The U.S. State Department this fall cited Sudan as potentially subject to economic sanctions under the International Religious Freedom Act for its persecution of Christians and other religious groups.
Civil war between ethnically African rebel groups and the Arab-Muslim government has displaced more than four million people and resulted in nearly two million deaths. In addition to the governments toleration of slavery, both sides regularly commit atrocities against civilians, conscript children, and manipulate relief efforts, creating "the worst humanitarian situation in the entire world," according to Roger Winter, executive director of the U.S. Committee for Refugees.
The Sudan Peace Act introduced in the U.S. Senate last July, though not without its shortcomings, rightly condemns human rights violations by all sides, supports an official peace process, and calls for reform of U.N. relief programs. It also seeks to strengthen civic institutions in war-ravaged areas, including people-to-people peace and reconciliation efforts supported by the New Sudan Council of Churches.