A press release from the Sudan Campaign:
U.S. Government’s Elevation of Sudan’s Slavery Status Challenged
Sudan Campaign Calls Presidential Determination “Fundamentally Flawed”
WASHINGTON: The leadership of the Sudan Campaign coalition is protesting against President Bush’s decision to upgrade Sudan’s slavery status from Tier III (the lowest possible ranking) to Tier II, today. (Switzerland, Israel, Chile, Hungary and Greece are among the Tier II states.)
A State Department memorandum justifying the Presidential Determination, dated 21 September, claims that the Government of Sudan has made “significant efforts” to bring itself into compliance with U.S. anti-trafficking legislation. The head of the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking (TIP), Ambassador John Miller, reported on September 27 that Sudan and five other countries had taken “real steps” to combat slavery, including:
Establishing new police anti-trafficking units, arresting and charging traffickers, passing anti-trafficking laws, opening victims shelters, holding bilateral meetings to establish anti-trafficking cooperation, and establishing victims hotlines.
Neither the TIP office, nor the Sudanese government, however, have been able to provide details of such alleged measures.
The State Department’s Memorandum of Justification defended the Presidential Determination on the grounds that the Government of Sudan has made unspecified “commitments” to implement anti-trafficking measures during the next twelve months.
But the State Department has not made public the details of the “action plan”, which, according to the TIP office, is contained within a recently signed U.S.- Sudanese “bilateral” agreement.
Writing to Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice, the Sudan Campaign leadership observed that the meager evidence provided by the State Department does not point to “significant efforts” to combat slavery on the part of the Government of Sudan. Moreover, the Sudan Campaign leaders noted that the 2005 Report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur to the United Nations Secretary-General, documented cases of Sudanese government troops’ involvement in “abductions and sexual slavery”.
The Sudan Campaign has called on the Secretary of State to immediately reverse the “fundamentally flawed” determination and to cooperate in the establishment of a Task Force to Monitor the Eradication of Sudanese Slavery on the basis of partnership with non-governmental organizations.