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For Immediate Release

How Sudan Is Backsliding on Benchmarks Crucial to Peace: Rights Groups

Why the U.S. Must Bring Pressure to Head Off Full-Scale War

Cambridge, Mass - 04/29/2010

WASHINGTON, D.C - A return to full-scale war can be headed off, say eight leading Sudan advocacy organizations, but only if the Obama administration quickly implements its policy to pressure parties who are backsliding on benchmarks crucial to a durable peace in Sudan. The Obama administration has stated that the parties in Sudan would be held accountable and incentives and pressures would be deployed in response to their measure of progress or backsliding on the ground.

Now, almost six months after the Obama administration's initial Sudan policy review, which promised an assessment of certain leading indicators of progress – or lack thereof – the Obama administration has yet to make clear that it is actually pursuing its policy as stated while holding the parties accountable for their actions on the ground. To that end, an eight-member group of Sudan advocacy organizations has released an independent accounting and action plan, entitled 'Grading the Benchmarks.'

The group includes the Enough Project at the Center for American Progress, Humanity United, American Jewish World Service, Genocide Intervention Network, iACT/Stop Genocide Now, Investors Against Genocide, Physicians for Human Rights, and the Save Darfur Coalition.

"A clear assessment of the situation on the ground in Sudan reveals a number of disturbing trends and the continued potential for much broader, renewed violence," states Enough Project Executive Director John Norris. "However, we have yet to see a firm response from the administration despite its promise to bring a new approach to Sudan policy based on deeds, not rhetoric."

Deputy Director of Physicians for Human Rights, Susannah Sirkin noted, "Addressing the epidemic of violence against women and girls in Darfur makes a future peace more sustainable." Physicians for Human Rights' recent briefing paper, Action Agenda for Realizing Treatment and Support for Women and Girls in Darfur, is cited in the joint strategy paper, and has been the focus of PHR's current Sudan advocacy work in Washington, DC.

The Obama administration built a diplomatic approach to Sudan around periodic, hard-nosed policy assessments of the situation on the ground. Yet to date, there are virtually no indications that the administration has held any of the parties to account for their actions.

'Grading the Benchmarks' argues that President Obama must own Sudan policy far more directly, and actually implement pressures and incentives where appropriate, or face growing risk that violence in Sudan will spiral.

Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, northern Uganda, and Somalia. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a "3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org

Humanity United is a philanthropic organization committed to building a world where mass atrocities and modern-day slavery are no longer possible. By helping to build permanent constituencies to end atrocities and slavery, supporting efforts that empower affected communities, and addressing the root causes of conflict and injustice, Humanity United seeks to help restore human dignity in places where it has been lost and to help create a lasting global peace. To learn more, visit http://www.HumanityUnited.org.

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is an international development organization motivated by Judaism's imperative to pursue justice. AJWS is dedicated to alleviating poverty, hunger and disease among the people of the developing world regardless of race, religion or nationality. Through grants to grassroots organizations, volunteer service, advocacy and education, AJWS fosters civil society, sustainable development and human rights for all people, while promoting the values and responsibilities of global citizenship within the Jewish community. Visit www.ajws.org.

Genocide Intervention Network empowers individuals and communities with the tools to prevent and stop genocide. Currently focused on conflicts in Sudan, Burma and Democratic Republic of Congo, among other areas of concern, Genocide Intervention Network envisions a world in which the global community is willing and able to protect civilians from genocide and mass atrocities. The organization is building a permanent anti-genocide constituency, mobilizing the political will to prevent and stop genocide. For more information, please visit www.genocideintervention.net.

i-ACT/Stop Genocide Now seeks to empower individuals within communities, institutions, and governments to take personal responsibility to act on behalf of those affected by genocide, mass atrocities, and crimes against humanity. i-ACT is a global team dedicated to putting a face on the numbers of dead, dying, and displaced while creating mutually enriching relationships between those in danger and those willing and able to act, fostering a new culture of participation. For more information, please visitwww.stopgenocidenow.org

Investors Against Genocide is a non-profit organization dedicated to convincing mutual fund and other investment firms to change their investing strategy so as to avoid complicity in genocide. The organization works with individuals, companies, organizations, financial institutions, the press, and government agencies to build awareness and to create financial, public relations, and regulatory pressure for investment firms to change. The ultimate goals are that the Government of Sudan ends its deadly genocide in Darfur and that investment firms avoid investing in genocide. For more information, visit www.investorsagainstgenocide.org.

The Save Darfur Coalition – an alliance of more than 180 faith-based, advocacy and human rights organizations – raises public awareness about the ongoing genocide in Darfur and mobilizes a unified response to the atrocities that threaten the lives of people throughout the Darfur region. The coalition's member organizations represent 130 million people of all ages, races, religions and political affiliations united together to help the people of Darfur. For more information on the coalition, please visit www.SaveDarfur.org. ??????

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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