“We can’t give the lives back,” said Clooney,who recently returned from the Nuba Mountains region in Sudan. “But we can put an end to it if we work together as a nation,and as an international community.”
Clooney has taken multiple trips to Sudan and has previously testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Clooney is an advocate for peace in Darfur and worked closely with Save Darfur,a coalition of faith-based,humanitarian and human rights organizations.
Government-backed militia and Darfurian rebels began fighting in 2003. The militia’s actions have caused what many call a genocide.
Clooney also co-founded the Satellite Sentinel Project. Researchers use satellite images to document crimes – such as a village being burned – in Sudan and South Sudan,particularly in the border regions. Clooney also presented a video made during his trip to Sudan.
The senators agreed more could be done to help prevent violence between Sudan and South Sudan.
In July 2011,South Sudan separated from Sudan,after an overwhelming majority of South Sudanese residents voted for secession in January 2011. Sudan has been the object of international focus for the past decade because of the Darfur conflict.
“We can and must continue to put our shoulder to this wheel,” Sen. John Kerry,D-Mass.,the committee chairman,said.
Sen. Richard Lugar,R-Ind.,the committee’s senior Republican,said the Sudan-South Sudan conflict is harder for Americans to ignore now because of the Internet and YouTube.
Rep. James McGovern,D-Mass.,introduced the Sudan Peace,Security,and Accountability Act of 2012 on March 8. The legislation would require the development of a strategy to end human rights violations in Sudan.
Government officials said diplomacy,not military action,is the answer.
“The two sides must eventually return to the negotiating table,” Princeton Lyman,special envoy to Sudan and South Sudan for the State Department,said.
“We need to do what we’re best at,real diplomacy,starting with China,” he said.
In January,South Sudan President Salva Kiir Mayardit announced oil operations in South Sudan would stop,and no oil would go through Sudan,after the Sudanese government said South Sudan would have to pay a $32.20 per barrel fee.
China depends on South Sudan for a portion of its oil. The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution in February reaffirming its commitment to ending the Sudanese conflict and calling on both sides to stop military action. China is one of the five permanent,veto-holding members,and it’s vote was seen as significant.
If a humanitarian intervention is going to happen,it will have to be soon because of South Sudan’s rainy season,which will make travel impossible.
“We stand ready to immediately deliver food and humanitarian assistance to those in need,” Nancy Lindborg,assistant administer for the Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Democracy,Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance,said.
Senators said the recent actions between Sudan and South Sudan have them worried about a repetition violence.
“We say never again,” Sen. Robert Menendez,D- N.J.,said,“and yet we live through time and time of experiences in which never again actually manifests itself.”
Reach reporter Jordain Carney at [email protected] or 202-326-9861. SHFWire stories are free to any news organization that gives the reporter a byline and credits the SHFWire.