on whether sanctions should be lifted or not. The current sanctions debate is too limited and does not address Sudan’s severe governance issues or American interests. U.S. sanctions should be one specific component of a much broader discussion concerning U.S. foreign policy towards Sudan. Currently the United States has no Special Envoy for Sudan, much less an effective policy to assist the Sudanese people in securing a lasting peace and bringing about a permanent end to the Government of Sudan’s support of terrorism through political transformation. Without these things in place, it is likely that the five-track process will continue to falter as it is doing now.

But most importantly, behind these documented violations are real people suffering underneath the Government of Sudan’s dictatorial rule. Millions of Sudanese remain silenced and still have not been given the ability to speak out concerning U.S. foreign policy struggles with regards to Sudan, much less tell their stories of the suffering they continue to endure underneath the Government of Sudan. This needs to change.


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The people of Sudan are overcoming two of the greatest challenges facing humanity today: war and genocide. Operation Broken Silence is working to accelerate their ability to generate lasting change through storytelling, education, advocacy, and emergency relief programs. Here are a few different ways you can join us:

1. Send This Report To Your Member of Congress. Our elected officials need to know the hard facts about the Government of Sudan's violations, the major issues with the five-track process, and some good starting points for a new U.S. foreign policy towards Sudan that is desperately needed. You can download the report, attach it to an email, and send it along. DOWNLOAD REPORT »

2. Share This Report Online. Scroll down a little bit and click our Facebook and Twitter share buttons to get started. You can also copy/paste the link to this page if you would like.  

3. Give Monthly. Ultimately, it is the Sudanese people who are responsible for securing a better future for their country. The best way to do that is to invest directly in them. Joining The Renewal is the best way to do that. LEARN MORE »

You can also follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and Snapchat and sign up for email updates

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