In unanimously passing a bipartisan resolution Thursday night, the United States Senate has demanded that the government of Sudan allow immediate and unrestricted humanitarian access to Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states, where hundreds of thousands of people are at risk of starvation.
U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, introduced the resolution earlier this month with Senators Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.).
“The Senate has spoken loudly, clearly and unanimously this week in calling on the government of Sudan to allow humanitarian workers into Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile,” Senator Coons said. “President Bashir has the ability to avert a further escalation of the humanitarian crisis, and has a responsibility to do so.
I am pleased the Senate has joined the United Nations and others in the international community in calling on the Sudanese government to allow desperately needed humanitarian assistance to reach the more than 250,000 people in the region facing emergency food shortages. The people of Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile have suffered for too long, and they can no longer wait.”
Conflict between the government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (SPLM-N) has been ongoing since 2011 in two of Sudan’s border states. The Sudanese government has refused repeated requests by the United States, the United Nations, the African Union, non-governmental organizations, and others to allow humanitarian access to the conflict areas.
The resolution urges the government of Sudan to allow immediate and unrestricted humanitarian access to Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile and all other conflict-affected areas of Sudan, and implores Sudan and the SPLM-N to cease hostilities and negotiate a peaceful end to the conflict.
The resolution also urges the government of Sudan to allow civilians to leave the region voluntarily, implores Sudan to refrain from supporting proxy forces, and offers support for ongoing efforts by the Obama Administration and international partners to facilitate humanitarian access to affected areas and encourage a return to negotiations.
The text of the resolution, as introduced, can be found here.