Yesterday I had the opportunity to testify on the rising humanitarian crises in Sudan and South Sudan before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. It’s been just eight months since we celebrated the peaceful separation of South Sudan from Sudan, marking a turning point for a people who have endured war for the greater part of half a century. Yet, there are increasing challenges facing these two nations that have resulted in violence and conflict, making the prospect of a peaceful path forward for these two new nations incredibly fragile.
The crushing poverty, underdevelopment, and intercommunal fighting in South Sudan, as well as the continued conflict in Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile, Abyei, and Jonglei, have left the people in these regions with uncertain futures and requiring a wide range of assistance to meet their needs. I was honored to speak alongside Special Envoy to Sudan, Ambassador Princeton Lyman, who also emphasized that the United States’ goal is to prevent this humanitarian situation from worsening any further. But this rising crisis needs public attention. I’m thankful to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for their continued thoughtful attention to this issue and for inviting actor George Clooney and activist John Prendergast, who had just returned from the region, to also testify. Their presence and personal reflection undoubtedly heightened public interest in this hearing, which will hopefully result in increased support for the people of Sudan and South Sudan.