Washington—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today called for the Administration to sanction Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces, which have used brutal violence against pro-democracy protestors in recent weeks. In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin, Chairman Engel singled out Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, known as ‘Hemeti,’ the Rapid Support Forces commander, for his responsibility in ordering these gross human-rights violations.
“Recent events in Sudan are part of a lengthy pattern of gross human rights abuses perpetrated against unarmed civilians. Sanctioning Hemeti and the Rapid Support Forces would reaffirm our unwavering support for democratic principles in Sudan and send a powerful message to the Sudanese people that the United States stands in solidarity with them in their fight to end the human rights abuses under Sudan’s Transitional Military Council,” wrote Chairman Engel.
Full text of the letter follows and can be found here.
June 28, 2019
The Honorable Mike Pompeo
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
The Honorable Steven T. Mnuchin
Secretary of the Treasury
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20220
Dear Secretaries Pompeo and Mnuchin:
As you are aware, on June 3, 2019, the Rapid Support Forces under the command of Lt. Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (aka ‘Hemeti’) fanned out across Khartoum using brute force, including live fire, to disperse unarmed pro-democracy protesters. During the course of this violence, several activists were sexually assaulted and more than a hundred people were killed. There have even been reports of Sudanese security forces dumping bodies into the Nile in order to cover up the true death toll of the massacre. As massive protests against Sudan’s Transitional Military Council are expected to resume on June 30, I am concerned that another violent crackdown is imminent. This requires immediate U.S. action.
By all accounts, Hemeti’s Rapid Support Forces are a reconstituted version of the Janjaweed, which was responsible for government-sanctioned atrocities during the Darfur genocide. In response to the atrocities perpetrated in Darfur, Congress authorized sanctions against individuals determined to be responsible for acts of genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity in Darfur through both the Comprehensive Peace in Sudan Act and the Darfur Peace and Accountability Act. Moreover, the provisions of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act (Global Magnitsky Act) authorize sanctions against foreign persons responsible for extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violations of internationally recognized human rights against an individual exercising freedom of expression. Accordingly, the United States has several mechanisms through which to sanction Hemeti and the Rapid Support Forces for their actions in Darfur, and more recently in Khartoum. I call on you to immediately enact appropriate sanctions under Executive Orders 13400 or 13818, which are related to the aforementioned legislation.
Unfortunately, recent events in Sudan are part of a lengthy pattern of gross human rights abuses perpetrated against unarmed civilians. Sanctioning Hemeti and the Rapid Support Forces would reaffirm our unwavering support for democratic principles in Sudan and send a powerful message to the Sudanese people that the United States stands in solidarity with them in their fight to end the human rights abuses under Sudan’s Transitional Military Council.
I look forward to your response and thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.
ELIOT L. ENGEL
House Foreign Affairs Committee
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