The following information reports U.S. Government priorities and activities of the U.S. mission in Sudan to promote democracy and human rights. For background on Sudan's human rights conditions, please see the 2009 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
and the International Religious Freedom Reports
Part 1: U.S. Government Democracy Objectives
U.S. priorities for promoting democratic principles and human rights in the country include leading international efforts to resolve the conflict in Darfur and working to ensure the robust and credible implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). Responding to humanitarian needs is also a major U.S. priority. The United States is the largest humanitarian donor to the country.
Other democracy and human rights issues that are important to the United States include efforts to combat violence against women in Darfur, the passage of reformed legislation on press and national security, facilitating the conduct of elections and referenda, improvements to governance capacity in the south, including rule of law, and civil society capacity building.
Part 2: Supporting Top Priorities and Other Aspects of Human Rights and Democratic Governance
The United States continues to respond to the genocide and on-going conflict in Darfur by providing humanitarian assistance to vulnerable populations, enabling the deployment of the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), and working toward a lasting political settlement. The United States pays more than one-fourth of the total cost of UNAMID through UN assessed contributions. U.S. assistance promotes the rights of vulnerable civilians affected by the conflict, particularly women. This assistance includes capacity building for Darfuri women activists, programs that address gender-based violence, and the provision of food aid. In support of peacekeeping operations in the region, the United States assists peacekeeping forces with substantial financial and technical support, including airlifting, training, housing, and equipping troops. The United States continues to support efforts by the international community to promote a comprehensive political settlement for Darfur through peace negotiations. Efforts by the U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan to unify Darfur's rebel movements have given impetus to peace talks in Doha, Qatar. The U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan has visited Darfur on numerous occasions, as has the U.S. Charge d'Affaires. Other U.S. officials visit Darfur regularly to meet with internally displaced persons, civil society, rebel movements, UN officials, NGO staff, and other contacts to observe conditions on the ground first-hand.
The U.S. democracy assistance strategy to support the implementation of the CPA focuses on power sharing, wealth sharing, implementation of Popular Consultations for Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, and security arrangements, including in Abyei. The United States continued to lead international efforts to refocus attention on the CPA, building on its June 2009 Forum for Supporters of the CPA in Washington, D.C. The United States provided robust nationwide support for preparation for national elections, as called for in the CPA, including technical assistance to the National Election Commission, training for political parties, and civic and voter education, as well as domestic and international observation. The U.S. Government dispatched nearly fifty observers to 17 states during the polling period. The United States supports capacity building for key Government of Southern Sudan ministries; promotes independent media through support to short-wave radio programming, community radio stations, and through journalism education; provides support for the development of a professional and responsive criminal justice system that promotes the rule of law; and provides long-term capacity building to nascent civil society organizations across Southern Sudan and in the Three Areas (Abyei, Blue Nile, and Southern Kordofan). The United States facilitates the transformation of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) to a more professional and accountable military force that respects human rights. This includes providing technical advisors to work with the SPLA to improve transparency and the division of labor between the SPLA and Southern Sudan Police Services. U.S. assistance also includes programs for the Three Areas to increase state and local government capacity to provide essential public services and to engage marginalized communities in participatory planning and budgeting. In addition, CPA implementation is being supported through U.S. programs to teach community members to monitor implementation of the agreement, advocate for their rights, and learn about free and fair election practices.
U.S. diplomatic efforts support civil society efforts to promote human rights and democracy. U.S. officials meet regularly with civil society members. The United States supports the inclusion of independent civil society groups in the Darfur peace negotiations. U.S. public diplomacy efforts include International Visitor Leadership Programs on a range of topics including: principles of transparency in government, women as political leaders, promoting the rule of law and judicial reform, and responsible journalism. Specifically, to develop the media, the U.S. Government supported numerous video conferences and workshops and presented a speaker on journalism education in both Khartoum and Juba. U.S. efforts to increase dialogue about human rights included panel discussions on women's rights and visitor exchange programs focused on developing educational curriculum on tackling corruption in a post-conflict environment.
U.S. officials, including the Charge d'Affaires, regularly raise rule of law issues with government officials and stress the need to follow the human rights guarantees provided by the Interim National Constitution. We continue to call on the Government of Sudan and all other parties to the conflict to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Court and its prosecutor as required by Security Council resolution 1593 (2005). The U.S. Government issued numerous statements condemning Sudan's human rights violations, including the detention of prominent opposition political party leaders, the use of force to disperse peaceful political demonstrations, press censorship, and the expulsion of international NGOs. The U.S. Government continued to track unlawful detentions committed after the 2008 Justice and Equality Movement attack on Omdurman, and to address the subject of human rights violations with Sudan. The United States also continues to emphasize the importance of ending the use of child soldiers. U.S. officials engage with the government on religious freedom issues, and commissioners from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom visited the country in January.