U.S. Congress Considers Bill to Sanction Sudan Military Leaders

As pro-democracy protests continue on the streets of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, in opposition to the Oct. 14 coup, a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers has introduced legislation to impose sanctions on Sudan’s military leaders.

This bill, titled the Sudan Democracy Act, would require U.S. President Joe Biden to impose sanctions against any individual found responsible for the power grab.

Individuals responsible for arbitrary detention of Sudanese nationals, blocking internet communication channels or medical access in the country would also be sanctioned.

Congresswoman Young Kim and Congressman Dean Phillips, both members of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa, as well as Congressman Michael McCaul, the ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced the legislation.

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“I’m proud to help take concrete steps to show support for the brave people of Sudan as they peacefully protest for democracy and hold those responsible for undermining Sudan’s civilian-led democratic transition accountable by introducing the Sudan Democracy Act,” Kim said in a statement.

Phillips said the coup undermined the progress Sudanese people had made toward installing a civilian-led government.

“We must do everything in our power as a nation to support the democratic aspirations of the people of Sudan and stand up for human rights, good governance and diplomacy, at home and abroad,” he said.

A wave of protests has been raging since the military, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, seize power and detain Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok on 25 October. This comes two years after a democratic transition aimed at establishing civilian authority in the country.

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Burhan reinstated the premier following worldwide condemnation and widespread protests in a November 21 deal with Hamdok.

The agreement was panned by critics as whitewashing, while pro-democracy activists vowed to keep pressure on the military-civilian authority.

Since the coup, authorities have arrested dissidents, limited internet access, killed at least 42 civilians, and injured hundreds more.

Several weeks earlier, Chris Coons introduced a similar bill in the Senate.

Following the coup, the U.S. halted $700 million in emergency assistance to Sudan but has not announced whether it will issue sanctions against Sudanese military members.

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