Today, Congressman James P. McGovern (D-MA), Chairman of the House Rules Committee and Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, issued this statement following threats by the Transitional Military Council against the peaceful movement in support of civilian government in Sudan:
“When Sudan’s military ousted Omar al Bashir, it claimed to do so in support of the people and their demand for change, and for peace. But in the past few weeks, civilians have been killed in multiple incidents within blocks of the military’s headquarters, by men in uniform. Journalists have been expelled, based on a decision by men in uniform. In Darfur, aid supplies have been looted, by men in uniform. Tensions are rising in Sudan, and with each day that military leaders cling to power, they look more like the regime they claim to have overthrown. And the risk for instability grows.
“The aspirations of the Sudanese people are clear: peace, freedom and the opportunity to prosper. The protesters have clearly and repeatedly called for a civilian-led transition, as has the African Union, but the Transitional Military Council seems to be digging in. Sudan will need the full support of the international community to get out of its economic crisis, but the U.S. and other donors will not provide support until a credible civilian government is in place. Some within the Sudanese military believe they can stall and drag out negotiations – the U.S. and international community must not allow such tactics to undermine the drive for civilian-led democratic reform.
“Millions of Sudanese citizens have risked their lives in peaceful protest to create a better future for their people, their country and their children. Any and all forms of violence that undermine the fundamental rights of the Sudanese people to demonstrate peacefully, express their views and stand united for a civilian-led transition will be condemned and the consequences fall squarely where they belong on the Sudanese military and security forces. The Military Council must immediately stop any and all threats against civilian protesters and leaders.»