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Chair Cardin Urges U.S., Partners to Push for Immediate Humanitarian Assistance to Sudan

In the last year there has been absolute devastation in Sudan. And at every turn, unarmed Sudanese have been in the crosshairs. These armed groups have committed extrajudicial killings. They have indiscriminately bombed civilian targets like hospitals that have used rape and sexual violence against woman of certain ethnic groups as a weapon of war. They have razed cities and towns, killing inhabitants, strangling commerce and trade. They have destroyed farmlands and forced farmers to leave, preventing harvests. They have looted humanitarian supplies, attacked aid workers and blocked aid delivery. The World Food Program’s Sudan director said this May could bring “unprecedented levels of starvation.”
According to the United Nations, more than 15,000 people have been reported killed, with an additional 10,000 to 15,000 in one town in Darfur alone. 8 million people have fled their homes. 25 million—including 14 million children—need humanitarian assistance, very basic materials like food, water, medicine, and clothing. The President of Doctors Without Borders has said “Sudan is one of the worst crises the world has seen for decades.”
As I speak, the town of El Fasher is under siege. Millions of civilians are trapped in that city, which is controlled by the SAF. The people in this town have no access to aid. And the international community has no plan to protect them should the RSF mount a full-scale assault. My colleague on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Booker, has just come back from the region. He gave us a first-hand account of the hunger, the violence, and the trauma the Sudanese people are facing. Last week, Samantha Power testified in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about the imminent famine. And just this week, the Raoul Wallenberg Center for Human Rights released a report concluding that the RSF is committing genocide in Sudan.
The evidence is clear and overwhelming—we must take action now. At this week’s humanitarian conference in Paris, the United States announced an additional $100 million in aid to respond to the conflict. The United States has been the largest donor to date. The French are also saying they raised more than 2 billion euros. Money pledged is not money in hand, however.
And we need all to do more. I am pleased that when the Senate passed the security funding supplemental, it included more than $9 billion in additional humanitarian aid. Part of that humanitarian aid would go to help the people of Sudan.
I know there is bipartisan support for humanitarian aid in Congress, yet despite the heroic efforts of my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee, the foreign assistance budget for this year declined in some parts of USAID by as much as 10 percent. We need to expand the pie, not shrink it. Otherwise, when we try to address one crisis, we have to take money from another emergency circumstance. We should not have to choose between saving starving Sudanese or saving starving Gazans. We should not have to choose between helping Haitians or helping Ukrainians. Every life is precious. And every day we wait matters.
I hope my colleagues in the House, who are still debating the supplemental funding bill, understand that. There’s so many reasons why they need to pass the supplemental. I would have hoped they would have taken our bill and passed it. They now have a different formulation of it. I hope they will get to us, as soon as possible, the supplemental funding bill. Yes it’s critical for Ukraine, absolutely—they’re literally depending on that supplemental to have the ammunition and support they need to defend themselves against Russia.  It’s important for our friends in the Middle East, for Israel. It’s important for the Indo-Pacific. Mr. President, it’s absolutely essential for the humanitarian aid that’s included in that supplemental—the people in Sudan.
Russia is relentlessly bombing and destroying Ukraine’s oil and gas energy sector. Ukraine is running out of ammunition. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has said, “Ukraine’s survival is in danger.” Any delay in supplemental funding means the security situation gets worse, just as the humanitarian situation gets worse.
Famine has been declared only twice in the past 13 years. Gaza and Sudan will be next unless we act. Our famine prevention efforts have a good track record. In 2017, we prevented three out of four potential famines after Congress passed a supplemental appropriations bill. America’s strength is in our values. The global community depends upon our leadership. Our values demand that we don’t stand by when people are starving. We have the capacity, and we certainly need to act and show that we live by actions on our values. Ultimately, the only solution to the crisis in Sudan is for the two sides to sit down and negotiate peace. We’ve got to stop the warring factions. And we’ve got to stop the outside country support that have chosen sides here and are adding to the civil war that’s taking place. But in the meantime, they must allow unfettered humanitarian access throughout the country.
So Mr. President, as we mark the one year anniversary of the conflict, I want to say to the International Community, to the Biden Administration—My view as the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is: we need to act now. We need other donors to step up and put their money where their mouths are now. We need to support Sudan’s neighbors who are hosting countless refugees now. We need diplomatic talks to end the war in Sudan to resume now. It is time to set a date.
And finally—to my colleagues in the House—you need to act now to pass the supplemental appropriations bill that we sent to you in mid-February. And provide a lifeline to the millions of Sudanese whose lives are on the line. We must not stand by idly and watch them perish. Mr. President, I urge us all to act with that urgency.

Chair Cardin Urges U.S., Partners to Push for Immediate Humanitarian Assistance to Sudan
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, delivered a speech on the Senate floor marking one year since the onset of civil war in Sudan, and calling on the United States and our international partners to ramp up humanitarian assistance for war-affected Sudanese and for impacted populations in surrounding countries. Chair Cardin also urged the House of Representatives to pass the national security supplemental without delay to bring needed aid to our partners around the world.

A copy of the Chair’s remarks, as delivered, have been provided below.
Mr. President, a year ago artillery and gunfire erupted in the capital of Sudan. Smoke filled the air. People ran for their lives. It was the beginning of a vicious war between two armed factions: the SAF, the Sudanese Armed Forces, and the RSF, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

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