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Note: This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published by the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC) from 1995 to 2001 and by Africa Action from 2001 to 2003. APIC was merged into Africa Action in 2001. Please note that many outdated links in this archived document may not work.

Sudan: NGO Policy Paper

Sudan: NGO Policy Paper
Date Distributed (ymd): 970116
Document reposted by WOA


The following paper has been issued by the Policy Committee of the Sudan Working Group. (The Sudan Working Group is a coalition of NGOs based in Washington DC, all of whom have a strong interest in Sudan.)

This Policy Paper will be used as a framework for advocacy work in the U.S. and meetings will be held for this purpose beginning later this month. Key policy leaders will receive a packet of materials on Sudan and have the Policy Paper explained in personal meetings with representatives of the supporting groups. Meetings will be held with policy leaders from the U.S. Congress, the Department of State and the National Security Council. Endorsements of the Policy Paper are now being solicited from all groups with a particular interest and concern for Sudan. To have your group added to the list of endorsers please send a reply to: Fredericka Jacob, email:; fax 202-832-9051; phone 202-832-3412. Please respond by February 1, 1997.


The crisis in Sudan is escalating on a number of fronts:

  • The civil war continues to deepen:
  • Human rights violations continue unabated;
  • Reports of slavery are proliferating;
  • The government maintains its regional destabilization agenda;
  • Terrorists are housed and trained in Sudan;
  • Instability and repression are increasing in the north; and
  • Food and livelihood crises remain chronic in the south.

Despite the disparate efforts of concerned governments and multilateral organizations, the crisis in Sudan continues to deepen. A network of NGOs, religious organizations and individuals has constituted the Sudan Working Group to discuss policy options and develop this Strategy Paper for the U.S. Government, other donor governments, the Organization of African Unity (OAU), regional governments and NGOs.

The following recommendations are meant to be specific to the Sudan, given the protracted nature of the internal war and the regionalization of the conflict. They result from months of consultations here in Washington, ideas which have been vetted by a variety of groups within Sudan as well as by interested organizations in Europe and Canada. The policy suggestions also aim to coincide with the U.S. Government's Greater Horn of Africa Initiative, which seeks to prevent the escalation of violent conflict.

1. Sanctions

1.1 The U.S. Government must progressively increase the pressure on the Government of Sudan (GOS) through the UN Security Council. Multilateral sanctions should be targeted at the regime and its elite supporters. The limited air embargo and other previously approved sanctions should be fully implemented.

1.2 The UN should coordinate with the OAU on any further sanctions.

1.3 The Arakis Corporation oil project in Sudan, if fully funded and developed, would supply the GOS with the funds to fuel the war, prop up a government labeled by the U.S. as a terrorist nation, and undercut other international economic pressures. Therefore, the U.S. government should insist, in so far as it is applied to Sudan, on strict enforcement of Section 321 of the Antiterrorism Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-132) which makes it a crime for U.S. persons or corporations to engage in financial transactions with the government of a country officially labeled as terrorist state. The U.S. government should rescind the 8/23/96 Treasury Department regulations, 31 CFR 596 Final Rule, which provide an easy loophole for getting around the law and providing financing for oil development and other GOS development projects in Sudan.

2. Peace Negotiations

2.1 The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Declaration of Principles (DOP) -- which clearly defines the future options in Sudan -- should be the basis and starting point of any negotiations process for peace in Sudan. U.S. policy should remain focused on a comprehensive peace based on the DOP that incorporates all parties. Efforts to resolve the internal war must not lose sight of the larger regional conflict.

2.2 Because of the GOS' divide and rule tactics, there remains a potential for increased fighting between the dominant rebel movement in the south (the SPLM/A) and the principal splinter faction which holds much of the territory in Upper Nile province (the SSIM/A). Further violence against civilian populations will be caused by other GOS-supported militia throughout the south. International pressure and diplomatic effort should be expended to prevent the escalation of intra-south fighting, which would cause great human suffering, undercut peace efforts, and play directly into the GOS' military and political strategy.

2.3 To reduce, as much as possible, military conflict and intercommunal raiding between southern factions and communities, local-level negotiations and meetings between chiefs in areas with the largest potential for violence, such as the Dinka-Nuer borders, should be encouraged, facilitated and resourced. The initiatives of other civil society organizations within southern Sudan which might contribute to peace-building should also be supported.

3. Civil Structures

3.1 Aid should consciously support fledgling civil administration structures and increase its support for the civilian institutional capacity within the south. Aid should particularly expand for the structures at the lowest unit of social organization, whether village liberation councils or community organizations. Aid should include support for local justice systems and ensure that civil structures in the Nuba Mountains also receive assistance.

3.2 Aid agencies should build on their important support for capacity building efforts in the south. The process of developing a political alternative in northern Sudan should be assisted through support for political and civic organizations in the north.

4. Long Term Development in Southern Sudan

4.1 U.S. development aid to Sudan is currently prohibited by a number of laws. These restrictions should be waived for areas of Sudan outside the control of the GOS. Capacity building and development assistance to areas not held by the government should be used as incentives to increase accountability, enhance local management of crisis response, and reduce intra-south conflict.

5. Multilateral Banks

5.1 The U.S. Government should oppose all loans and credits to Sudan from the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank.

6. Ensuring Humanitarian Access

6.1 The GOS is attempting to effectively restructure and control Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS) by routing all aid through Government-controlled areas and closing the southern sector of OLS. Donor governments and agencies should resist all these efforts. Reforms should focus on reducing the ability of any party to restrict humanitarian access for Sudanese civilians.

6.2 When humanitarian access is threatened or continuously denied to certain areas (such as the Nuba Mountains), the UN Security Council should act to ensure that relief is not held hostage to GOS consent processes.

6.3 Emergency preparedness in the east should be enhanced as a contingency in case of increased conflict along the Sudan-Eritrea and Sudan-Ethiopia borders.

6.4 The absence of conditions on humanitarian aid has promoted the abuse of aid and left international donors with little leverage. The OLS Ground Rules -- a mechanism to require adherence to international humanitarian principles by the SPLM/A and SSIM/A -- should be expanded to the GOS.

6.5 One of the great failures of OLS and the donors has been the inadequacy of the response to the needs of internally displaced persons in northern Sudan. More forceful advocacy should be expended on behalf of these forgotten populations.

7. Human Rights Advocacy

7.1 Although the GOS is clearly -- by virtue of scope and intensity -- the largest violator of human rights in Sudan, all parties to the conflict should be held accountable for abuses. Therefore, the U.S. Government should continue to consistently and strongly advocate for access for human rights monitors to all areas of Sudan. The U.S. Government should support the efforts of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan.

7.2 The U.S. Government should call for an international commission of investigation to address slavery in Sudan.

7.3 At its April 1996 conference on civil structures, the SPLM/A has invited NGOs and others to help them establish a local mechanism for protecting and monitoring human rights. This initiative and similar ones should be supported.


We envision a future Sudan which is not destabilizing its neighbors, exporting terrorism, and repressing segments of its own population. The pre-requisites for such a future include: coordinating a more comprehensive strategy with multilateral actors, donor governments, IGAD, aid agencies, religious institutions, and Sudanese organizations; staying the course on that strategy for an extended period of time; and acting with the courage of conviction.

Signed: The Sudan Working Group Policy Committee, consisting of Africa Faith and Justice Network, Center of Concern, Church of the Brethren, Maryknoll, Missionaries of Africa, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), World Vision

This material is being reposted for wider distribution by the Washington Office on Africa (WOA), a not-for-profit church, trade union and civil rights group supported organization that works with Congress on Africa-related legislation. WOA's educational affiliate is the Africa Policy Information Center (APIC).

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