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U.S. Tillerson urged to consider religious freedoms when it comes to Sudan’s sanctions

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Rex Tillerson (Getty Images)
June 29, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Seven U.S. groups called on the Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to take into account the lack of religious freedoms and the persecution of religious minorities in Sudan in the ongoing process for the lift of economic embargo on the east African country.

By the 12 July, based on an interagency report including the State Department the President Donald Trump is expected to issue a decision on whether to maintain or to remove the lift of economic sanctions on Sudan.

According to an agreement reached by the administration of the former President Barak Obama, the process includes five tracks: the fight against terrorism, cessation of hostilities in the conflict areas, humanitarian access, Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Sudan’s role in the peace process in South.

The seven groups voiced that Sudanese religious and ethnic minority groups and faith-based charitable organisations face discrimination, detention, violence, and the destruction of churches by the regime in Khartoum.

"Substantial minority of Sudanese do not follow the state-endorsed school of Islam," said the statement adding that those residing in the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan state, and southernmost parts of the Blue Nile state face discrimination and deprived of their rights due to their religious convictions.

The signatories further reminded that Sudan is designated a Country of Particular Concern by the U.S. State Department since 1999 and that the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom recommending that Sudan remains on the list in its 2016 review.

"This critical issue of religious freedom must be addressed in U.S. policy, and we urge the State Department both to be cognizant of this issue in relation to its current reporting as well as create a new track engagement with the Sudanese Government that is centered on issues of peace and human rights that fully addresses the conduct of the Sudanese Government in relation to religious freedom and the persecution of religious minorities," they stressed.

The signatories of the call are Enough Project, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Foundation for Defense of Democracies, National Association of Evangelicals, Samaritan’s Purse, Sudan Relief Fund and Sudanese Human Rights Initiative.

U.S. Chargé d’Affaires in Khartoum recently brushed aside calls to link the normalisation process of bilateral relations with the situation of human rights in Sudan saying the process embargo aimed to end Khartoum’s support for terrorist groups and bring peace in Darfur.

However, rights groups again and again keep calling on the need to define a new track for peace and human rights in Sudan before to decide on the permanent lift of sanctions.

Enough Project Founding Director John Prendergast who was part of President Clinton’s Administration when the embargo was decided in 997 went to say that the sanctions were driven by a desire to impose a consequence for the regime’s atrocious human rights record.

State Department officials who are backing the lift of sanctions say the lift of embargo aims to bring Khartoum to cooperate with Washington on other files, stressing that sanctions approach has been proved unproductive.

(ST)

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  • 30 June 2017 22:33, by Theone

    All Churches must be returned to Their owners.

    No sharia for all Noth Sudanese

    repondre message

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