Tougher Sanctions Sought for Sudan
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WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 31, 2001 (Zenit.org).- An advisory panel on religious freedom overseas is hoping its findings of mass murder and rape of black Christians in Sudan will prompt President George W. Bush to impose tougher sanctions on the East African nation, the Associated Press reported.
In its first recommendation to the new administration, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom urged the United States on Tuesday to clamp down on the Sudanese government for atrocities committed against the county´s black Christian minority by the Islamic majority, AP said.
The commission suggested last year that the United States impose a military no-fly zone over Sudan and provide humanitarian aid to opposition forces. The United States considers Sudan a sponsor of international terrorism and imposed sanctions in 1997, but has not gone beyond a ban on trading or conducting financial transactions with Sudan´s oil industry, AP said.
During the hearing, Susan Rice, a former assistant secretary of state for African affairs, denounced Sudan for making "cheerful proclamations of change´´ while continuing to commit atrocities against Christians. Rice spent over six months cataloging the plight of Christians in Sudan, most of whom live in the country´s southern region. Also living in the southern regions are animists, who worship nature.
Both groups have been in constant conflict with the Muslim regime, which has sought to implement Islamic law across the country. An estimated 2 million people have died from fighting, diseases and hunger related to the conflict since 1980.