Religious Persecution in Sudan, Resolution on

Resolution Adopted by the CCAR



Adopted by the Board of


June, 2001


Of the African nations

currently engaged in civil war, Sudan has been at war the longest and

seen some of the most heinous violations of human rights. The conflict

in Sudan has cost the lives of over 2 million people and displaced

nearly 5 million others, with no significant movement towards peace.

The war is now over 18 years old, and the U.S. has done little to

address the ongoing genocide, rape, torture, slavery, and religious

persecution in Sudan.

The Muslim-dominated government in the north of

Sudan has called for the Islamization of the country and have targeted

the predominantly Christian and Animist populations in the South,

utilizing ethnic cleansing, cutting off of food supplies, slavery, and

destruction of the civil infrastructure as ways to enforce its control

in the South. The Sudanese government intentionally and repeatedly

bombed and burned hospitals, refugee camps, churches, schools, and

other civilian targets. By manipulating foreign food aid, thereby

denying civilians of food, the government brought 2.6 million South

Sudanese to the brink of starvation in 1998 and some 100,000 people in

fact did die of hunger, according to the U.S. Agency for International

Development. Predictions are that such a famine may face the South in

2001. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that most international

food aid is delivered through the Operation Lifeline Sudan (OLS)

system which allows the government of Sudan to veto deliveries to

particular regions.

In addition, the Sudanese government has continued its

assault on the religious freedom of non-Muslims as well as some

Muslims (particularly those either of Muslim sects not affiliated with

the fundamentalist Islamist view of the government or Muslims

associated with the political opposition). Religious groups must be

registered by the government to operate legally, and approval can be

difficult to obtain. Unregistered groups cannot build places of

worship or meet in public, and even registered groups face


That the government of Sudan has not yet prevailed in the

war may be due to the fact that, until 1999, it was financially

strapped, and in default to the IMF and other international lenders.

In August 1999, the Khartoum government developed a joint venture

partnership with foreign companies based on oil in South Sudan. This

partnership has begun to provide windfall profits for the regime, as

well as a critical source of new international respectability for the

government. The proceeds from the oil revenues are being used to

support the Sudanese military’s actions. Though U.S. companies are

barred by anti-terrorist sanctions from investing in Sudan, foreign

companies investing in Sudan’s oil pipeline are permitted to raise

funds from U.S. capital markets. Talisman Energy of Canada and the

Chinese government’s PetroChina are Khartoum’s two major oil

partners, and are listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Canadian

government commissioned a special governmental report on the

situation. The so-called Harker Report (which is the documented source

for most of the background material) was a ringing condemnation of the

Sudanese government – but led to no significant steps led by the

Canadian government.

There is ample evidence indicating that the human tragedy

in Sudan is worsening. In 2000, the government of Sudan more than

doubled its bombing campaign of humanitarian and civilian targets in

southern Sudan.

As North American Jews who believe in religious freedom,

we can never be indifferent to religious intolerance nor to ethnic

cleansing no matter where it occurs. When others are hounded or

persecuted for their religion or beliefs, we are diminished by our own

failure to act or speak out. We must use our moral and political

influence to galvanize the international community to stop the brutal

actions of the government of Sudan.

THEREFORE, the Central Conference

of American Rabbis resolves to:

1) Call upon the United States and

Canadian governments to promote peace and security throughout Sudan by

following the steps, based on the recommendations by the U.S.

Commission on International Religious Freedom:

  •     Intensify U.S. support for the peace

    process in Sudan and make a just and lasting peace a top priority of

    this administration’s global agenda. Towards that end, we applaud

    President’s Bush’s appointment of Andrew Natsios as special

    humanitarian coordinator to monitor aid deliveries in Sudan, and urge

    the President to appoint a person of high national stature to be

    special envoy who will have appropriate authority and access, whose

    sole responsibility is directed to bringing about a peaceful and just

    settlement of the war in Sudan and an end to the religious freedom

    abuses committed by the Sudanese government and the militias

    associated with the government;

  •     Increase the amount of its

    humanitarian assistance that passes outside of Operation Lifeline

    Sudan (OLS) and press OLS to deliver aid wherever it is needed,

    especially the Nuba Mountains, with or without the approval of the

    Sudanese government;

  •     Increase

    its food, civilian infrastructure, and civil society assistance to

    southern Sudan;

  •     Launch a major

    diplomatic initiative aimed at enlisting international pressure to

    stop the Sudanese government’s bombing of civilian and humanitarian

    targets; ground attacks on civilian villages, feeding centers, and

    hospitals; slave raids; and instigation of tribal warfare;

  •     Strengthen economic sanctions against

    Sudan and urge other countries to adopt similar policies. Among these

    steps should be: 1) the U.S. and Canada should prohibit any foreign

    company from raising capital or listing its securities in U.S. and

    Canadian markets as long as it is engaged in the development of oil

    and gas fields in Sudan;


    Work to increase human rights and media reporting on abuses in

    Sudan, including supporting, diplomatically and financially, the

    placement of human rights monitors in southern Sudan and in

    surrounding countries where refugee populations are present;


  •     Urge that companies

    doing business in Sudan should be required to disclose the nature and

    extent of that business in connection with their access to U.S.

    capital markets.

  • 2) Urge our member rabbis to

    take a leadership role in their congregations/institutions to educate

    their constituents and the public on the gravity of the situation in

    Sudan, and encourage them, in the spirit of Jewish tradition and

    Jewish experience, to voice their commitment to and concern for the

    people of Sudan.