53 Members of Congress Write to President Obama, Citing Evidence of Mass Graves

WASHINGTON -- On Monday, Members of Congress reached beyond partisan lines to address the mass atrocities taking place in Southern Kordofan, Sudan.  Fifty-three members of Congress signed a letter to President Obama thanking the administration for its continued commitment to Sudan and South Sudan, and urging him to raise his voice again to call for international attention to reports of mass killings by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and allied militias, and mass graves in the Nuba Mountains.

The letter cited DigitalGlobe satellite images analyzed by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and released by the Satellite Sentinel Project, which corroborate eyewitness reports of mass graves in Kadugli, capital of Sudan’s conflict-torn region of Southern Kordofan:

“On July 13, the Satellite Sentinel Project released images of what it reports to be mass graves in Southern Kordofan, consistent with reports of summary executions and wide scale violence perpetrated by the SAF. We understand that this evidence cannot be verified by the U.S. government due to lack of access to many locations on the ground; however, these serious allegations appear to be supported by corroborating information in the form of eye-witness accounts of crimes in the region.”

SSP obtained three eyewitness reports of mass graves south of the Tilo School in Kadugli; a leaked draft of a UN report cites an UNMIS contractor as an additional eyewitness who reported a mass grave at this same site. Five paragraphs of this leaked draft UN report mention reports of mass graves.

In response to these human rights violations, the letter asks President Obama to personally make a strong public statement condemning the violence and targeted civilian attacks in South Kordofan. It also calls on the President to stress to Khartoum that Americans will not sit idly by as these horrors take place, and that the U.S. must lead international efforts to help end these atrocities.

“We have seen Khartoum’s aggression against Sudan’s marginalized people manifest again and again. The current attacks on the Nuba people are no different and demand a vociferous response from the United States.”

The letter came just days after an emergency Congressional hearing convened by the House Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights on August  4 on ethnic violence in South Kordofan. In response to the Congressional letter, the Rt. Rev. Andudu Adam Elnail, Bishop of Kadugli, who testified at last week’s hearing, said:

"I thank God US Government is beginning to take some steps towards the Nuba Mountains war. I count this as the result of our meetings last week when we met and testified to the Congress. Please continue to pray that the war in Nuba Mountains may stop, and that Nuba and other marginalized areas enjoy peace and freedom."