Refugees International President Jeremy Konyndyk delivered the remarks below at a rally in front of the White House on September 23, 2023. He joined Sudanese diaspora leaders and NGO partners in a demonstration of solidarity and support for the people of Sudan.
I am Jeremy Konyndyk, president of Refugees International, an organization that fights for the rights and safety of refugees and people facing grave threats to their safety. I want to thank the previous speakers and the many Sudanese activists and diaspora groups that worked to organize this rally: Sudanese American Physicians Association (SAPA), Sudanese America Public Affairs Association (SAPAA), and Girifna.
I’d also like to thank our other partners in co-hosting this rally: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Refugee Congress, Act for Sudan, Never Again Coalition, and Sudan Unlimited.
At Refugees International we have been doing analysis and advocacy on Sudan for decades, and there is nowhere in the world that worries us more than Darfur right now. We are deeply alarmed about the grave human rights abuses across the country, but most urgently the disturbing parallels to the Darfur genocide from 20 years ago. Just this morning, Reuters published detailed accounts of systematic ethnic cleansing in El-Geneina.
So we are honored to stand in solidarity with the Sudanese people as they call for attention, urgency, and action by the Biden administration on this crisis, which has now been underway for half a year. And we are saddened to say that so far, the Biden administration is not meeting the urgency of the moment.
We need to see the same kind of attentiveness from the White House on Sudan – and particularly on the ongoing ethnic cleansing in Darfur – that we see from them daily on Ukraine.
Crimes against humanity MUST matter just as much for a crisis in Africa as they do for a crisis in Europe.
President Biden must put the same kind of political and diplomatic muscle into stopping civilian atrocities in Sudan as he has into Ukraine.
And he must be just as invested in accountability for those atrocities, no matter where they are happening. Otherwise he is signaling to the world that what he is pursuing in Ukraine is not about justice or accountability – it’s just geopolitics.
So we call on President Biden, personally, to speak out on the situation in Sudan. What is happening now in Darfur is rapidly shaping up to be his administration’s Rwanda moment. And if he does not take much more serious action soon, it will be a Rwanda-like stain on his legacy.
Again, we are proud to stand in solidarity with the Sudanese people as they call for action on Sudan. #SudanCantWait!