Samaritan’s Purse video from my trip to Sudan

Check out the video and story from Samaritan’s Purse about the human rights abuses going on in Sudan.

A Samaritan’s Purse Vice President urges the United States to take action to prevent further human rights abuses

Ken Isaacs, Vice President of Programs and Government Relations for Samaritan’s Purse, testified Wednesday at the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission in Washington, D.C., that focused on the extent of government-sponsored violence against Sudanese citizens. Read his testimony below.

Chairmen McGovern and Wolf, distinguished Representatives, and fellow guests of the commission, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to share my concerns about the unfolding humanitarian crisis in the Sudanese states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

Residents of these two areas live in a constant state of terror because of the Government of Sudan’s campaign of violence against its own people. This includes indiscriminate aerial bombings that have made it impossible to plant and harvest crops—leading to a severe food crisis throughout the region.

The current situation in South Kordofan and Blue Nile leaves no doubt that the Government of Sudan’s methods and modalities are intended to create famine against all citizens in those areas. It is up to the U.S. and the international community to take appropriate and immediate steps to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of suffering Sudanese people.

Our organization, Samaritan’s Purse, began working in Sudan in 1993. Our work in Blue Nile and the Nuba Mountains of South Kordofan began in 1998, and we conducted extensive humanitarian aid operations in those areas until the government cut off international humanitarian access in June 2011.

Over the last 20 years, I have made many trips to the country to oversee our efforts there, and I was witness to some of the darkest days of the civil war in the south and the atrocities in Darfur. Today I see that gruesome history repeating itself. Brutal attacks by the Sudanese Armed Forces and indiscriminate bombing—all against civilians—were major contributors to the famines that led to hundreds of thousands of deaths in southern Sudan in the 1990s.

Although the international community eventually launched Operation Lifeline Sudan, the Government of Sudan routinely manipulated and denied flight access to United Nations humanitarian agencies in order to use food as a weapon of war. These denials were frequently carried out in coordination with the Government of Sudan’s ground and air military operations against civilians. 1

In fact, aid organizations frequently became the target of Sudan’s aggression. On February 9, 2002, a World Food Programme distribution center in Akuem, southern Sudan, was bombed, killing two children and injuring more than a dozen others.2 Just weeks later, a similar attack was carried out at another distribution center in Bieh in Upper Nile, while people were waiting in line to receive food.3 The Government of Sudan has shown no hesitation in using food as a weapon to brutalize its citizens.

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