The Cable

Romney pledges to defend the people of South Sudan

Responding to a call from advocacy groups, Mitt Romney‘s campaign has released a statement promising to protect "innocents" and prosecute human rights abuses by the Khartoum government in Sudan and what is now South Sudan. "Mitt Romney recognizes that for too long far too many Sudanese have been victims of war crimes and other atrocities ...

Responding to a call from advocacy groups, Mitt Romney‘s campaign has released a statement promising to protect "innocents" and prosecute human rights abuses by the Khartoum government in Sudan and what is now South Sudan.

"Mitt Romney recognizes that for too long far too many Sudanese have been victims of war crimes and other atrocities committed by the government in Khartoum and its proxies," the Romney campaign said in Tuesday statement. "In Southern Sudan, millions died as a result of ethnic and religious targeted killings during the long civil war. Among those brutally targeted were Christians and adherents of traditional African religions, Dinka, Nuer, and members of other ethnic groups. In Darfur, non-Arab populations have been and continue to be victims of a slow-motion genocide. And since independence of the Republic of South Sudan, Khartoum has committed a range of atrocities in border regions that have claimed countless lives and displaced hundreds of thousands."

The Romney campaign accused the Khartoum regime, led by President Omar al-Bashir, of inciting and arming rebel groups with the objective of undermining the South Sudanese government, stealing hundreds of millions of dollars of South Sudan’s oil money, and impeding the flow of humanitarian assistance.

"Governor Romney is committed to protecting innocents from war crimes and other atrocities, ensuring that humanitarian aid reaches those desperately in need, holding accountable those leaders who perpetrate atrocities, and achieving a sustainable peace for all who live in Sudan and the Republic of South Sudan," the statement said.

The Romney campaign was responding to a call for support from the organization Act for Sudan, an alliance of grassroots advocacy organizations. Last December, the group sent a list of questions related to the events in Sudan to all the presidential candidates. So far, only the Romney campaign has responded.

In November, Act for Sudan sent an open letter to President Obama that was signed by 66 organizations, urging him to ramp up administration efforts to protect civilians and provide humanitarian relief for the people of Sudan and South Sudan.

"We believe the United States is not doing enough to uphold its responsibility to protect innocent civilians from atrocities perpetrated by the Sudanese government," the letter stated.  "We, therefore, respectfully request that your administration make it a top priority to provide the necessary protection and change the ruthless political calculations of the National Congress Party."

 Twitter: @joshrogin

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