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June 28, 2017 – John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project, has responded to comments made by Steven Koutsis, the U.S. Chargé d’Affaires in Sudan, in regard to the sanctions on the Sudanese government. July 12 is the deadline for the Trump administration to make a decision on whether to terminate the longstanding comprehensive sanctions on Sudan, a process that began during the last days of the Obama administration.

John Prendergast, Founding Director of the Enough Project, said: "The U.S. Charge d'Affaires in Khartoum says that human rights were not part of the reason comprehensive sanctions were originally placed on the Sudan government. At the very least, it is important for American diplomats to tell the truth about America's foreign policy motivations. I was part of the U.S. government team in 1997 that produced the Executive Order placing comprehensive sanctions on Sudan.  In addition to our concern for the regime's support for al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations, the sanctions were driven by a desire to impose a consequence for the regime's atrocious human rights record. At that time the Khartoum government was using the withholding of humanitarian aid as a weapon of war, aerially bombing villages, and persecuting Christians and other religious minorities. Those were major factors driving support for these sanctions from Congress and within the Clinton administration. And the support for these sanctions on the basis of human rights and terrorism concerns was a bipartisan effort. All of those patterns of behavior have continued over the past twenty years.  In the decade following the 1997 Executive Order, the Bush administration imposed further sanctions as a result of the genocide in Darfur, which at its root is a human rights catastrophe with few 21st century parallels.  For an American diplomat twenty years later to claim human rights are not part of the U.S. sanctions equation is not accurate or responsible.  We hope that the Trump administration will not use faulty or biased criteria in its assessment as to whether to permanently lift sanctions when it makes its decision on July 12, and we urge administration officials and Congress to examine the evidence that government-sponsored violence and humanitarian aid obstruction have not ended."

For media inquiries or interview requests, please contact: Megha Swamy at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Read Enough Project’s Recent Reports on Sudan:

Recent Congressional Testimonies:

  • Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission’s hearing on Sudan: Human Rights and SanctionsTestimony of Enough’s Omer Ismail (April 2017)
  • House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations The Questionable Case for Easing Sudan SanctionsTestimony of Enough’s Brad Brooks-Rubin (April 2017)

Recent Op-eds:


The Enough Project supports peace and an end to mass atrocities in Africa’s deadliest conflict zones. Together with its investigative initiative The Sentry, Enough counters armed groups, violent kleptocratic regimes, and their commercial partners that are sustained and enriched by corruption, criminal activity, and the trafficking of natural resources. By helping to create consequences for the major perpetrators and facilitators of atrocities and corruption, Enough seeks to build leverage in support of peace and good governance. Enough conducts research in conflict zones, engages governments and the private sector on potential policy solutions, and mobilizes public campaigns focused on peace, human rights, and breaking the links between war and illicit profit. Learn more – and join us – at www.EnoughProject.org.

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