AJWS joins critique of White House on Sudan vote

The American Jewish World Service joined other human rights groups in criticizing the Obama administration for not exacting consequences on Sudan for elections seen as flawed.

In its statement Tuesday on this month’s Sudan elections, the White House said that “political rights and freedoms were circumscribed throughout the electoral process, there were reports of intimidation and threats of violence in South Sudan, ongoing conflict in Darfur did not permit an environment conducive to acceptable elections, and inadequacies in technical preparations for the vote resulted in serious irregularities.”

The White House said it “regretted” the problems and added that it remains committed to helping to implement the remainder of a comprehensive peace agreement that is to culminate in a referendum next year on independence.

The human rights groups depicted the White House’s statement as ineffectual, noting earlier pledges by Obama to hold President Omar al-Bashir accountable should he not abide by the terms of the peace agreement. AJWS joined the Save Darfur Coalition, Enough and Stop Genocide Now in pressing Obama to do more.

Their joint statement called on the administration to implement “pressure and consequences to reduce the risk of full-scale war and prevent further manipulation by spoilers in Khartoum during the run-up to the January 2011 referendum on independence for Southern Sudan.”

In a separate statement, AJWS President Ruth Messinger said “The administration must demonstrate that peace in Sudan is a priority worthy of the continued personal attention of the president, vice president and secretary of state.”