Sudanese American Public Affairs Association
SAPAA is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan, non-religious member-driven national organization focused on serving the interests of Sudanese Americans, empowering communities, and developing future leaders.
"Uplifting the Community & Empowering Our Youth"
AN OPEN LETTER FROM
THE SUDANESE AMERICAN COMMUNITY
MEMBERS OF THE 116TH UNITED STATES CONGRESS
June 3rd, 2020
We, the undersigned, are a group of Sudanese-American activists and professionals working to remove Sudan from the List of States Who Sponsor Terrorism. We write to you today on the anniversary of the June 3rd Massacre in Khartoum—a day Sudanese around the world will never forget. It was on this day just a year ago that months of peaceful, non-violent protests and demonstrations, led by a diverse coalition of Sudanese women, students, and professional associations, was violently and abruptly broken up.
In the early hours of that morning, Government paramilitary troops, known as the Rapid Support Forces, stormed the makeshift protest encampment in front of Army Headquarters with batons and gunfire. This unlawful action reminiscent of the previous regime of President Omar al-Bashir resulted in the deaths of more than three hundred peaceful protesters, the confirmed rape of more than 200 women and untold numbers of kidnappings. To hide their crimes, these troops threw the bodies of scores of victims into the River Nile.
Nevertheless, peaceful demonstrations resumed, as millions of resilient Sudanese people from all parts of the country defiantly chanted that they would no longer be ruled by the military and that they would continue to peacefully demand civilian rule. It wasn’t long before negotiations began between military forces, civilian politicians, and protest leaders—backed by US and European diplomats—and a compromise power-sharing agreement was reached that resulted in the appointment of Sudan’s first civilian leader in a generation, who is now heading a 3-year transitional government.
When I had the opportunity to introduce Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok to the Sudanese American Community in Virginia, during his December 2019 visit to Washington, I asked him the ways in which Sudan had changed. He reassured me that, politically, Sudan had pivoted, after thirty years of ruthless dictatorship, to a country which now demonstrated religious, ethnic, and racial tolerance amongst its civilians.
He indicated that while we still have a long way to go, that our people have already begun to look beyond their tribal affiliations, to one common Sudanese identity. This identity and nationalism never had a chance to take root, in the past, due to the insidious and xenophobic nature of the Bashir regime and its politics of divide-and-rule. Nevertheless, he also reassured us that in order for the revolution to ultimately succeed, Sudan needed to reject its past history of right abuses and terror and rejoin the community of nations. Essential to that is Sudan’s removal from the List of State Sponsors of Terrorism.
More than six months after the Prime Minister’s historic visit to Washington, the prolonged political and bureaucratic process to delist Sudan from the State Sponsor of Terrorism list is now creating political and financial impediments to the consolidation of civilian rule in the country. We fear that an unintended consequence of inaction could be the further weakening of civilian rule and, as a result, a strengthening of the security services’ grip on power.
For more than two decades, the United States has played an active peacemaking role in Sudan. First, as a lead broker of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which ended our long North-South civil war, and then, as the principal force to halt genocide in Darfur. More recently, the United States has provided important rhetorical support to Sudan’s civilian protesters and new civilian leaders. But if our hopes of seeing a Sudan at peace with itself and its neighbors is ever to be realized, it requires bold US action to help remove the major remaining impediments which threaten its success.
As members of the Sudanese American diaspora, we applauded the Trump Administration for supporting the agreement between the transitional military council and the Forces for Freedom and Change Coalition, which helped to avert even more bloodshed and helped usher in the opportunity for long-term civilian rule. While the current US-backed power-sharing government does include former elements of the Bashir regime, US assistance, with proper diplomatic messaging, can and should be targeted to help strengthen civilian rule and weaken the role of the armed forces in public life. This is exactly what the transition period is ideally put in place to do.
Nevertheless, we believe that the longer Sudan is viewed as a pariah or a risky partner because of its terrorist designation, the more difficult it will be to bolster the cause of civilian rule and undermine the strength of the security sector. Without access to a diversity of foreign direct investment from states other than Gulf countries or concessional lending for international financial institutions, the terrorism designation keeps in place the same financial and economic relationships that continue to benefit former regime elements.
Currently, Sudan is not doing business with Europe or the United States due to the high compliance costs and reputational risks associated with the terrorism designation. Instead, our country continues to rely heavily on less scrupulous banking and commercial relations with the Gulf States, such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, who have made their preference know for a strongman ruler in power across the Red Sea who would sustain and protect the deep political and financial ties built up over many years. This is why these states continue to support elements from the previous Bashir regime.
In the meantime, as the economy continues to crumble under the weight of financial collapse, and now Covid response, Sudanese are dying as the United States contemplates whether, when and how it will ultimately support our civilian leaders. But swift action is necessary.
Inaction will inevitably cause the democratic transition to fail.
The ongoing presence and strength of Islamist and militaristic elements from the Bashir regime worry us all. But these elements were also able to survive and thrive under the system of sanctions and terror designations that have been imposed on Sudan since 1989. But for civilian leaders trying to join the community of nations, hoping to diversify commercial relations, and striving to uphold international norms of human rights, these policies are undermining their ability to break from the past.
Much has been accomplished since the days last year when a million protesters gathered in the streets. We know what our people are capable of after enduring months of brutal crackdowns and after decades of dictatorship. They remain committed to peaceful non-violent demonstrations, to having women leading our marches, and to the cause of civilian-led, democratic government. But as much as Sudan’s revolution represents a true grassroots movement from within the country, if Sudan’s transition away from military rule is to be successful, we need the help of friends and partners who share these values and the hope of seeing Sudan rejoin the community of nations.
We call on you today to support the removal of the US terror designation on Sudan as a sign of your belief in the power of civilian rule. We urge you to act boldly and courageously to ensure that the revolution is not further compromised and that the forces of change in Sudan ultimately succeed.
Members of the Sudanese American Community
مع أهلنا ضد الكورونا
تلبيةً لنداء الوطن تم تكوين فريق مشترك من عدد من منظمات المجتمع السوداني بالولايات المتحدة الأمريكية لقيادة حملة واسعة لدعم مجهودات وزارة الصحة السودانية في مجابهة فيروس
الكورونا. سنعمل من خلال هذه الحملة عبر مكاتبنا وشركائنا بالداخل على المساعدة في توفير الإحتياجات الأساسية للكادر الصحي في السودان للتعامل مع الحالات المشتبهة والمؤكدة، مثل وحدات الفحص عن المرض، الكمامات، المعقمات، الزي الواقي، و معينات الحجر الصحي إضافةً إلي توفير الإستشارات وتدريب الكوادر الطبية عبر مختصين في المجال.
كذلك تهدف الحملة لتوفير معينات النظافة و التعقيم للجمهور، خصوصاً الفئات الأكثر تأثراً بالفيروس. و أيضاً نشر التوعية بإستعمال مقاطع الڤيديو والمقاطع الصوتية عبر منصات التواصل الإجتماعي وقنوات الإعلام السودانية المختلفة بهدف تقليل إحتمال الإصابة بالمرض وإنتشاره.
في سعينا للمساعدة في توفير الإحتياجات الأساسية ستكون الأولوية لدعم الإنتاج المحلي لهذه المواد أينما أتيح الخيار، دعماً للتصنيع المحلي وكسباً للوقت وتقليلاً للتكلفة، مع العمل علي شراء وشحن أي نواقص لا تتوفر محلياً بالجودة المطلوبة.
تأتي هذه الحملة إمتداداً للوقفات المشهودة لشعبنا السوداني العظيم بالخارج مع أهلنا بالداخل وترسيخاً لمبادئ التكاتف بين أبناء وبنات الوطن والتكاتف بين منظمات المجتمع السوداني المختلفة لتحقيق رفعة إنسان السودان. نعوّل علي إستجابتكم الواسعة لنداء الدعم الذي سنطلقه قريباً جداً بإذن الله.
منظمات المجتمع السوداني المشاركة في هذه الحملة هي:
Association of Sundanese-American Professors in America (ASAPA)
جمعية أساتذة الجامعات السودانيين-الأمريكيين بالولايات المتحدة الأمريكية
Darfor People’s Association of New York (DPANY)
رابطة أبناء دارفور بنيويورك
Sadagaat - USA
منظمة صدقات - أمريكا
سودان نيكست جين
Sudanese American Community New York
الجالية السودانية الأمريكية بنيويورك
Sudanese American Medical Association (SAMA)
المنظمة الطبية السودانية الأمريكية
Sudanese American Physicians Association (SAPA)
تجمع الأطباء السودانيين بأمريكا
Sudanese American Public Affairs Association (SAPAA)
المنظمة السودانية الأمريكية للشؤون العامة
University of Khartoum Alumni Association USA (UoKANA)
رابطة خريجي جامعة الخرطوم بأمريكا
US-Educated Sudanese Association (USESA)
جمعية السودانيين خريجي الجامعات الأمريكية
US-Sudanese Coalition to Support Sudan in Protecting Against Coronavirus
In an effort to support the Sudanese
government’s fight against the spread of the Coronavirus, a collaboration of US-based Sudanese organizations (listed above) met to discuss coordinating to support the Sudanese government in its efforts to contain the spread of the disease.
Our goals include coordinating the existing efforts by the various organizations in support of the fight against the Coronavirus spread in Sudan. We will work closely with the federal Ministry of Health to identify the challenges facing them as they respond to this critical situation. We will also work with our local partners in Sudan and the US to ensure adequate basic supplies, protective gear, and training for the medical staff working in the frontlines in Sudan.
In addition, we will launch an educational campaign to increase the Sudanese public’s awareness about the disease and how to limit exposure.
We’re counting on your support to help the people of Sudan deal with the Coronavirus crisis. A fundraising campaign will be started shortly. Your support makes a difference!
To promote and strengthen the well-being of Sudanese American communities by increasing engagement through education, public awareness, self-empowerment, and positive contributions, ultimately enhancing leadership development, resources, and providing better opportunities for Sudanese Americans
SAPAA seeks to engage Sudanese Americans and friends in order to build stronger, prosperous communities, and impact public policy on issues of concern to the Sudanese American community in the USA. Through such engagement SAPAA serve as a catalyst for self-empowerment, civic education and a networking forum encouraging full participation of its members in local and national political processes