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Continuing Crisis in Sudan: USCIRF Presents Eyewitness Accounts

For Immediate Release
December 14, 2011| by USCIRF

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A report documenting Sudanese government violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states was released today by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.

The report is based on eyewitness accounts and interviews conducted by USCIRF staff in the Yida refugee camp October, 17 - 24, 2011. The Commission released the report at a press conference also attended by Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Frank Wolf (R-VA).

"The government of President Omar al-Bashir is killing people in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states based on religion and ethnicity, and is denying them access to vital international, unrestricted humanitarian assistance - as Bashir did during the North-South civil war and the Darfur genocide,” said Leonard Leo, USCIRF chair. "The world must wake up and put a stop to the atrocities the Sudanese government is committing against its own people.”

The report details eyewitness accounts of Christian leaders being killed, arrested, or fleeing after being told soldiers were looking for them; Christian and Muslims being threatened in houses of worship; and Christian and Muslim houses of worship being destroyed during ground offenses and aerial bombardments.

Aerial bombardments and denial of food assistance has created a humanitarian crisis that is raging now in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. More than 50,000 people have been forced to flee to neighboring countries and more than 230,000 people have been internally displaced in the Nuba Mountains.

The press conference and report release coincided with a USCIRF photo exhibit on Capitol Hill demonstrating the human toll of the violence.

In late October, USCIRF staff traveled to South Sudan and interviewed religious leaders from the Nuba Mountains, refugees from the two states, and representatives of international organizations. USCIRF was among the first U.S. government officials to travel to Yida refugee camp in South Sudan, where more than 20,000 refugees from the Nuba Mountains have fled targeted violence and a humanitarian crisis.

Click here to read report

Click here for Chairman Leonard Leo's Press Conference Remarks

USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission. USCIRF Commissioners are appointed by the President and the leadership of both political parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives. USCIRF's principal responsibilities are to review the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom internationally and to make policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress.

To interview a USCIRF Commissioner, contact Tom Carter, Communications Director at tcarter@uscirf.gov, or (202) 523-3257.