Today, Congressional Caucus on Sudan and South Sudan co-chairs Congresswoman Barbara Lee and Reps. Frank Wolf (R-VA), Michael Capuano (D-MA), and Michael McCaul (R-TX) sent a bipartisan letter to President Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan signed by thirty-two Members of Congress. The letter expressed concern with ongoing events in South Sudan, including the recent violence in the Jonglei state and allegations of debilitating corruption within the government.
"I am appalled at the violence in the Jonglei state that forced a hundred thousand men, women, and to flee their homes and communities. All people have the right to live in safety and security under a democratic, transparent and just government," said Congresswoman Lee. "As a longtime friend of the people of South Sudan, I call on President Kiir to investigate reports of human rights abuses within his army and return unfettered access to humanitarian relief efforts without further delay."
According to on the ground reports, over 100,000 people have been displaced by violence in the Jonglei state in South Sudan and lack access to humanitarian aid. There have been credible reports of human rights abuses by the South Sudanese army, including using civilians as human shields and committing extrajudicial killings.
"I am deeply disturbed by the many troubling developments in South Sudan, including reports of human rights abuses. I urge President Kiir to take definitive action to ensure the people of South Sudan can live in peace, and that the government do all it can to secure the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those who need it," said Congressman Capuano.
The letter reads that, "Congress, and the American people, stand ready to support South Sudan as they face these challenges as a partner, ally, and a friend. However, our partnership must be based on shared values and ideals--democracy, human rights, good governance, justice--the very ideals for which so many South Sudanese and American men and women have fought and died for."
"This Congress now finds itself in a position to once again make it a priority to ensure that the region does not take steps backwards but continues progress towards freedom," said Congressman Michael McCaul. "The United States is willing to work with President Kiir to ensure that corruption and violence in the Jonglei region, and other disturbing reports are not only given the proper attention, but handled in the proper manner."