SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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CRISES IN SUDAN AND NORTHERN UGANDA
SUBCOMMITTEE ON AFRICA
SUBCOMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL OPERATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
JULY 29, 1998
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Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations
COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York, Chairman
WILLIAM GOODLING, Pennsylvania
JAMES A. LEACH, Iowa
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
DOUG BEREUTER, Nebraska
CHRISTOPHER SMITH, New Jersey
DAN BURTON, Indiana
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
DANA ROHRABACHER, California
DONALD A. MANZULLO, Illinois
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
PETER T. KING, New York
JAY KIM, California
STEVEN J. CHABOT, Ohio
MARSHALL ''MARK'' SANFORD, South Carolina
MATT SALMON, Arizona
AMO HOUGHTON, New York
TOM CAMPBELL, California
JON FOX, Pennsylvania
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOHN McHUGH, New York
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
ROY BLUNT, Missouri
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
RICHARD BURR, North Carolina
LEE HAMILTON, Indiana
SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
TOM LANTOS, California
HOWARD BERMAN, California
GARY ACKERMAN, New York
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
MATTHEW G. MARTINEZ, California
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
ROBERT ANDREWS, New Jersey
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
SHERROD BROWN, Ohio
CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
ALCEE L. HASTINGS, Florida
PAT DANNER, Missouri
EARL HILLIARD, Alabama
BRAD SHERMAN, California
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
STEVE ROTHMAN, New Jersey
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
BILL LUTHER, Minnesota
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJIM DAVIS, Florida
LOIS CAPPS, California
RICHARD J. GARON, Chief of Staff
MICHAEL H. VAN DUSEN, Democratic Chief of Staff
Subcommittee on Africa
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California, Chairman
AMO HOUGHTON, New York
STEVEN J. CHABOT, Ohio
MARSHALL ''MARK'' SANFORD, South Carolina
TOM CAMPBELL, California
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
ALCEE L. HASTINGS, Florida
JIM DAVIS, Florida
TOM SHEEHY, Staff Director
GREG SIMPKINS, Professional Staff Member
JODI CHRISTIANSEN, Democratic Professional Staff Member
SHANNON GAWRONSKI, Staff Associate
Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey, Chairman
WILLIAM F. GOODLING, Pennsylvania
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
DAN BURTON, Indiana
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
PETER T. KING, New York
MATT SALMON, Arizona
LINDSEY O. GRAHAM, South Carolina
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
TOM LANTOS, California
CYNTHIA A. McKINNEY, Georgia
GARY L. ACKERMAN, New York
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
DONALD M. PAYNE, New Jersey
EARL F. HILLIARD, Alabama
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
GROVER JOSEPH REES, Subcommittee Staff Director and Chief Counsel
ROBERT R. KING, Democratic Professional Staff Member
DOUGLAS C. ANDERSON, Counsel
CATHERINE DUBOIS, Staff Associate
C O N T E N T S
Ms. Susan Rice, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Ms. Carol Bellamy, Executive Director, UNICEF
Ms. Catherine Bertini, Executive Director, World Food Programme
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. Jemera Rone, Counsel, Human Rights Watch
Mr. Daniel Eiffe, Liaison Officer, Norwegian Peoples Aid
Sister Mary Rose Atuu, Little Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Gulu, Northern Uganda
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, a Representative in Congress from New Jersey and Chairman, Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights
Hon. Cynthia McKinney, a Representative in Congress from Georgia
Hon. Donald M. Payne, a Representative in Congress from New Jersey
Hon. Robert Menendez, a Representative in Congress from New Jersey
Hon. Tony P. Hall, a Representative in Congress from Ohio
Ms. Susan Rice
Ms. Carol Bellamy
Ms. Catherine Bertini
Ms. Jemera Rone
Mr. Daniel Eiffe
Sister Mary Rose Atuu
Mr. Roger Winter, Director, U.S. Committee for Refugees
Additional material submitted for the record:
June 16, 1998 letter from the Little Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Gulu on Northern Uganda
July 29, 1998 letter to William Cohen from Hon. Donald M. Payne
Material submitted by Ms. Bertini:
''Recent Deaths in the Line of Duty of WFP Staff Members''
Budget Revision for EMOP No. 5826.01 ''Emerging Food Assistance to War and Drought Affected Populations'' in the Sudan
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCRISES IN SUDAN AND NORTHERN UGANDA
WEDNESDAY, JULY 29, 1998
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Africa, and Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights,
Committee on International Relations,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 1:39 p.m., in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Ed Royce [chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa] and Hon. Chris Smith, [chairman of the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights] presiding.
Mr. ROYCE. [presiding] This joint hearing of the Subcommittee on Africa and the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights will come to order.
The humanitarian crisis in the neighboring countries of Sudan and Uganda are demanding world attention. Tragically, once again we are witnessing starvation by the tens of thousands in Sudan, and northern Uganda is experiencing equally horrific events. These crises are related and the Sudanese and Ugandan Governments are each providing support for rebel forces. Today's hearing aims to better understand these situations and better understand U.S. policy options.
Northern Uganda has been plagued by rebel insurgency for the past 12 years, but the frequency of attacks has increased over the last couple of years leaving thousands of displaced Ugandans living in makeshift camps. The perpetrator of this violence, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), has become notorious for looting homes and abducting and enslaving thousands of Ugandan children. The U.N. Children's Fund estimates that up to 10,000 youngsters have been victims of its gruesome atrocities. This violence mars Uganda's considerable progress.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Today, Sudanese by the thousands are dying from hunger in southern Sudan as a result of civil war and drought. The estimate of people in need of emergency food is 2.6 million. Thousands of Sudanese have left their homes in search of food and between 40 and 50 people are dying every day in the southern town of Wau alone. Humanitarian-inspired ceasefires, while desirable, are no long-term answer to this suffering. The political barriers to ending this suffering can seem daunting, but while providing aid and saving lives in the short-term, the United States may have a chance to encourage long-term developments.
In May, the Sudanese Government offered to hold a referendum in the south, supposedly allowing for the option of self-determination to southern Sudanese. It may make sense for the United States and others to look seriously at this proposal. As a good friend of Uganda, the United States may have a diplomatic role to play in its conflict. The United States is the largest funder of Operational Lifeline Sudan, the U.N.-sponsored program which coordinates the delivery of relief assistance to war-affected civilians.
Since 1989 when OLS was founded, the United States has contributed more than $700 million helping to save countless lives. Yet many Members of Congress have grave concerns about how Operation Lifeline has functioned and what type of diplomatic support it has received from our government. We look forward to hearing from Assistant Secretary of State, Susan Rice and others on these issues. Our witnesses today will give us a current picture of the situation in southern Sudan and northern Uganda, as well as recommendations for effective U.S. policy in dealing with these humanitarian crises.
We are pleased to share today's hearing with the Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights, and I will now turn to the panel's Chair, Mr. Chris Smith of New Jersey.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Chairman Royce, and I do thank you for scheduling this very important hearing, and doing it jointly, on the humanitarian and human rights crises in northern Uganda and Sudan.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC A few weeks ago, I received a visit from Sister Mary Rose Atuu, who shared her personal observations of a campaign of terror waged by the so-called Lord's Resistance Army, with the backing of the Government of Sudan. The systematic torture, rape, and murder of children, who are then forced to become murderers themselves, are atrocities on the order of those committed by Hitler and Stalin. Yet the modern world simply watches while the rape and the torture and the murder continues. I hope our Administration witnesses today tell us exactly what our government believes would be necessary to put an end to these depredations of the LRA, and what we are doing to see to it that these steps are taken.
The crisis in Uganda is inextricable from the plight of southern Sudan, whose people have been the victims of a vicious internal war inflicted by the radical military government in Khartoum, and who are now dying by the thousands as a result of the famine caused in large part by that war. The lesson of Sudan is also the lesson of the Soviet Union in its heyday; of Ethiopia in the 1980's; and of North Korea today. The primary cause of famine is not natural forces. The primary cause of famine is bad government. There is more than enough food in the world, and the governments and other institutions in the free and civilized world are more than willing to deliver it.
When these institutions fail, it is usually because they are impeded by the governments that caused the famine in the first place. This does not mean that we should stop trying. It is not the fault of the children of Sudan or of North Korea, that they were born in countries with evil governments. I hope to hear from our witnesses today exactly what needs to be done to end the starvation and the malnutrition, and I can assure you I pledge my support to make these things happen. We must bear in mind however, that the long-term solution to the problem of hunger must include an end to the oppression, corruption, and disregard for human life that are at the root cause of hunger.
I agree with several of our witnesses today that the people of southern Sudan need more than humanitarian assistance; they also need peace. I have joined with my very distinguished colleagues, Tony Hall and Frank Wolf, in calling on the President to appoint a special envoy in an effort to turn the temporary and limited ceasefire into a lasting peace. But the people of Sudan have already learned that no peace will really last until it is peace with honor and justice. It would be tragically wrong to impose a peace that merely takes away from the people of southern Sudan what they have gained in the battlefield, allowing the Khartoum Government to consolidate its power and bide its time before engaging in yet another round of brutal repression. Peace in Sudan means self-determination for all of the people of Sudan. The people of the south must have free and fair elections under international supervision between independence and integration into a new Sudan that is both free and democratic.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We're very honored today to have our distinguished colleague, Tony Hall, who has been the leader in the Congress, whether it be on the House or the Senate side, the leader in trying to eradicate and on the short-term to mitigate the suffering imposed by world hunger. Tony has been a leader on Sudan, he and along with Frank Wolf have been there many times and again we benefit from the good work that he does. I'm very glad he's here and I thank him for joining us on this panel.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Smith appears in the appendix.]
Mr. ROYCE. At this time I will ask our colleague, Tony Hall, who has recently returned from Sudan, who in the past has taken many trips to Sudan in his efforts to combat world hunger, for his observations.
Mr. HALL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and both of you, I appreciate your great effort today and yourcertainly your most important witnesses that you're having here today to shed a lot of light really on what's going on. I have a rather long statement that I'd like to have it as part of the record, I'm not going to read it. I'm just going to talk a little bit about the trip that I took at the end of May.
I was in Sudan at the end of May and I must say that I'd been to Sudan before, this is my third trip, and it's getting much worse. I've visited a lot of disaster areas in the world and I would say that of course, the worst that many of us have seen was in Ethiopia in 1984. In the area that I was in this time, the province of Bahr-el-Ghazal which is in the south west part of Sudan, it's just about as bad as anything I've seen since Ethiopia in 1984. I just saw hundreds and hundreds of people just starving, many children beyond malnutrition and extreme, extreme starvation, and the last time I have seen thatI saw a little bit of it in North Koreabut the last time I saw it in a wholesale way was in Ethiopia in 1984.
And what is eerie about it is that, outside of some of the feeding stations, especially in this province in southwest Sudan, you see lots of mothers that have walked miles to get to this particular feeding camp and this particular feeding camp was being handled by World Vision. And they were all just very thin, their children were beyond malnutrition, they were in the extreme part of starvation and obviously, in my opinion, what I was seeing is at least half of them would not make it. It was one of the eerie things about it and when you see hundreds of people waiting outside to get into the feeding center, when you see people like this and nobody is making a noise or children are not walking around, they're not playing, they're not laughing, they're not crying, they're just sufferingthey're hardly making a noise; you know you're in bad shape, and that was the situation town after town, village after village, that we had seen.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We saw a lot of atrocities that were committed by horsemen apparently coming out of the north. One of the groups that we travelled with is a private voluntary organization called MPA, and it's a Norwegian people's aid and they showed us a battle that had occurred 10 days before where hundreds of people were butchered, people that were in villages, in markets, and what we were seeing 10 days later were the after effects of vultures and just picking the bones absolutely bare and it was an amazing sight and something I haven't seen again since Ethiopia.
This is a man-made disaster. Sudan has the ability, according to all of our experts, of being able to not only feed themselves, but they tell me they can feed all of Africa if they could ever have some peace, which they haven't had since they gained their independence; it's about 42, 45 years ago. Only a few years have they had peace. They have an abundance of water with the Nile running right shortthere's a lot of water below the surface. In many parts of the land they have a lot of minerals, a lot of resources. They just discovered oil. It's the biggest country geographically in Africa. It's bordered by nine countries around it. There's no other country like that in Africa.
You're going to hear a lot of talk probably today about a good portion of the population. It's almost half and half of Muslim, southern part is Christian, and the tribal problems are justit's one problem after another. But it has the ability to feed, not only feed itself, but to feed all of Africa, if left alone.
Our policy, in my opinion, of our government isolating Khartoum, is not working and I don't think it has worked for some time. I think the fact that we don't have an ambassador or a full complement of people in Khartoum is wrong. I think that we should talk to these people, no matter how much we detest the atrocities that are occurring over there, but to not have people in Khartoum on a regular basis, to not have people in our embassy, to not have discussions going on, I mean how are we ever going to be part of any peace process or any political settlement; we're not there to talk.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So I believe that our policy of isolating Khartoum is not working. I also went to Khartoum, I talked to Mr. Bashir and Mr. Tarabi and talked to other leaders within Khartoum and I think that maybe I might have been the first official of any kind in 5 years to talk to them, and I think it's silly. I think we ought to be having discussion.
We need more humanitarian help; there's no question about that. The United States is generous. We've always been generous. We're a very generous government. We're a very generous people. We can do more; we can lead more in this particular area.
A lot of our friends can do much better jobs, especially our European neighbors. There's just no sense in the fact that they've kind of taken their hands off. Japan is sitting on maybe 6 million metric tons of food. We have written them and asked them to think about giving food to Sudan. I mean a lot of their food is rotting, and so we need a lot of help.
Frank Wolf and I have, and Chris Smith, we've called upon the President to appoint a high-level envoy to help with these. We have looked at the situation. By no stretch of the imagination are we experts, but in listening to people, in listening to friends and just traveling to the country a number of times, we've come to the conclusion that, you know if we're going to send our top people to Bosnia and we came out with the Dayton Peace Accords which occurred in my district, Dayton, Ohio, we're going to send Mr. Mitchell, who I think went to Ireland 100 times, and Mr. Holbrooke again to Cyprus, James Baker to parts of northern Africa to settle some of the major disputes that have been going on the past couple of years, why wouldn't we consider doing this in Sudan? They've lost 2 million people over the past 12 years. There's another 2.5 million people that are facing starvation and death and there's a good chance that thousands of these are going to die because the situation, I'm told, is getting worse even since I've been there.
And so I really believe that we need some kind of national envoy really and am hopeful we'll move toward that. I continue to hear more and more. I don't know if this is coming from the Administration or it's coming from Members of Congress that the possibility of a humanitarian envoy could be appointed from our government. I hope that's not the middle ground that the government is pushing, but I think that might be what is coming, and I think it's a nice gesture but that's all it is.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We've got a lot of humanitarian experts in Sudan, most of them, or a good portion of them, are here in the room. A lot of them are still in Sudan, are working on Alokichoggio, and OLS isyou know, they have a lot of people that have been there for years so we have a lot of humanitarian envoys. So a humanitarian ambassador, humanitarian envoy is a good gesture, but it's not going to do the job.
Sudan needs peace, there's no question about it, to end this war, and I think the only way to get peace is to have a political solution. In the whole, I would say the OLS operation, Lifeline Sudan has done a good job. If we didn't have them there, we'd have to figure out a way to invent them because they've been there a number of years, they work awfully hard. They've been timid sometimes. Somebody once told me, my friend Dan, he says that's a nice word, ''timid.'' They've lacked the guts in the past few months when almost all of the food shipments into this province that I'm talking about, which are going to rebel-held areas at the SPLA, every flight has to be approved by Khartoum. And as a result of that, what's happened is all the food flights stopped. That's why you're seeing tens of thousands of people not only die, but that's why a lot of food has not gotten into that province.
And the United Nations thought the OLS has been very timid, as when Khartoum says, we're not going to allow you in, they have hardly raised their voice. I don't have any understanding toward thatwhen you go out to Sudan and you're in Kenya you hear a lot of criticism from both sides about the OLS relative to this lack of guts of raising their voice concerning this most important problem.
Food is now going into the province, and you'll hear from experts as to how much and what's needed, but these are just a few of my thoughts. I thank both of you for your interest and for all that you're doing, certainly for holding this hearing. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hall appears in the appendix.]
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Mr. Hall. We will now hear from the Ranking Member of this Committee, Mr. Robert Menendez from New Jersey.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MENENDEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I listened with great interest to my colleague who clearly is one of the most clariant voices in the Congress on behalf of those who hunger throughout the world, and I appreciate him being here today. His insights are always, I think, enormously important to those of us who deal with foreign policy issues. Tony Hall deals with these issues from a different perspective and his perspective is one that I appreciate and thank the Chair for having him today here and Tony for sharing it with us.
Once again, the Sudanese people find themselves confronted with famine and death, and once again the culprit is Sudan's 15-year-long civil war. Ten years ago, 250,000 Sudanese perished in the famine of the last 1980's and today OLS has mounted its largest relief operation ever to manage the more than 2.6 million people facing starvation, and the estimated 250,000 people who are near death. And while a ceasefire is in place and may be an opportunity, it is temporary and, sadly, Sudan's civil war appears no closer to ending today than it did in the 1980's. An estimated 1.5 million people have died in Sudan's civil war. In addition to the internal turmoil, the war has extracted an enormous cost on Sudan's neighbors. The civil war in Sudan still is the root cause of instability in East Africa. The government in Khartoum is responsible for funding and supporting regional insurgent groups and international terrorist organizations. Uganda has been disproportionately affected by the war in Sudan. Khartoum continues to support the LRA which has abducted some 10,000 children, some as young as 8 years old, in Northern Uganda which it uses to support its efforts to overthrow the Government of Uganda and to fight for the Sudanese Government in southern Sudan.
Today we're charged with looking at the humanitarian crisis in the region, but, clearly, we cannot look at the humanitarian crisis without acknowledging the civil war as the cause of the famine. The government in Khartoum uses food as a military weapon, attempting to starve fighters in the south, as it did earlier this year when it barred all relief flights to the south in February and March, in response to the military losses in the region. In addition, the war in the south has kept farmers from harvesting their crops. The reality is that the Sudanese people will cycle in and out of famines until there is peace and stability which allows for sustainable farming throughout the country.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I know that Sudan and even the provision of humanitarian relief are subjects of divisive political debates. I think we can clearly state that no oneno onesupports the National Islamic Front (NIF), and everyone seeks peace and reconciliation for a people who have suffered for far too long. I think that maybe some of the observations that Mr. Hall made need to be taken to heart here as to how to conclude the problem of Sudan. I'm looking forward to listening to the Assistant Secretary because I'd like to hear why we had such a late response to the famine. Why we didn't have the ability to forecast? It seems to me that it's rather obvious that we should have been able to forecast what has been now a cyclical process, and that we should have known about the famine and prepared for a response to it.
I can only agree with the conclusion reached by reporter Bruce Neil in his recent article for Time magazine where he says and I quote: ''But peace is a commodity that the Sudanese people need the most. Their starvation is all the worse because it is so unnecessary. Southern Sudan offers some of the most productive land in Africa and the people who live there are hardworking farmers and herdsmen, taskmasters at raising cattle, coping with scanty rainfalls and husbanding seeds. If the battles would only end, they could make it on their own. Instead, tens of thousands of them are likely to die in this famine and the next one which is sure to come.''
Now, clearly, part of the work here today must be to consider not only how we address this crisis, but what we can and should do to forestall the next. And as I said, I'd like to hear why we didn't act in a much more propitious and quick manner. The status quo can only yield another famine, and I look forward to hearing the Assistant Secretary's response.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Mr. Menendez.
Let me ask our colleague, Cynthia McKinney of Georgia, do you have a statement you would like to submit at this time?
Ms. MCKINNEY. I do have a statement which focuses on the Ugandan side of this issue. I will submit it for the record and hear from our Assistant Secretary who has come.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Ms. McKinney appears in the appendix.]
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you. And let me turn now to the vice chairman of this Committee, Mr. Houghton of New York, to ask if he has a statement at this time.
Mr. HOUGHTON. No, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you. Mr. Don Payne of New Jersey.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me thank you and Chairman Smith for calling this very important hearing on the crisis of Sudan and northern Uganda. Many people that I come across know that there is a severe problem in Sudanit's been there for many yearsbut cannot comprehend its depth. To me the one predictable thing about Sudan is its unpredictability. An entire generation of southern Sudanese are dying in one way or another in the world's most neglected civil war. More than 1.5 million southern Sudanese have died over the past decade as a result of war, famine, disease, and just neglect of the world. The urgency of the humanitarian crisis in Sudan cannot be overstated.
For the life of me, I cannot understand how this has happened yet again. An estimated 2.6 million people are currently at risk of starvation. Relief operations are seriously threatened because of the government's policy of starvation as a weapon. The NIF Government is primarily responsible for the escalation of the current humanitarian tragedy. Moreover, citizens continue to suffer needlessly, in part because of the indifference of the international community. OLS, created to prevent humanitarian crisis in Sudan, is also partly responsible. OLS has become hostage to NIF's constant manipulation. The indiscriminate aerial bombardment of refugee camps and massive ground onslaught by government forces appear targeted in deep populating southern Sudan and to crest Sudan's People Liberation Army, the SPLA.
My first visit to southern Sudan was in 1993, with many subsequent trips since, and I must honestly conclude that almost 8 years of oppression and dictatorship have intensified opposition to the NIF-led government. I've never seen the people in the SPLA more determined. I was in Yei last December with my good friend, Congressman Campbell, and I saw the devastation and the desperate conditions of the people who live there.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, I am sure everyone has seen the horrible photos in Time magazine, especially in the Bahr-el-Ghazal region, which depicts a mother that cannot provide milk for her starving child, and men that are too frail and too weak to walk, that often means a Dinka herdsman, whose master's raising cattle as a way of life, not being able to provide for his family. This brutal Islamic regime in Khartoum cannot compare in its viciousness to what is happening to the Christians and the animists in the south.
Let me conclude by saying that I must commend Assistant Secretary Susan Rice and our Administration's effective Sudan policy. It is precisely this policy that has brought both parties to the negotiating table. If we change course by opening the embassy without any tangible evidence of reform, the IGAD talks which are scheduled for next month have a potential to be circumvented. Most important, the government in Khartoum will interpret this move as a sign of approval for their brutal policy at a time when we should be clear about our objectives in Sudan. Moved by the situation, I have introduced H. Con. Res. 309 with Chairman Gilman, Chairman Smith, and Ranking Member Menendez, that seeks to halt the forced abduction and recruitment of children soldiers by the abusive government in collaboration with the LRA. It encourages the President to appoint an envoy for the region.
I would also like to submit this letter to the Pentagon for the record which asks for the use of the numerous C130 planes we have just sitting around in reserve. The planes that are in the region, one is broken, the other two are having problems. The record should be set straight. The NIF government remains an obstacle to peace and a threat to the regional stability. It is cruel and inhumane to use food as a tool of war on the most vulnerable. The United States should not be used by Khartoum as a pawn for their sinister game. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back the balance of my time.
[The letter appears in the appendix.]
[The prepared statement of Mr. Payne appears in the appendix.]
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROYCE. Thank you Mr. Payne. Under very difficult circumstances, Mr. Payne and Mr. Frank Wolf have been to Sudan, and I'm going to ask Mr. Frank Wolf, who's helped focus this Congress' attention on this issue, if he wants to make an opening statement.
Mr. WOLF. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'll be very brief. I appreciate your holding the hearings. I appreciate Mr. Smith's efforts, and also Mr. Payne and Mr. Hall's latest trip, which I think has helped bring a lot of attention to the issue. I also want to thank Secretary Rice, who has been a good voice on this issue. My comfort level has increased tremendously by the fact that you're down where you are because I think we share a lot of the same views on Sudan.
I did want to say there are two other things: First, more U.S. aid, particularly with regard to the capacity-building that's necessary; and second, I understandMr. Hall said it, and I would like to reiterateI think we really need a special envoy of the caliber of a former Senator, Sam Nunn or former Senator Paul Simon or Jim BakerI'm not sure who would take the jobbut somebody of that caliber. I know it was tried at one other time and the individual got sick and it was kind of a different type of a situation. But now that all the publicity is coming back on this issue (and I think the Administration is taking a good position on the issue) I think here's an opportunity.
I think if we don't seize all the publicity which has come and probably will comeit usually comes in 2- or 3-month waves and then begins to dissipate againwe may miss another opportunity. And I would think if, Madam Secretary, if we had somebody who would report through you, someone like Paul Simon or Sam Nunnbecause when I watched the envoy when Senator Mitchell was the envoy to Northern Ireland, I read in the paper he went back to Ireland about 100 times. Obviously, it's easier to get to Ireland than it is to Sudan, but if you had somebody who became the reservoir of knowledge that had the confidence of the Administration and the confidence of Congress, that knew both sides, couldn't be fooled by either side, I think this would be the opportunity whereby at the end of this year we could bring about truly a real lasting peace.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It's just not a humanitarian solution we need; we also need a political solution, and I would urge you to take that under consideration because I think you've got so much else to do; if this person could funnel through you, I think they could make a difference. Senator Mitchell has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and many more people have died in Sudan, both in the north and the south but particularly in the south, than died in Ireland. And obviously, he did an outstanding job there but, to take that same knowledge and intuition that he had and the ability, with a good relationship to the President and the Administration and Secretary of State, and also the respect he's had here in Congress, he was able to bring that together. The poor southern Sudanese living in the village of Torit or Kapoeta, or wherever they may be, could benefit from someone similar to Senator Mitchell and his expertise.
There's a special envoy, Holbrooke, for Cyprus. Compared to Cyprus, this is a much more significant issue of humanitarian interest.
And, last, we know that there are terrorist groups in downtown Khartoum. We have the opportunity to deal with that issue, to deal with all the other issues on the table. I think a political person could really make the difference in bringing this to a conclusion.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the hearings and thank you for the time.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Mr. Wolf. Now, we will have opening statements from Congresswoman McKinney of Georgia and Congressman Sherman from California. Congresswoman McKinney.
Ms. MCKINNEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to welcome Assistant Secretary Susan Rice, along with the other witnesses. I look forward to their testimony.
Twelve years ago Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni marched a 20,000-strong rebel army to Uganda's capital, Kampala, and liberated the Ugandan people from the reign of two of the most oppressive dictatorships the world has ever seen. During their successive regimes, Amin and Obote murdered over one million people. While the United States and the western powers did nothing, Museveni took action. Since then, the story of Uganda is nothing short of phenomenal.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC President Museveni immediately formed a human rights commission to investigate the atrocities committed under the former dictators. Today the commission is chaired by a judge and overseen by members of the High Court. The mandate of the organization is to serve as a watchdog by monitoring government activities and to educate the public about respect for human rights.
After the establishment of the human rights commission, President Museveni began assembling judges, lawyers, and other scholars for the purpose of drafting Uganda's constitution. His administration actively solicited the involvement of men and women at the grassroots level. Several thousand Ugandans submitted memorandums offering suggestions. An important component of the constitution is a provision institutionalizing the human rights commission.
Perhaps most astonishing has been Uganda's economic growth under President Museveni. Real GDP growth has averaged 6.7 percent over the last 10 years; inflation has been reduced from 250 percent to 6 percent. The country has liberal current and capital accounts, so there is no restriction on foreign exchange.
To ease the concerns of foreign investors, Uganda now offers insurance to investors through the multilateral Insurance Guarantee Agency of the World Bank. Under Amin, Ugandans of south Asian heritage were stripped of their properties and forced to leave the country. President Museveni has allowed them to return and has given back their businesses and land.
To encourage American tourists and investors, citizens of the United States no longer need visas to travel to Uganda.
Understanding that an exclusionary government breeds its own opposition, President Museveni held elections and has an administration that reflects the diversity of Ugandan society. In 1987, a reporter asked him how he could afford to have such a large and diverse government. His answer was a simple one: It's cheaper than war.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, this is what President Museveni has built in just 12 years. But even more important than what he has done for Uganda, President Museveni is perhaps the first of a new breed of leader on the continent. He has proven that African leaders no longer need to follow the orders of their colonial masters to achieve success. Independence and security, Museveni has shown, are not mutually exclusive.
Unfortunately, all of this is threatened by an entity as evil as the world has ever seen. Northern Uganda is plagued by a rebel insurgency known as the LRA, led by Joseph Kony. The LRA is notorious for looting homes, abducting and enslaving thousands of Ugandan children. Boys as young as 11 years old are forced to serve as soldiers and to participate in extreme acts of violence. Girls of the same age are made into sexual slaves. Nearly all of the children who escape from the LRA are found to be HIV-positive. The U.N. Children's Fund estimates that up to 10,000 youngsters have been victims of rebel atrocities. Backed by an oppressive and terrorist regime in Sudan, the LRA is a direct affront to the new Africa.
It is time, I believe now, Mr. Chairman, for Congress and the Clinton Administration to embrace President Museveni and Uganda as a partner for peace and stability on the African continent. We must make a decision: Will the United States continue its centuries-old neglect of Africa? Will it support only the Mobutu Seseseiko's and Jonas Savimbi's of Africa? Or has President Clinton's trip truly marked a new beginning and relations between the countries of sub-Saharan Africa? Will we support those who are doing the right thing? The current crisis in northern Uganda poses this question. I, along with countless others who care about the future of Africa, await this answer. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Ms. McKinney appears in the appendix.]
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Congresswoman McKinney. Congressman Sherman.
Mr. SHERMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My colleague, Ms. McKinney, has done an outstanding job of talking about Uganda, and I've just got an opening statement that focuses exclusively on Sudan.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This is the least known of the rogue regimes. Americans hear about North Korea; they hear about Iraq and Iran, and yet here is a regime that seems to combine aggression and oppression of its own people along with a near genocidal war, the south, and strong elements of the practice of slavery, one that most Americans think is only a product of the last century. And it's a government that hosts some of the vilest terrorists in the world, provides them sanctuary, and I believe provides them with aid as well.
We ought to have the strongest possible sanctions against the government in Khartoum, and yet we hear reports that American oil companies are looking to build pipelines and that American oil companies seem to have found some exceptions to policies enacted by this Congress, are doing business and making investments in Sudan. I think it's critical that we urge American oil companies to cease making investments in Sudan, not to look for ways to do so, because I think the U.S. Government has got to feel free, should it become necessary to provide military aid to the opponents of the Khartoum Government, whether those opponents be in the north or the south or the east, and it may come to that.
This is a truly vile regime, and if it's necessary for us to go beyond sanctions to some degree of assistance to the regime's opponents, military assistance even, we should do that and we shouldn't have oil companies here saying, oh, but we have investments. Instead, it's for the oil companies to recognize that there are much better places in the world for them to invest. Thank you.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Mr. Sherman. We've been joined by Mr. Campbell from California and Mr. Chabot from Ohio.
Our first witness is Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Susan Rice. Dr. Rice previously served as Special Assistant to the President and is Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council. A former Rhodes scholar, Dr. Rice earned her degrees at Stanford and Oxford University. She visited Uganda with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright last December, and again with President Clinton, my colleague Don Payne and myself in March. Secretary Rice.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF SUSAN RICE, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR AFRICAN AFFAIRS AT THE NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL
Ms. RICE. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, distinguished Members. I thank you for this opportunity to testify before your two distinguished subcommittees on two pressing human rights issues of serious concern to the U.S. Government. These are the humanitarian crises in southern Sudan and the heinous activities of the LRA in Uganda and southern Sudan. Although these crises are occurring in two different countries and differ substantially in scope and character, they share one thing in common: Both result in large part from the callous and repressive policies of the Government of Sudan.
Before turning to the humanitarian situations in southern Sudan and northern Uganda, I'd like to review with you the key elements of our Sudan policy and the events that have shaped that policy. Traditionally, throughout Sudan's 42 years of independence, the United States has sought good relations with Africa's largest state. However, when the NIF seized power in 1989 by overthrowing the democratically elected head of state, our relations deteriorated sharply. Today Sudan is the only state in sub-Saharan Africa that poses a direct threat to U.S. National Security interests.
During the past 9 years we have been at odds with the Government of Sudan over four fundamental issues: First, we condemn and strenuously oppose the Sudanese Government's active sponsorship of international terrorism. The government has allowed international terrorists such as Saudi financier Osama Bin Laden and terrorist groups such as Hamas, safe haven in Sudan. It has established training camps for extremist militants and was also involved in the assassination attempt on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
Second, the NIF Regime continues to destabilize neighboring states through its assistance to a range of organizations, including the LRA in Uganda, the Eritrean Islamic Jihad, and the Oromo Liberation Front in Ethiopia, that have consistently targeted civilians.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Third, the Government of Sudan systematically violates the human rights of its own citizens. Torture, religious persecution, slavery, and forced imposition of Shariya law on Sudanese citizens throughout the country are pervasive and well-documented.
Fourth, the Government of Sudan continues to prosecute a vicious war strategy in the south that is the direct cause of much of the starvation that is now killing so many in southern Sudan. Quite simply, the policies and practices of the NIF government directly put at risk the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians both at home and abroad. As a result, our policy is to isolate the Government of Sudan and pressure it to change fundamentally its behavior.
At the same time, we seek to contain the threat that it poses to the U.S. interest to neighboring African states and to the people of Sudan. Toward this end, we are working on two levels: First we're undertaking specific bilateral measures and then we are urging the United Nations and other concerned countries to act in concert to compel the Government of Sudan to change its behavior.
On a bilateral basis, the United States designated Sudan as a state sponsor of terrorism in August 1993, and imposed comprehensive economic sanctions on Sudan in November 1997. We believe these sanctions are now effectively denying Sudan access to American financial institutions and markets.
On a multilateral basis, we supported the 1996 U.N. Security Council resolution that imposed diplomatic sanctions on Sudan. In addition, we introduced resolutions at meetings of the U.N. Human Rights Commission condemning Sudan's flagrant violations of human rights. We have also worked with other countries to restrict arms sales to Sudan and to try to impose an air flight ban on Sudanese aircraft.
Through our Front-Line States Initiative, the United States has provided non-lethal military assistance to several countries bordering Sudan, so that they can defend themselves against NIF-sponsored aggression. We recognize, however, that security and democracy will come to Sudan only when the warring parties opt for resolution to the 15-year civil war on the basis of a just and durable peace, a peace that is based on respect for the human rights of all Sudanese.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thus, the United States is actively supporting, both financially and diplomatically, the ongoing peace process sponsored by the intergovernmental authority on development known as IGAD. The United States strongly supports IGAD. We have assisted its revitalization efforts and provided direct assistance to the Sudan peace process. Our reasons for doing this are two.
First, the IGAD peace process represents a genuine effort by the countries of the region to address its own problems. We want to support and encourage this trend.
Second, and unlike any other negotiation effort over the last many years, IGAD has successfully defined a framework for the resolution of this conflict which tackles the central questions of religion and the state.
The Government of Sudan would like a proliferation of peace processes in order to delay, confuse, and undermine the IGAD process. We think we should not allow those efforts to succeed. We remain hopeful that additional progress will be made when the next round of IGAD peace talks resumes in August, and the Administration plans to send a senior U.S. diplomat to support those talks.
To promote viable democratic systems in post-war Sudan, we also have encouraged the various Sudanese opposition groups to strengthen their cooperation to halt their own human rights abuses, especially by the SPLA and by Springer factions, and to develop democratic institutions in areas under their control. Secretary Albright met last December with the leaders of the National Democratic Alliance, the umbrella opposition organization, to encourage them to work together effectively to promote the rights and freedom of the Sudanese people.
USAID is providing $4 million in development assistance in areas administered by the Sudanese opposition in an effort to enhance the establishment of transparent and democratic systems that can over time ensure that Sudanese citizens control their own destiny. This is a new initiative.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Unfortunately, the humanitarian situation throughout southern Sudan remains dire, despite massive U.S. assistance, due to 3 years of drought, a dozen-plus years of internal strife, and the decision by the Government of Sudan to ban relief flights for the most severely affected areas in February and March. An estimated 2.6 million people are facing malnutrition or possibly starvation. Through direct pressure galvanized by the United States, the international community finally managed to persuade the Government of Sudan to grant access to relief flights on April 1st. Without the direction intervention of the United States, I don't believe that the flight ban would ever have been lifted by the Government of Sudan, at least not in the near-term.
The U.N. umbrella organization for NGO operations in Sudan, OLS provides the bulk of this relief to the most effective areas. Largely due to swift U.S. support, OLS should be able to provide the 15,000 metric tons of food per month needed by the most desperate people in the south, beginning in August. OLS is using American assistance to lease additional heavy-lift aircraft and will soon have 13 such aircraft, including C130's, operating out of Lokichoggio and Kenya and three newly opened regional bases. The current food delivery program will be the largest of its kind in history, surpassing the Berlin airlift.
Members of Congress have urged that the United States also provide assistance to civilians living in areas that the OLS cannot reach. Let me assure you that we're already doing that. We feel that support for OLS is critical because it can deliver to needy civilians and also because the operation was agreed to through negotiations by both sides in the conflict. But that said, we recognize that OLS faces serious constraints, and so continue to provide assistance to non-governmental organizations working in non-OLS areas.
Since 1989, the United States has provided more than $700 million in humanitarian assistance to Sudan. This year alone we have already pledged more than $78 million. That $78 million includes 60,000 metric tons of food, plus transportation costs, emergency health care, and tools and seeds for farming. More is likely to be provided this fiscal year. Already the United States accounts for over one-third of the total relief being provided by the international community. We've also decided to allocate up to 100,000 additional metric tons of wheat being purchased from U.S. farmers pursued in these relief efforts.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Today, as we speak, Roy Williams, who is the director of the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance at USAID, is in Sudan assessing the magnitude of the current problem, and the international effort being mounted to bring it under control. Upon his return, we will pursue appropriate next steps to expend our efforts and capacities.
The situation in Uganda is stark evidence that Sudan's disregard for human rights extends well beyond its own borders. The Sudanese-sponsored LRA murders, tortures, rapes, kidnaps, and forcibly conscripts the civilian population of northern Uganda. Its favorite targets for kidnapping are children. Kidnapped girls are forced to become sex slaves to LRA commanders while the boys are forced to fight. All can be subject to vicious corporal punishment and murder on the whim of the commander. Those who escape or are freed carry with them tragic psychological scars.
Although the LRA and its commander, Joseph Kony, have their origins in Uganda's own history of domestic conflict, it is Sudanese support for the LRA that is giving it the resources and the sanctuary necessary to terrorize the populations of the Gulu and Kitgum districts in northern Uganda. Sudan provides the LRA with safe havens deep within its own territory and supplies it with military equipment, food and other materials. After Sudan's support to the LRA increased significantly in 1994, the atrocities suffered by the people of northern Uganda rose exponentially and that suffering continues today.
During the first half of 1998, the number of incidents and the geographic spread of LRA depredations increased. Secretary Albright and I and others visited Gulu during her December 1997 trip to Africa. We were all deeply moved by the experience of meeting the child victims of the LRA atrocities. It left us ever more committed to helping Uganda address this ongoing conflict.
The United States is engaged on many levels to promote a resolution to the conflict in northern Uganda and to meet the immediate needs of the population there. The northern Uganda initiative announced by the First Lady in Kampala last March, if funded by Congress, will be a $10 million, 3-year program designed to target relief and promote development in those areas most affected by the war in the north. The program will focus on food security, trauma counseling for children, employment generation, and reconstruction of the infrastructure, particularly roads, necessary to generate economic activity.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And although, of course, security is a prerequisite for sustainable growth and development in northern Uganda, it is our belief that progress can be made even before the conflict there has ended. Improved economic prospects, moreover, may generate additional support among the local population for the Government of Uganda's efforts to defeat the LRA insurgency.
In addition to our relief and development work, we are promoting other avenues of conflict prevention and resolution. We are delivering non-lethal defensive military assistance to the Government of Uganda to help improve the effectiveness of its military response to Sudanese-sponsored aggression, in particular, that of the LRA.
The Ugandan People's Defense Force has improved dramatically in the last 10 years. Still, it has not been as effective as it could be in combatting the LRA and protecting civilian populations. Our IMET programs and efforts by other like-minded donors are designed in part to address this problem, but ultimately the Government of Uganda needs to enhance its own efforts in this regard. We recognize the very difficult challenges associated with fighting an insurgency that operates in a large and remote area and resorts to such brutal tactics. But this is all the more reason for the Government of Uganda to make sure its own military has every advantage possible.
The UPDF Ugandan Forces, as well as government-sponsored local defense forces, must guard against human rights abuses. We believe the Government of Uganda is working to implement a military campaign that respects the human rights of non-combatants and deals as humanely as possible with the insurgence, many of them forcibly conscripted by the LRA. But the Ugandan Government must do more and better in this regard.
At the same time it is critical that we understand the sharp difference between the LRA and the Government of Uganda's defense forces' behavior. Abusive tactics are an abhorration for the Ugandan forces. For the LRA, they are standard operating procedure.
At the same time we are concerned that the government's military response may not be enough. To date, it has not succeeded in eliminating the LRA. Thus, we have encouraged the Government of Uganda to pursue a parallel political track to resolve the conflict. It's, frankly, difficult to imagine a negotiated settlement with a group like the LRA, and nonetheless, it is in the interest of arresting the serious cost of this conflict that we believe the Government of Uganda should consider seriously this option. To some degree at least, it seems that communication has begun to be established. But perhaps more important for long-term stability in the region, we encourage the Government of Uganda to enhance its dialog with community leaders in northern Uganda.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The human costs of the LRA insurgency in northern Uganda are immense because it requires the government to sustain high military spending and because it keeps a large part of the country outside of the productive economy. The war in the north is also detracting from what has been one of Africa's strongest economic success stories in recent years. Sudan's regional aggression, in short, is costing Uganda and many others a great deal, and we must continue to work to contain it.
Mr. Chairman, Members, I believe that humanitarian crises in northern Uganda and southern Sudan threaten the substantial strides that Africa has taken over the past decade toward stability, free market economies, and democracy. Today many Africans can dare hope that their children and their children's children will study and work in peace and security and freely and regularly elect just and accountable leaders. We look forward to working with both subcommittees to help all Africans enjoy the same opportunity as the continent approaches the 21st century. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Rice appears in the appendix.]
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Secretary Rice. Let me begin the questioning by just asking about the situation where Iran, China, France, Qatar are all believed to be supplying arms or giving technical assistance to Sudan. Why is the United Nations not actively doing anything to deter these nations from such activities, if I may ask that? And why haven't these nations' involvement been made more than a public issue, do you think, internationally?
Ms. RICE. Mr. Chairman, I think we share the frustration implicit in your question when it pertains to the international community's response to the behavior of the Government of Sudan. The United States has been a leader of efforts in the U.N. Security Council to obtain tougher sanctions on Sudan, and frankly, thus far, there hasn't been an appetite for tougher sanctions. There are a variety of reasons for that, including the perspectives of some of the permanent members of the Security Council who perhaps have economic or political interests in Sudan that may override the international community and securities stake in Sudan.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are quite concerned by this. The U.S. Government has actively sought to ferret out instances of armed shipments to Sudan through a variety of means, and where we have discovered them and where there are laws that enable us to potentially impose penalties on countries that export arms to countries that are on the list of state sponsors of terrorism. We have engaged very aggressively and, in fact, succeeded in deterring a number of armed shipments from landing in Sudan.
Mr. ROYCE. I know that, as I'd mentioned, China, Iran, France, Qatar are believed to be making those shipments. Could you shed light on which countries we were able to actually intercede and block arms shipments from?
Ms. RICE. Mr. Chairman, that will get us into some intelligence questions that we would have to take up in a closed session.
Mr. ROYCE. I understand. Let me ask you another question then. The Government of Sudan has expressed a willingness to offer autonomy for the southern part of the country. Is this a serious offer on the part of the NIF? Given the fact that the Front has fought to apply Muslim law to all of the country, to the country it begs the question, but what's your observation on that?
Ms. RICE. Well, I think it's important to note that the breakthrough that occurred at the last round of the IGAD talks was significant. It was the first time that the government had stated in any fashion its willingness to allow a referendum on the future of southern Sudan, but it is not without problems and it does raise doubts about the sincerity of that statement, for a variety of reasons.
In the first instance, there is great disagreement between the government and the opposition organizations as to how to define the area that would be subject to the referendum.
In the second instance, there are many who think that this was an effort to divide the opposition, to split the new alliance that has emerged over the last 3 years between northern opposition elements and southern opposition elements. And so I think it needs to be watched very carefully with those considerations in mind.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROYCE. Let me ask you a question about what we know about the LRA, Joseph Kony, the originator of that movement, and have the bizarre acts of the LRA disqualified it as a legitimate political organization that should be engaged in peace talks? I mean, does that rule out engaging them in peace talks in northern Uganda?
Ms. RICE. Well, the LRA is one of the most bizarre and heinous military organizations anywhere. It doesn't have a clear political agenda. If we were to ask Joseph Kony what his ambitions were, I'm not sure that we would get an answer that makes sense in our terms. They seem to have only one guiding principle and that is tormenting people in the most vicious ways they can dream of. And so it is obviously very difficult in that circumstance to encourage a responsible government like the Government of Uganda to engage in a dialog with the LRA. Having said that, as I said in my testimony, we do think the situation is grave, that military means are not likely alone to suffice and that the Government of Uganda ought to consider a whole range of options including negotiations.
Mr. ROYCE. One last question on that point: How disciplined has the Ugandan Army been in its battle with these rebel movements? Does the Ugandan military need technical or other assistance to succeed in its fight against the LRA?
Ms. RICE. The Ugandan Army has had some success, but it also lacks skill; it lacks capacity in some regard. It has improved over the last several years but, Mr. Chairman, I think it's fair to say that there are some significant weaknesses. We have sought to help the government address those weaknesses to the extent we can through our modest military assistance programs. But internal discipline, routing out corruption, and other steps will also be essential for the Ugandan Army to succeed.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Secretary Rice.
I will now go to Mr. Smith for questioning. Thank you.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me just ask Ambassador Rice, what resources do you think it would take for the Ugandan Army to defeat Joseph Kony's army? We have some very riveting testimony that Sister Mary Rose Atuu is going to be giving and she tells the story of where some 44 girls were abducted from Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School in Gulu, and how when one sought to escape after being abducted, she was killed right in front of all the other students with bayonets.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But the main point of her testimony is to say, not just that this is a brutal outfit, but that the Ugandan Army did little to stop these perpetrators of these crimes; in other words, they just basically looked the other way. There may be instances where they, indeed, have stepped up and tried to save other students or other innocent people in northern Uganda, but, as she points out here, this is more the exception rather than the rule.
Now that we've advised the Ugandans to speak to Joseph Kony's army, with whom will they speak? Where will they find these people? Are there a number of people that have been identified as leaders, in addition to Kony, that would be the object of the negotiation? And again, what would it take militarily? Are we advising Ugandans as to how they might prosecute a war against these people?
Ms. RICE. Well, as I said in my testimony, I think the problems are both military and political. There is clearly more than can be done to strengthen and professionalize the Ugandan military, and we, with modest resources, are doing some of that, but, obviously, there is much that remains to be done, and in fact what needs to be done can be assisted in part by the United States and others on the outside but there also needs to be improved discipline and improved tactics and efforts to ensure that corruption is addressed in the Ugandan Army. So there is
Mr. SMITH. Do we have a program, a JCET program or some other program, in place now to train?
Ms. RICE. We have IMET programs. We provide very modest amounts of defensive non-lethal military assistance, primarily radios and personal equipment, tents, load-bearing equipment, and we do have on occasion, as we do in many parts of Africa, the occasional JCET exercise, which, as you know, is primarily an exercise for American forces overseas.
Mr. SMITH. Are we training them in guerrilla warfare and trying to apprehend guerrillas?
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. RICE. I'm not familiar with the details of our JCET program but, no, I do not
Mr. SMITH. Could you provide that for the record? It's very important.
Ms. RICE. We can, indeed.
[The information below was supplied following the hearing.]
There are two programs by which U.S. military train Ugandans: the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program ($900,000 in FY 98) and the African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI), $1.96 million for initial training in FY 97, and proposed, but as yet unscheduled, follow-on training. The IMET program indeed has been designed to enhance Uganda's regional stability and efforts against the LRA by helping Uganda develop a professional, apolitical and more technically proficient military force. According to the Defense Department, under the FY 97 and 98 IMET, Ugandan military have attended courses at the Army Command General Staff College on professional military tactics, civilian-military relationships, defense research management, and the law of war.
Uganda completed initial ACRI training in September, 1997. ACRI is the U.S. initiative to help Africans create a regional peacekeeping response capability. In the initial training, 60 U.S. Army Special Forces personnel trained Ugandans over a 2-month period in logistics, brigade and battalion staff operations, liaison with non-governmental organizations and human rights. Through the ACRI program, the United States also provided Uganda with communications gear, mine detectors, night vision equipment, boots, uniforms and load-bearing equipment in support of the training.
Other training we have completed with Uganda over the last several years has included DoD-funded Joint Combined Exchange Training Programs (JCETs). The primary purpose of JCETs is to train and maintain the proficiency of our own Special Operations Forces. Benefits may also accrue to the host country. In the case of Uganda, since FY 95, there have been six JCETs. Four have focused on traditional light infantry training such as patrolling, mission planning, squad through company level tactics, and weapons skills. This last fiscal year, we conducted two JCETs. The first included a democracy seminar, command and control mechanisms, law of warfare, military discipline and justice, and civil-military relations. The second was part of the East African Cooperative peacekeeping exercise Natural Fire with Kenya and Tanzania. Natural Fire focused on peacekeeping operations, combined airborne operations, small unit tactics, and refugee control.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Mr. SMITH. I find it dismaying that I recently returned from Indonesia, where we were actually training the Kopassos who have a terrible human rights record and are known by the human rights community to be the perpetrators of torture. I would hope that if the goal is to mitigate the damage being done by this rogue outfit, that we would at least be training responsible officers as to how to engage in such tactics, especially in light of the kind of humanitarian crisis that we're facing in northern Uganda and the testimony we will receive shortly.
Let me ask you another question because I know that we're under some time limits today. The ceasefire, how well is that progressing and is it an opening for enhanced humanitarian aid? And second, let me ask you about IGAD. I'll never forget when I was in Northern Ireland almost a year ago now in August, I met with all the players, all of the terrorists groups from the IRA, and all of them thought that a political settlement, while it would be nice, wasn't really in the cards. And yet they also showed some tendency toward it. Senator Mitchell imposed a deadline that most thought would be unable to be achieved and yet he stuck to it; Blair's Government stuck to it; Mo Mowlam stuck to it, and in the end, having that deadline made those negotiations work.
Is there any deadline contemplated with IGAD or is it just an open-ended series of negotiations? Is anybody looking at a timeframe when certain things might happen?
Ms. RICE. To answer your first question about the ceasefire, to our knowledgeand it's of course difficult to verify throughout such a large area without our own monitors on the groundthe ceasefire as declared by the Government of Sudan and by the SPLA appears to last a while, to have been holding. But I think it's important to note that there are more than those two sides to this conflict. There are many factions and bandits and rebel groups that have not committed themselves to the ceasefire, and they, unfortunately, yet prove to be a real problem as we try to take advantage of this window of opportunity.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC With respect to IGAD, the United States itself has not imposed any deadline on this regional process. This is a process that's led by the states in the region, chaired by Kenya. We participate in something called the IGAD Partners Forum with other Western donors, where we provide assistance, both diplomatic and financial, to this IGAD peace process. I take your point about urgencywe all share it. Unfortunately, for many years the government in Khartoum has not exhibited a willingness to deal seriously with the fundamental issues that are at the root cause of this conflict. They are not yet prepared to acknowledge the full human rights to the people of the south, to allow them to worship freely and without persecution, and to protect them from slavery and to allow them to determine their own political future. Those are the fundamental differences. We have a very different relationship with the Government in Khartoum than we have with the Government of Ireland and the Government in Great Britain, and so our ability to impose a deadline in this context is quite different.
Mr. SMITH. Clearly, but the hatred among the opposing factions is certainly parallel, and while it's to a greater degree and there are more of them in Sudan, there are obviously more victims. My thought about a deadline was internally. I'm not saying we impose a deadline, but internally is something percolating up that, you know, this is some kind of timeframe or is it open-ended? We know that peace processes can go on forever and sometimes they're used as an excuse to defer criticism, when meanwhile people are being killed and starvation runs wild.
You mentionedand I'll yield back with thisa senior diplomat that would be going in August. Who is that senior diplomat?
Ms. RICE. We have not named that person publicly, and so I would prefer not to get ahead of myself, if you would allow me that. Thank you.
Mr. SMITH. OK, is the special envoy something that's being seriously considered right now?
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. RICE. Yes, we're very much aware of the proposal that is being made by a number of Members of Congress for a special envoy for political affairs. As you may know, there has been a separate proposal made by another group of Members that that envoy be limited to a humanitarian role, arguing that there is a potential for a political envoy, which has in fact been tried in the past, to fall into the trap that we all wish to avoid, which is to give the Sudanese Government some alternative to taking the IGAD peace process seriously. Both those proposals are under active consideration and I hope we will reach a decision on that soon.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you. Mr. Menendez.
Mr. MENENDEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Secretary Rice, you know I have a great deal of respect for you and your work, but let me ask you, how did we get to a point that the famine in Sudan reached this crisis stage without USAID and the State Department realizing the full gravity of the situation? In other words, I read some of these articles. You know, it seems to me that we have gone for the past two decades with a famine every several years, like clockwork. In fact we can almost foresee what are the difficulties that we will encounter in terms of the necessity for people to be fed.
And there's a quote here in one of these articles that says, ''even the U.S. Government, pledged to prevent such needlessly reoccurring famines, has 'screwed up royally,' admits a senior Clinton Administration official. We are all to blame for this massive failure.''
I just don't understand, and I'm not looking for fault as much as I'm looking to understand process as to how we function in a way that avoids this. I heard your answers to the questions being raised about the propitious opportunity of the ceasefire raising itself to some long-term negotiations that can reach a positive conclusion. How did we get to this stage? What was the failure in our reaction? Because certainly even from your own statement, although you cast it in a positive light, it seems that we responded late in this process and did not foresee what we should have been able to foresee?
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. RICE. It's a fair and important question, and I think it needs to be looked at a little bit in the context of the chronology of what's transpired in Sudan over the last several months.
Going back to last September and October, we in the international community began to receive reports that indicated that there may be food shortages in southern Sudan, but never indicated a famine on the scale that we have begun to see now. And those shortages were predictable and regular shortages in the Sudanese context, a product of drought which is now in its third year, as well as the ongoing civil war.
A couple of things in the beginning part of this year took the international community and the U.S. Government by surprise. The first was that a warlord who had been aligned with the Government of Sudan, Kerubino Bol, switched sides and aligned himself with the opposition elements, and this started a major battle in and around the area of Wau in Bahr-el-Ghazal. Kerubino and his militia undertook a scorched earth policy, just burning indiscriminately villages, crops and people's homes which exacerbated the already very serious conditions under way. The next thing that happened was that the Government of Sudan refused to allow OLS to deliver food to the most affected areas.
Mr. MENENDEZ. That's not unusual.
Ms. RICE. It's not unusual but it came at a very critical time and it persisted for 2 months, and it exacerbated the situation. Moreover, the government and militias that it supported from the north were encouraged to engage in scorched earth policies and raids into parts of southern Sudan that further decimated areas that had long suffered.
The plain fact is that we in the United States and the international community as a whole did not respond quickly or flexibly enough to this whole range of events. I think we've learned some important lessons and we're developing some alternative mechanisms.
Roy Williams, who is out in southern Sudan as we speak, is there to look at what precisely the United States and other donors can do in the future to have more flexible and responsive mechanisms. In addition, the United States has for some time supported relief efforts in southern Sudan, but is doing much more as a result of this recent crisis. We will place a greater share of our resources into non-OLS NGO's, lessening dependence on the Government of Sudan.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MENENDEZ. I hate to interrupt you, but since my time is almost finished, I've got the gist of what your answer is, but we did make mistakes. I hope we learn from our mistakes and don't repeat them. I don't want to go into a lengthy list of things, but I think that despite the flight bans we did not push and create public pressure to try to overcome those flight bans in a manner in which I think that we could have.
But let me ask you this question: I heard your answers to some of the questions that were posed by Mr. Smith. Am I to understand, since peace is the ultimate solution here to the famine questionlet me ask you: Am I to understand your comments basically to say you don't have a reasonable expectation that a ceasefire produces any viable options at the time for negotiations that can lead to a reasonable chance of achieving some long-term agreement? Is that basically what I understood your answer to be?
Ms. RICE. No, let me be clear. We've seen, first of all, the immediate 3-month ceasefire as providing a potentially valuable window of opportunity to enable the international community to maximize the relief to those most in need. When it comes to the longer-term resolution of this crisis, the IGAD process has made some progress in recent months. We think that the ultimate resolution of the conflict will come when and if the Government of Sudan realizes that it has to make some compromises on fundamental issues related to the rights and livelihoods of the people of southern Sudan and the IGAD process has pushed the parties further in that direction.
And while I think it would be naive to believe that the IGAD process will lead to early results, it has made more progress than any other peace initiative, including American-sponsored peace initiatives, over the last 15 years. At this stage we think it is in the international community's best interest to try to lend greater support to that.
If I might just correct the record, Congressman, on one point, the United States was out in front from the very beginning in pushing on the Government of Sudan and on the international community to push the Government of Sudan to lift the strike ban, and I think, in a story where we deserve some credit and some blame, that's one place where I think we deserve a bit of credit.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. ROYCE. Thank you. Mr. Houghton.
Mr. HOUGHTON. Yes, thanks very much, Mr. Chairman,
Madam Secretary, great to see you. I'll give you a puff ball question, none of the mega-stuff.
You've said that there is a current food program that really exceeds even that of the Berlin airlift in Sudan. I wonder whether in the light of the various events that have taken place there, whether you are thinking of rescinding some of the sanctions on just growing crops, you know, foodstuffs, seeds, and things like that, and I'm not sure whether that's been done or not. If you don't have an answer to that, maybe you can just send me a report.
Ms. RICE. I want to be sure I understood you. Did you say, ''extending the sanctions?''
Mr. HOUGHTON. No, lifting the sanctions which you are currently in effect, things like seeds and fertilizers and crop-enhancing products, and things like that.
Ms. RICE. Well, to the extent
Mr. HOUGHTON. The point is to try to kick in the farming rather than giving the food.
Ms. RICE. Our aid that I described, that $78 million this year very much includes seeds and tools and other farming implements, and our sanctions don't prohibit the conveyance of any kind of humanitarian assistance.
Mr. HOUGHTON. So there are no sanctions on products like that?
Ms. RICE. Not on humanitarian assistance, and we would define it in this instance to include that; in fact, we are providing itso, no.
Mr. HOUGHTON. All right good, wonderful; that's answered the question. Thank you very much.
Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Hall.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HALL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just have one question.
Throughout this war, the SPLA and the Government of Sudan have respectively made predictions of decisive victories that each side was going to have, when in fact it really hasn't materialized at all. And in your view and to the best of your knowledge, what is the likelihood of any significant shift in the balance of power or in the military balance of power in the near future?
Ms. RICE. Sir, I'm not a military expert or strategist, but I can reflect back to you what some of those individuals advise us, and that is that in the very short term I don't expect, based on that information, a dramatic shift in the balance of power on the ground. Over the longer term, the situation, frankly, depends a great deal on the ability of the opposition to coalesce and to coordinate its activities and on the ability of the states that have supported the opposition and the neighboring states to coordinate their activities, and that ability remains uncertain.
Mr. HOUGHTON. Well, I'm trying to make the case for seeking a political solution here because we've kind of been in the same situation now for a number of years, and it seems like for 12 years weevery year we face the same problem. It's one side or the other; it's this year the SPLA has maybe gained a little bit of territory and last year maybe it was the other way around, but it just keeps going back and forth. And the same situation keeps occurring and people keep dying. Ninety-nine percent of the people of Sudan, both north and south, they want peace, but the government officials and the non-government officials, both in the south and the north, are not allowing this to happen.
The point that I'm trying to make is that 12 years from nowI won't be here in Congress hopefullybut 12 years from now we could be having the same kind of meeting and I think our policy is just not working, that we need a new policy. And that's why Frank and I have come up with this idea of some kind of national envoy to try to bring peace to the area, to try to bring the sides together.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I just don't feel that the IGAD process is going to work the way it is. I don't think anybody expects peace to come out of that situation. There are even leaders in the area that don't think a lot about the IGAD process, and I just feel it's not going to work.
Ms. RICE. Let me be very plain and assure you that we all would strongly prefer a political solution to the conflict in Sudan, and that's why the United States has for many, many years, both directly and indirectly, sought to promote a political solution. The political solution is going to have to be based on some fundamental principles. In fact, they are principles which both the government and the opposition have agreed to, but when it comes down to the crunch, the Government of Sudan is unwilling to acknowledge that the people of the south deserve the right to determine their own political destiny, and deserve the right to worship freely and without oppression and to have their human rights respected.
And so I'm not sure what kind of political solution we seek that is not faithful to those basic tenants. We surely would encourage in every possible way a political solution that respects those fundamental principles, but without that, I don't know what we gain over the long-term.
Mr. HOUGHTON. Well, I would say that the situation in Bosnia and Ireland were just as difficult, maybe even more difficult, and we've talked to a lot of scoundrels in that situation and nobody thought that peace could ever come about in any of those situations, and in fact they did.
Ms. RICE. Well, talking is one thing and I'm glad you raised that again, sir, because I think it's important for the record that we be clear. We have not stopped talking to the Government of Sudan; we have not closed our embassy in Khartoum. We have an almost continuous presence of diplomats, but they rotate in and out and their number has been drawn down because of a serious security threat that was perceived against our diplomats going back a couple of years ago. We have had, until just a few months ago, an ambassador accredited to Sudan. We now have a chargé we intend to have another Ambassador just as soon as we can get one nominated and confirmed. In the past, our ambassador whether operating from Khartoum or Nairobi always and consistently maintained a dialog with President Bashir, with Torabi and others in the NIF Regime.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And Administration officials have gone through Khartoum on a fairly regular basis. I, myself, accompanied Secretary Albright, when, as she was our ambassador to the United Nations, she went to Khartoum and delivered a very clear message there.
So we have not been out of contact and we don't intend to be, but we're also, I think, trying to remain very clear-minded about what the fundamental issues are and the need for the Government of Sudan to fundamentally change its behavior.
Mr. HALL. Essentially, what we have in Khartoum is basically post-country nationals that are taking care of the buildings that we own and we have approximately two people from Nairobi, Chardze and an administrator, that go to Khartoum about every other week, and I wouldn't say that that was high-level delegation relative to discussing any types of things that you and I are interested in.
Ms. RICE. The numbers are not large, I agree with that. As I said, that has been for security reasons, but the level of representation has been high. The reason we now have only a chargé rather than an ambassador has nothing to do with the political situation; it has to do with the fact that our previous ambassador was appointed Ambassador to Haiti, and in the meantime, we have been waiting on the agreement of the Government of Sudan for us to accredit a new ambassador, so we can nominate that person and have him confirmed as expeditiously as possible by the Senate.
Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Chabot.
Mr. CHABOT. I thank the Chairman.
I had the opportunity to be in Uganda last August, and we met with President Museveni and he seemed to be particularly frustrated with this, their ability to resist this LRA, and the army itself seemed very murky, their origins and their goals, to myself and the other members. I was wondering if you could perhaps expound a little more on how they rose up and what their goals are. They remind me a bit in their brutality of the terrorists groups in Algeria where they just go in and kill indiscriminately, and as you mentioned, the kidnapping of children and then using them in such a brutal manner. It's almost unbelievable the things that we heard there, and I'm just wondering, can you give us a little more on where, what their goals are, what they actually intend to accomplish, if there's an answer to that?
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. RICE. Well, as I tried to say earlier, unfortunately, they don't have a clear-cut political agenda that they or anybody else can articulate or understand. This is a sort of bizarre rump organization that emerged from the remnants of Idi Amin's army. They seem to hold up little more than the 10 Commandments as their alleged guiding principles, but in practice their behavior has anything but to do with the 10 Commandments. They have no political manifesto; they seem to have no clear-cut ambition to govern the country. They simply terrorize people, and it's for that reason that they're so very difficult to come to grips with and to do deal with politically or militarily.
Mr. CHABOT. Do we have any idea how many followers they have, either military-type personnel or hangers-on? Are we talking 20,000 or more than that, or less?
Ms. RICE. I can't give you precise numbers. I can certainly get back to you with that, but the actual fighting forces are relatively small and I think measured in the low thousands. But the fact is that they regularly kidnap young people and press them into service, and so it's hard to quantify exactly the numbers on their side.
[The information from Ms. Rice was supplied following the hearing.]
Estimates of LRA fighters vary widely, partly because the LRA has abducted so many civilians. The LRA captors force abductees to fight alongside the LRA, making it difficult to distinguish which of the ''fighters'' are abductees and which are LRA. The hit-and-run guerrilla LRA fighting tactics and the terrain over which they operate also complicate the ability to accurately enumerate the LRA forces. Although imprecise, we estimate there are some 5,000 LRA fighters.
Mr. CHABOT. OK, but you do think they're acting, is it fair to say that they are acting in concert to some extent with some elements of Sudan's Government or are they completely independent?
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. RICE. Yes, they're absolutely acting in concert with the Government of Sudan. They're being directly supported by the Government of Sudan (GOS). The GOS is providing the LRA safe haven military resources, food and other support. So, it is yet another example of GOS efforts to destabilize neighboring states and abuse the human rights of its own and other people's citizens.
Mr. CHABOT. OK, thank you.
Mr. ROYCE. Mr. Payne.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much. I'll be brief, which is not normally the way I am, but I know you've been here for a long time, and I was caught in having an amendment introduced at a committee across the hall and you have to be there when your amendment's there. They tried to pull it while I came over here, so I had to go back. So I really will read your full text, and would simply like to say that, once again, we appreciate the work that you've been doing.
As I indicated earlier, I think that it's difficult to compare this to Northern Ireland, Bosnia, and all the rest. I do think that there has been a Government in Sudan which has been a pariah government for many years. It's been where terrorists have been harbored; it's been a place that has destabilized the entire horn. It's been a government that has reaped havoc and despair and death on its people, and at the point where the government is finally weakened, I think that it would be wrong for us, in my opinionthere are people that are talking to the IGAD group, led by President Moi, have constant discussions with SPLA and the Government of Khartoum. I think that for us to open up embassies, to send diplomats there to talk to this governmentI dislike seeing armed conflict.
It appears, though, about this time, for the first time in many, many years, there could possibly be an end to the conflict by a victory in the SPLA, and I think that at this time to change our diplomatic position, to give a false impression to the Government of Khartoum, would be wrong.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And, like I said, I have some questions, but I'll present them to you in writing. Thank you.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you, Mr. Payne. I think we have one last question.
Mr. SMITH. Just one additional question. I thank you, Chairman.
Mr. ROYCE. Chairman Smith, proceed.
Mr. SMITH. Ambassador, the U.S. Committee for Refugees makes a very good point about the need for using surplus cargo planes, C130's. According to press accounts and according to an Air Force study in 1996, there are approximately 50 that are surplus. Has the Administration looked into ways that some or several of those planes might be loaned to the Operation Lifeline or in some other way utilized in this effort to mitigate this disaster?
Ms. RICE. Sir, we're aware of those suggestions and proposals. One of the things that Roy Williams from OFDA will explore in his discussions with the government in Khartoum is whether the government is prepared to grant permission for military aircraft, as opposed to civilian aircraft, to participate in this relief operation. That would be the prerequisite for the use of any military aircraft, our own or anybody else's.
Mr. SMITH. But if it's still civilian and military is precluded, could an arrangement be made to loan some of those C130's so that the refugee and the humanitarian organizations, the NGO's, the OLS can use them?
Ms. RICE. Loan U.S. Government aircraft to who?
Mr. SMITH. Aircraft, yes. To the United Nations, to the whole operation in Sudan, those who are trying to help. I mean, that obviously requires pilots, but World Food Program and others can, I'm sure, find pilots to fly them.
Ms. RICE. The issue as I understand it, is that the Government of Sudan consistently has said that it would not allow aircraft, whether donated, leased, or otherwise provided by government militaries, to participate in this relief operation. So one of the constraints that OLS has faced is that it has to hire commercially available aircraft on the open market to participate in this operation. And I think I've been told that only some 30 such aircraft are available worldwide. And so it's a political issue. If you would like more detail on this, my colleague from the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance is behind me and able to go into more detail.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SMITH. For the sake of the record, I would ask. I'll talk to him after the hearing to get that. Just one final question, is there sufficient airlift now or is there a deficit?
Ms. RICE. Depends on your definition of ''sufficient.'' Right now
Mr. SMITH. Does it measure up to the humanitarian commodities that are available and the need? Are there sufficient aircraft that could be deployed right now if the government permits it?
Ms. RICE. My understanding is right now there are 10 heavy lift aircraft available. We expect over the next several days that that number will go up to 13. With that number, it is our understanding that by August those aircraft will be able to deliver the 15,000 metric tons of food that are estimated to be required to meet the needs of the population that is most desperate. Having said that, there is a problem. The problem is you can fly in the quantity required, but that does not necessarily guarantee that all those on the ground who need it once it is air dropped actually get it. So there's a two-pronged challenge here: the quantities we hope and think, if the estimates that we're getting from OLS and others in the international community are accurate, can be provided and can even be dropped. It's a question then of distribution on the ground. But again, we can provide further detail, if that would be helpful.
Mr. SMITH. That would be helpful, if you would. Please introduce her.
Ms. RICE. Valerie Newsome Guarnieri from the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.
Ms. GUARNIERI. You'll get further detail from the World Food Program when they speak, but, basically, there are these 10 aircraft, heavy-lift aircraft, that are operating right now, are coming fairly close to the target. In July there is an estimate of about 10,800 metric tons of food will be able to move to the target areas. There is a need to get up to this 15,000-metric-ton level and there is a need for these additional aircraft to be onboard in order to reach that target. And as the Assistant Secretary pointed out, it does seem that those aircraft will be onboard shortly and will then be able to reach the target.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The issue of distribution is one that's critical. There is a team that is under the direction of OLS that is doing an assessment beginning this weekend, to look at how the food is targeted once it reaches the ground. We're trying to ensure that all food aid reaches the most vulnerable groups and at this point where we're not sure that that is actually happening.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you.
Mr. ROYCE. Thank you. Well, that concludes our first panel and I want to thank Secretary Rice for testifying here today. We will now go to our second panel and we'll take a few minutes interim before our second panel. Let me mention that Subcommittee Chairman Chris Smith of the International Operations for Human Rights will be chairing the second panel. Thank you.
Mr. SMITH. [presiding] Let me introduce our next panel of witnesses: Carol Bellamy has been the executive director of the U.N. Children's Fund since May 1995. In her career before joining UNICEF, Ms. Bellamy had served as the director of the U.S. Peace Corps, the president of the New York City Council, and a member of the New York State Senate.
Catherine Bertini has been the executive director of the U.N. World Food Programme for the past 6 years. Prior to joining WFP, Ms. Bertini served as the Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Food and Consumer Services as well as the Acting Assistant Secretary of the Family Support Administration at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Jemera Rone is counsel to Human Rights Watch for the past 5 years. Her research has focused on Sudan. Previously she opened the first Human Rights Watch field office in El Salvador where she remained for 5 years. She has investigated rules-of-war abuses in numerous countries including Afghanistan, Angola, Uganda, Croatia, and Serbia.
Dan Eiffe is liaison officer for the Norwegian Peoples Aid. Mr. Eiffe lived in southern Sudan for several years where he helped provide humanitarian relief to thousands of internally displaced people. In his current position he serves as liaison in Nairobi between the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), the media, and NGO's.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And finally, Sister Marie Rose Atuu is a nun of the Little Sisters of Mary Immaculate of Gulu. As a teacher of the Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School in Gulu, northern Uganda, Sister Atuu personally witnessed the atrocities committed against the children of that region by the so-called Lord's Resistance Army.
Ms. Bellamy, if you could begin and thank you for testifying today.
STATEMENT OF CAROL BELLAMY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UNITED NATIONAL CHILDREN'S FUND
Ms. BELLAMY. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Chairman Smith, Chairman Royce. Let me begin by thanking you very much for inviting UNICEF to appear before these committees to comment on the emergency in Sudan and also the situation in northern Uganda. I'm particularly pleased to be here with my colleague, Catherine Bertini, from the World Food Programme with whom we work very closely, and indeed Jemera Rone with whom I practiced law many, many years ago. I hate to think about how long ago it was. I also very much appreciate the leadership of Representatives Tony Hall and Frank Wolf, both of whom I know have devoted considerable attention to Sudan for more than a decade.
And so, as has already been reflected today, southern Sudan is facing its most severe humanitarian crisis since the 1989 famine that killed an estimated quarter million people. Today it is estimated that some 1.2 million people in the south alone are in need of urgent assistance, and that's primarily in the Bahr-el-Ghazal region. UNICEF is, as has been commented on, the lead agency in southern Sudan coordinating the humanitarian relief effort known as Operation Lifeline Sudan or OLS as it is called.
I won't go into detail because it's already been reflected, other than to mention that OLS is a coalition of U.N. agencies, UNICEF and the World Food Programme, along with 38 non-governmental organizations. It was set up about 10 years ago in 1989 to ensure unified international response to people in need on all sides of the conflict in Sudan. Among some of the NGO partners working at OLS are World Vision International, CARE, Save the Children, Doctors Without Borders, Catholic Relief Services, just to name a few.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC OLS operates both in the northern part of the country controlled by the Sudanese Government as well as those parts of southern Sudan which are under the control of Southern People's Liberation Movement, SPLM. OLS is the largest humanitarian relief operation now underway anywhere in the world, and you'll hear from World Food Programme, they're engaged now in their largest food drop ever. And over the last decade, OLS I believe can be credited with saving tens of thousands of lives. Indeed, the fact that thus far there have been no major outbreaks of cholera, measles, or polio in Sudan in recent years is, I believe, a tribute to the work of all the partners in OLS, particularly those working to deliver vaccinations.
Despite its obvious contributions to reducing suffering, however, OLS continues to be subject to a number of constraints and difficulties, as has been reflected in the comments already today. Sudan is the largest country in Africa; it's three-and-a-half times the size of Texas. It has been embroiled in a protracted civil war since 1983. In addition to the main warring parties, the government and the SPLM, there are several other military groups with a political agenda as well as access to arms and ammunition. No small part of the challenge facing the OLS has been the difficulty of running a huge humanitarian effort that depends on maintaining a working relationship with all the participating factions, and I would emphasize thatwith all the participating factionsin this civil war.
More than a million Sudanese have died as a direct result of the 15-year conflict and some 2 million people have been displaced, and that's one of the challenges we face today. A longstanding drought the last 3 years particularly has been difficult, has made the present situation increasingly desperate. Without exaggeration, the social, economic, and political infrastructure in southern Sudan has been devastated.
As a result of the current temporary ceasefire declared on the 15th of July by the government in Khartoum and by the SPLM, OLS began expanding the number of its food distribution centers in the Bahr-el-Ghazal area, and we expect to almost double the number of centers to reach about 48. We, ourselves, are assuming responsibility for 10 of these centers.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We continue to monitor malnutrition among children. A recent UNICEF survey indicates that malnutrition among children under 5 in this area is now standing over 50 percent.
The current ceasefire was welcomed by international aid agencies as an opportunity to save thousands of lives through a broadening and expansion of the relief effort. Following the recent visit to Sudan by Martin Griffiths, Deputy to the United Nations, Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, to assess issues related to an accelerated relief operation, I visited Sudan last week. The purpose of my visit was to meet with the leaders of both the government and the SPLM and to see firsthand the magnitude of the crisis. I also wanted my visit to raise international awareness of conditions in Sudan that have been, until recently, ignored once again.
In the government-held town of Wau, where thousands of people have arrived in search of food, I visited a health center and a reception point where people who have barely survived for months on a staple of leaves and wild fruit were waiting to be admitted into the relief program. I must say, the number of newly dug gravesand one can tell about how many are children by virtue of the size of those graveswas quite shocking.
The following day I visited the SPLM-controlled village of Panthou. I saw relief workers ministering supplementary and therapeutic food to young children. Again, as I would follow on Congressman Hall's comments, the suffering I witnessed in these famine-stricken areas was horrific.
In Khartoum I met with the President, with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the State Minister for Social Planning and Assistant President, Riek Machar who, as you are aware, had been allied with the rebel forces, but now is part of the government. A couple of days later in Nairobi I met with representatives of the SPLM.
To all parties, I stressed the temporal and the geographic limitations of the ceasefire. The present ceasefire applies only to the Bahr-el-Ghazal region and its duration is only 3 months. I also stressed that OLS will do everything possible to respond adequately to the needs of the Sudanese people, but it is important to be realistic.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In agreeing to a ceasefire, the government and the SPLM need to take responsibility for ensuring not only that there isn't fighting between them, but that the non-regulated parties on both sides of the conflict observe the agreement. Also the corridors, the rail, the barge, the road corridors, which have been designated under the ceasefire agreement to allow OLS to bring in food and essential supplies, must remain open and safe. They must provide passage for relief workers.
Unfortunately, as the rainy season has now set in, roads are often not passable. The water corridors for barges are all too often in need of dredging and the rail lines are often not operational due to past military disruption. The challenge is enormous.
Clearly, though, as has been said again today, the humanitarian effort is no substitute for a political settlement that guarantees the rights of all Sudanese to live in peace, and I would strongly urge the recognition of the fact that even if it is only a small opportunity, this ceasefire presents an opportunity to try and pursue a peace agenda.
OLS is now over 10 years old. It is a complicated operation both in logistical and political terms. It is also expensive due to the constraints that I have noted. At times over the past decade and as a consequence of the lack of political will to resolve the long-running conflict that has created the humanitarian emergency, the donor community has experienced fatigue in terms of continued financial support to OLS. For example, in 1997, the donor community contributed only 40 percent of the total requirements published in the United Nations, the combined consolidated appeal by the U.N. agencies.
In 1998, despite a slow start, I am pleased to report that UNICEF and its OLS partners have received a significantly higher level of support from the international community, including the public, and that the overall level of funding for both northern and southern Sudan combined is now 62 percent of the consolidated appeal for Sudan.
It is also gratifying to note that the U.S. Government is the largest donor to UNICEF's operations in Sudan, contributing over $5 million of almost $25 million received to date. The governments of Sweden, Norway and Canada, to name a few, also have made major contributions.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC No doubt, this level of support from both governments and the publicbecause we receive support from the public as wellis due in large part to the tragic footage we've all seen in recent months on television and in newspapers. It is a humanitarian response to acute suffering on a massive scale. However, it also signals that governments and individuals continue to care about the people of Sudan and can be rallied to assist in finding a lasting peace.
As I have noted, we must act quickly as this tenuous ceasefire is now in effect, but it could end at any time. I can't stress strongly enough that donor governments should seize the moment to promote a political solution.
Mr. Chairman, you've also asked about the crisis in northern Uganda which involves among the world's most disturbing and flagrant abuses of the rights of children: their abduction, their torture, rape, and murder at the hands of a rebel faction. I know, particularly, Congressman Payne is deeply concerned about this issue. The rebel faction in question based in northern Uganda, and ironically called the Lord's Resistance Army, is comprised in large part of abducted children, sometimes as young as 11 years old. They've been tortured; they've been indoctrinated with brutal initiation rights to engage and kill Ugandan Government soldiers.
We estimate that somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 children have been kidnapped and removed from their communities, schools, and homes in Gulu, Kitgum, and other districts in northern Uganda. In one case, 139 girls were abducted from a school run by nuns. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have also reported these horrifying allegations and you're going to hear from them later. These children have graphically described the brutality they've suffered as foot soldiers, sexual slaves and porters to LRA members.
We at UNICEF support a rehabilitation center in Uganda operated by World Vision that has provided both physical and psychological health assistance to children who manage to escape the LRA. In recent months we have worked with the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) to secure the repatriation to Uganda of approximately a dozen children who had found refuge in Juba in southern Sudan that had come to the attention of our local staff. While approximately one-half of all such abducted children eventually manage to find their way home, as you might expect, there are irreversible scars both physical and psychological.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, the international community must speak loudly and clearly and with one voice on this matter and demand the immediate release of all children held by the LRA. Your firm resolve on this issue will make a critically important difference.
Finally, thank you very much for giving us this opportunity to speak both on Sudan and on northern Uganda.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Bellamy appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. Ms. Bellamy, thank you very much for your excellent testimony and for the outstanding work that UNICEF does, not just in Sudan, but all around the world, but particularly for today, thank you for what you've done. And we'll have some questions, but let me ask Ms. Bertini if she would now proceed.
STATEMENT OF CATHERINE A. BERTINI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME
Ms. BERTINI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for this opportunity to participate in the briefing and talk about Sudan. In particular, I would like to summarize my remarks that have been submitted to the Committee and also we are submitting a description of our work in Uganda as well.
I, too, am pleased to be here with my colleague, Carol Bellamy; as you can see, we do much work together. And I'd also like to introduce to you, Mr. Tun Myai, who is the World Food Programme Director of Resources and External Relations who joins me and has been also our director of transport, was in Mr. Griffith's recent mission to Sudan, and also can provide additional information to the Committee or to staff members afterward.
Mr. Chairman, also before I begin, I want to give my condolences to you and all Members for the loss of two Members of your House family. The tragic murder last week, my condolences for their deaths but also, unfortunately, they are two examples of all too many people who are striving to protect all of us, and in the case of our work in Sudan to feed hungry people but who are faced with people who find it important for some strange reason to end their lives.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Just recently in Sudan, three staff members, two of the World Food Programme and one of Red Crescent, were killed. They were driving in World Food Programme-marked vehicles. They were attacked by gunmen, shot, and killed.
And just last week in Burundi we had another death of a staff member shot and killed in Burundi, in fact I'm just come to join you for today because I'm going to return to Rome to attend the latter person's funeral, Mr. Ricciardi.
I start with this because I think it's important to highlight not only the tragedies of their deaths, and I would ask, Mr. Chairman, also if we could send the names of these WFP-murdered staff members to be included in the record. Thank you.
Mr. SMITH. Without objection if you could put some background about them into the record. Again, our condolences to you.
Ms. BERTINI. Thank you.
[The report appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. You know, to kill humanitarian workers is obscene, to the highest degree. So our condolences to your organizations and to all of you who put your lives on the line.
Ms. BERTINI. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you. We will. And I raised this issue initially because it is a critically important issue for all of us; it affects our ability to operate throughout the world.
People continue to persevere. The Secretary General in fact has said that he is announcing a complete review of U.N. Security. In fact, there have been more civilians than soldiers killed on U.N. missions around the world this year.
This, of course, these deaths are a tragedy, but there is also the tragedy of the deaths of thousands of people in Sudan who just do not have enough food. As has been discussed, there is the combined issue of war and of drought which is affecting this, the people in the country, complicated by inaccessibility and by limited or no infrastructure. This year, 1998, is probably one of about the three worst years in the last 15 years since the fighting has been going on, and as Ms. Bellamy mentioned, OLS was created in an attempt to help feed people and provide other emergency assistance.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Just to give you some understanding of the difference between last year and this year or years that aren't crisis years and this year, last year for 1997 we sent about 32,000 tons of food to southern Sudan. This year we're talking about, for the south, over 10,000 tons per month during this time between now and October. As it was pointed out to you, there was a report, in fact, by the WFP and the FAO in September which said that this problem was going to be worse this year; the harvest was not good; the drought is going to be even more difficult next year, and the intensified fighting particularly is adding to this problem. The flights were then banned, as was mentioned, in February and March.
But I should add, though, that when I think Congressman Menendez was asking something about this, I looked up in my notesthat OLS had warned of this crisis and a worsening crisis four times during February to the international community, and saying there is a great need for assistance.
Also, what happens in these cases always when we have slow-downs or other problems, vis-a-vis the government in terms of getting proper approvals, our people, the OLS people are immediately in talking to the government, trying to make them understand the need for us to continue to fly as well as talking to the SPLA because, in fact, this is a tri-partite agreement, and done that way on purpose to provide safety and security for these aircraft as well as the individuals who are going in to provide this very needed service.
The ban, however, was, as the Assistant Secretary said, very, very damaging. It was damaging for many reasons. First and foremost, because people weren't receiving food; second, because our workers were not there; they were not able not only to bring the food, but to assess the grave worsening conditions of many of the people.
Third, because as the drought worsened, so did the people's ability to cope as they moved more of their animals for instance and consume more of their animals.
And then donors, of course, were not interested in making big commitments at that time if they knew we were having serious problems getting food in. We did, however, try to expand at that time some of our other delivery methods and we were able to send, for instance, truck convoys in February, the first trucks that had arrived in some time, so that we could provide some assistance via road. I'll come back to that point in a minute.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The continued negotiations, of course, over the months of February and March did result in new access, and so by mid-April there were three planes operating there, many more in May and June and now in July. We, of course, raised our need estimates only slightly in terms of the numbers of people who were affected, but raised the need level very much for the amount of food that was necessary because the people were in much more grave conditions and because they have less and less to fall back on from their own harvest.
The ceasefire now is extremely important and I want to emphasize Ms. Bellamy's remarks about that. It provides a terrific opportunity for additional action, and I will return to that topic.
To give you some idea about what is moving into the country now in terms of some of the questions that have been asked, we have, first of all, trucks and of course in any emergency situation, we would prefer to use trucks as the vehicle that is least expensive and usually most reliable. There are only six kilometers of paved roads in all of southern Sudan. That's about the distance between here and Arlington. So the trucks have to go on extremely difficult terrain; also, bridges that are needed are often bombed out during the warring process. So we're hoping that when we rebuild them now during the ceasefire, we will be able to have access throughout as a result of this. Trucks right now can get in about 1,000 tons per month. We are hopeful that we would be able to increase that amount if we are able to put some significant moneyand we've asked the United States for some assistance hereinto infrastructure rehabilitation. Also, we've asked for funds for a truck fleet, so that we can have a fleet of about 40 trucks who we can rely on to be able to come in and out of Sudan.
One other problem with the trucks is, when it rains a lot, then the trucks cannot pass on these muddy unpaved, difficult roads. However, when it rains a lot, a second way that we can use to get food into the country is by barge because, when it rains enough, then the barge on the Nile is useful. There is a barge right now on the Nile and it has 2,100 tons; that's the normal amount for any barge. We are negotiating to try to have two additional barges to be able to use to send food by river during the high-water times.
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The air is, as was mentioned, the primary way of providing food now. We have actually 12 airplanes flying today. One more will be beginning tomorrow, and these planes now we have negotiated are not only flying out of Lokichoggio, which Congressman Hall mentioned, Lokichoggiohe's seen that operation there; it's a big operation, a very good humanitarian air base operationbut we've also negotiated that the flying will not only be out of Lokichoggio in Kenya, but also out of Nairobi, and the flights begin from Nairobi out of El Obeid in Sudan and out of Khartoum. Flights have begun from all four of those bases now, which will greatly enhance our ability to be able to get food into the country.
There will be, therefore, a total of 14 planes ultimately flying, and 3 of those planes will be the smaller buffalo planes and 11 will be the large planes, either the Hercules, or otherwise known as C130's or Illusions. These are also planes that are doing air drops, as was mentioned.
You know, airlifting is the way when we move food in and airlift it and then land it at an airport and then offload it and distribute it. Air dropping can be only used when you can't even come to the air strips and this is an air-drop operation. It is the largest, as Ms. Bellamy mentioned, largest in the world, largest anyone has ever undertaken. Large means it costs a lot of money. This costs $1 million a day and it is a very significant operation and program.
Food, more food is certainly welcome. We welcome very much Assistant Secretary's announcement that there would be 100,000 more tons directed to Sudan from the U.S. Government. Additional requests we have made are for corn soya, a blend for fortified dried skim milk for high protein biscuits, so that people who are in very severe nutritional state can have food that will be even more helpful to them, and we're hoping that donors would even fly that directly to our bases and that then we can fly that food in.
We also applaud the Administration's statement that there will be much more food purchased from U.S. farmers in order to distribute in this country and elsewhere.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I want to also underline the earlier comments about the need for a political solution made by Mr. Hall, Mr. Wolf, Ms. Bellamy. So much is necessary in order to help people live. What we need over the short-term, however, is, first of all, an extension to the ceasefire, so that we can continue to expand our operations in a major way to reach thousands of people.
Second, we need a promise fulfilled from the government, and we've been working with them, in order to have access to all areas of the country, and also to have an investigation on the murders that I mentioned to you.
And third, we're also working with the SPLA, OLS is, on this issue on the tax on food. You know, a man with a gun is always well fed, and it is something that humanitarian workers have to deal with all the time, but our purpose is not to feed the men with guns; our purpose is to feed the vulnerable people who desperately need food. And, of course, what the people of Sudan need most of all is peace and a political commitment we believe can win this war, but a humanitarian commitment can only keep people alive. And that is, in fact, what we havea very, very strong humanitarian commitment.
We need a very, very strong commitment for peace. One million dollars a day is providing a very expensive bandaid for this problem. Wouldn't it be nice if we could invest generously in a cure for the problem? After all, a hungry Sudanese mother, too weak to nurse her dying baby, doesn't care why the food isn't there, doesn't care who's at fault. She just wants it all to end. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Bertini appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. Ms. Bertini, thank you for your excellent testimony and for the good work that the World Food Programme does each and every day, not just in Sudan but elsewhere.
I would like to ask Ms. Rone if she could make her presentation.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF JEMERA RONE, SUDAN RESEARCHER, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Ms. RONE. Thank you. I'm Jemera Rone. I represent Human Rights Watch, and I've been to southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains in central Sudan twice in the last year. I would have gone to government-controlled territory, but the Sudan Government doesn't see fit to give me a visa.
On the famine particularly, we've been very concerned because the way the war is being waged is in complete violation of human rights, and these human rights violations are what has caused the famine, with a little help from a 2-year drought. But for the continual marauding in the famine-stricken areas of Bahr-el-Ghazal by government militia, both the horseback militia that have already been mentioned and the warlords of Kerubino, the people in Bahr-el-Ghazal would not have been stretched to the limit that they were, so that they became very vulnerable when the drought struck.
These are some of the immediate causes of the famine, and the fact is that up until the ceasefire on July 15th, this raiding went on and continued, so that people who had endured battering by the militias during the past few years were continually battered and displaced up until recently.
When I was in Bahr-el-Ghazal, I got a glimpse of how that affects the civilian population. They were lined up around a feeding center, and one woman was telling me that she has five children abducted by the raiders into slavery and she has four children left. But what was really hard for her now was not the abductions, although she would like to have her children back; what was really hard was the hunger and that was the most immediate and pressing problem.
A few minutes later, as I was interviewing an elder, all of a sudden everybody got up and ran. I didn't know what was going on, and they were pulling me by my elbows saying, ''Come on, come on;'' I was saying, ''Where's my water bottle? Where's my camera?'' And it turned out it was nothing, but somebody heard something and they thought they were about to be raided and their responses were so quick to that. It really showed me how much fear that they live in and how on the edge they are, how really hard it is for people who are under this kind of pressure to settle down to farm, to do the necessary scrounging for food, if it's there.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So the ceasefire, if it's enforced, will greatly improve things in that manner, but we still have human rights problems going on. We regard human rights abuses as including looting, taking food by force from the civilian population. We've had a lot of reports of this. The government has many ways in which they do this, forcibly taking of food from the civilian population. Unfortunately, the rebel SPLA also has a track record and a history of looting; sometimes it's not by force, sometimes it's called taxation, but, frankly, as Ms. Bertini pointed out, the ones with the guns do always eat first and you don't really see any hungry soldiers.
I know that there is an undertaking now obtained under the OLS that's specifically looking into how they can combat and remedy this, and we very strongly support this. It's very important for the donor governments also to support efforts that are made to prevent looting and diversion of food.
One thing that can be done is to add more food monitors. There may be other ways to protect the people on the ground, to protect their right to this food, because if it is delivered to them and they can't keep it, then it's not going to do them very much good.
One of the worrying things we have seen in the past few weeks has been the influx of people from the famine area into some of the government garrison towns. Wau has receivedthe numbers vary of course, all these numbers are very iffybetween 47,000 or 56,000 or 65,000 Dinka from the famine area. For those people to go into Wau is like going into the lion's den because they all left Wau en masse in January after fighting there because they were very afraid of government retaliation.
We also have reports that there was government retaliation against the few Dinka that remained in the town after the fighting. So for those outside to go back in means that they really are not getting enough food in the areas where they are. Part of that I've heard is due to SPLA taking food from them and part is also due to the fact that the famine has snowballed so fast that it's very difficult to control. Even with all the good effort and the good work of World Food Programme and OLS and UNICEF, they still are running uphill, to mixing metaphors, trying to do the best they can but the numbers of hungry people are just astounding.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It's not only in Bahr-el-Ghazal, of course. I want to draw the Committee's attention to one particular area where the Sudan Government has consistently refused all access and that is to the rebel-held areas of the Nuba Mountains. There may be 300,000 maybe 500,000 people who live there in SPLA-controlled areas. The Government of Sudan has never ever agreed to have any international assistance or humanitarian assistance or anything go into that area. They have totally blockaded it. They've also cut it off from all commerce, so the Nubas can't even get a few things like salt and sugar and used clothes from the traders that they used to deal with. The government is very good at agreeing and then reneging and wiggling out of its promises and they've done this here. Recently, they told Kofi Annan on May 20, this year, that, yes, they would permit the United Nations to conduct a food assessment mission into this area. And one thing led to another, and they argued over the composition of the team and where it would leave from, and that was all agreed to, and then they found another excuse not to permit the mission. So it's off indefinitely.
In this area, donor governments can help quite a lot by pressuring and keeping up the pressure on various agencies that work on this, and also not letting it drop through the cracks. The Nuba Mountains is an area that has tens of thousands of people at risk and there's a drought there too. And they have been raided and looted and burned by the government as part of its strategy, and this situation could cascade into something much worse unless there is access.
There had been a question about the Sudan Government's support for the LRA. We've actually gone to a lot of work by talking to the children who've been abducted, and to also some of the older persons who were taken, conscripted by the LRA and escaped, and we found there is clear evidence that the abductees were in Sudan; they were with the Sudan Government soldiers. The Sudan Government garrison was never too far from the LRA camps. The Arabs, as they called them, came and gave them food and weapons, and there was an enormous amount of collaboration.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In addition, many of these LRA abductees said that they participated in operations with the Sudan Government against the SPLA in southern Sudan. So in that way the two conflicts are really complicating each other, making things a lot worse for the civilians living in both areas.
The stories of the children who've been abducted by the LRA are truly appalling, and this particular rebel group is probably going to win the prize for the worst and most abusive rebel group in the world, and that's not a very easy attainment since there are so many that are abusive.
There are things that the Sudan Government has asked for; I think we should be very careful with some things they're asking for. One thing I think has probably been discarded by wiser people and at World Food Programme, is use of the train to carry relief into Wau. This train is the only train line going into the south and it's been used for years solely for military purposes. They could have carried relief on it before, but they didn't. And this train is a very evil instrument in the war in Sudan; it transports troops; it also transports the tribal raiders and it takes their horses on the train and they stop and maraud along the way and abduct children and burn and loot cattle, and then they put the cattle in the train and take them on to market. To think that the government has asked that the sanctions be lifted insofar as it would permit them to buy the spare parts needed for this train in the USAto think that we might permit that is just appalling to me. There should be another way to deliver food.
I think it would be wonderful to have a train that was solely dedicated to relief and had U.N. food monitors on it to assure that the SPLA did not attack it or mine the tracks or anything like that, and to make sure that the food was actually going where it was intended.
I think I'll stop now, but thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Rone appears in the appendix.]
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SMITH. Ms. Rone, thank you very much and, without objection, your full statement and everyone's full statement will be made a part of the record.
STATEMENT OF DANIEL EIFFE, LIAISON OFFICER, NORWEGIAN PEOPLE'S AID
Mr. EIFFE. Yes, thank you very much. My name is Daniel Eiffe. I'm the liaison officer of an international organization called Norwegian People's Aid. I spent the last 22 years in Africa as a Catholic priest, for 10 years in South Africa during the worst years of apartheid, and for the past 11 years I've been in southern Sudan.
I have a unique experience in southern Sudan, having lived actually in the field for 10 years. I've seen what's to be seen in Sudan; I've seen terrible, terrible things in Sudan. I've been there for massacres, for the famines of 1988 when 300,000 people died. I know the politics and I know the SPLM/SPLA Liberation Movement inside out and upside down. I know the individuals involved; I know the government, and I've seen it all. I've been an analyst as well, not just an emotion or humanitarian analyst, but a political analystthe Catholic church has invested in me in extensive studies on the politics of Africa and I've got very strong views about southern Sudan.
This is a genuine struggle of the people of southern Sudan for liberation, for the human dignity. My organization is a non-neutral organization, Norwegian People's Aid; it is unique. We operate independently of the U.N. OLS; we operate in defiance of the Government of Sudan. We are a value-based organization which works not just for relief, although we are the largest humanitarian NGO in southern Sudanthe values of democracy, human dignity, freedom and justice, these are our values. We work in solidarity, and these values are totally denied from the people of southern Sudan. It is hell.
I saw apartheid for 10 years as a priest and was detained even in South Africa. South Africa in its worst years is a tea party in comparison with the suffering of the people of southern Sudan. What is this all about? What is going on here? There is one line in this whole war: When you talk about Uganda's LRA, or the West Nile Bank Front which is the Ugandan rebel movement on the other side of the Nile, the West Bank, when you talk about food as a weapon of war, when you talk about Arab raiders, or when you talk about the United Nations being manipulated and denied access with food, there are all the weapons of the Sudan Government. It was the weapon of genocide, of ethnic cleansing on the southern Sudanese people. The bottom line for this Government of Sudan as it came to power: It wants the land of southern Sudan; it wants the land, but not the people; it wants the resources. Everything amounts to that.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I know what the LRA has been doing in northern Uganda. I worked in the border areas of Uganda and Sudan for 4 years. You could forget about doing anything with the Ugandan Army because the LRA bases are inside Sudan in Torit and in Juba.
This week the SPLA encountered Joseph Kony (leader of the LRA) and nearly captured him. The LRA operate from Sudan. It is impossible for the Ugandan Army to be expected to go in to another country's territory and chase these rebels. Until we solve the Sudan problem, you cannot solve the Ugandan problem because that's where the LRA bases are. These rebels are financed; they're supported. Last year the SPLA captured over 1,000 of them in March. I talked with them; they're acting together with the Sudan Government. I talked to them in the cells; how people treated them is in my statement. They're working together with the Sudan Government; they're one of the same. The Sudan Government uses them in the south and in the north it uses the Muncken raiders. I was there too, just before Jemera came in.
Mr. Kofi Annan, the U.N. Secretary General, praised the Government of Sudan for the good gesture of allowing relief into Sudan after having denied it for 2 months. At the same time that the food was on the ground, the government-based raiders came in on horseback, something you would think from the Middle Ages, thousands of men on horseback and massacred people.
I myself tried to help out some of those victims, those children who were shot, women who were abducted as sex slaves and young people; they kill the men. Story after story I could account for you. It is the same. It makes us break down. Your reaction is one of anger.
There were a number of World Food Programme people nearly killed there. There was World Food Programme food in a village beside Turalay, and the Sudan Government-based raiders took nine bodies of the people and killed them on top of the food to contaminate the food. These killers were what the government calls ''Popular Defense Forces''. They're not very popular, I can tell you, but that's what they do. It is genocide, and they use food, they use peace talks, they use ceasefires as a weapon in this war.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In 1994, ex-President James Carter was in Nairobi when the Government of Sudan declared a ceasefire on a Friday in June. At that very moment I was inside Sudan living in Nimule with four Sudan Government planes bombing the hell out of us and artillery coming down on us. I had to run for my bunker to the radio to tell the press, ''There's no ceasefire here.'' This Sudan Government is a government of deception and it uses every thing possible to do this. Even the current ceasefire, it's a joke. It's taking place in the middle of a swamp. Right now we have to pull our land cruisers out of the swamps because we as relief workers can't operate in that area. The only defense the people in the northern area of counties of Abyei and Twig Counties have is the rains, because the horses and the armored cars cannot move in the rains, and that's why the Sudan Government gave us a 3-month ceasefire. What happens after the 3 months?
Again, the oil is only 75 miles away, the rich oil of Bientul from where those massacres took place. And the raiders told the people that, you can forget about your land, you can forget about your children; they belong to us; your women come and serve us and your men we will kill. That's what the women told us who were abducted.
The problem in Sudan is not just the dead; it is those who are alive today, the 4 million, 5 million who are living outside their homes, and they're the living dead. The humiliation, the slavery, the dignity has been taken totally away from them. They are naked. They don't have clothes; they don't have food; they don't have medical services, and they don't know where to go.
As Jim Malone says, they're fleeing back into a government garrison town, and that is a desperate act because, once they're in there, they're trapped again in the town of Wau, where they will not be able to cultivate again and they use food. They will tell the World Food Programme: We need food in Wau because having a military garrison without a constituency is not very good for the visitors who go there. If a Congressman goes there and he sees a military garrison but no civilians, he's not convinced. So they use food in the towns to bring the people in. When the plane hit those towns at the end of January, 100,000 people fled out of those towns.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We need to heap up the pressure on the Government of Sudan. It is working. They're coming to the peace table. But there is one thing that's missing today in all the analysis I've heard as people are talking about this as a north-south conflict. People are forgetting that there are major democratic forces in the north, opposition parties who are already armed now and control areas on the Eritrean and Ethiopian border. It is not just the north and south. The National Democratic Alliance is an extremely important alliance here. These are the major opposition parties. It is not just about the SPLA and the Northern Government. The Northern Government represents and has never won more than 15 percent of the vote. They took power in 1989 in the military coup with 300 men in Khartoum, and since then, it has amassed the army and prohibited the former parties, opposition parties within the government who are now in exile in Asmara.
Who are the SPLM/SPLA? Who are they? I was very happy to hear what Congressman Payne said today. He knows who they are. They have become a people's movement. They are there to defend people of Sudan. With the lack of development and the primitive nature of southern Sudan, it would only be, I think, God himself who would try and start a liberation movement and not John Gorang, because the nature of society itself creates inherent problems in Sudan. And that's why a lot of the alleged misdeeds are due to individuals; it is not or has not been the policy of the SPLM/SPLA.
When we have food diversion as an international organization right now, senior rebel commanders are not in detention in jail because of food that has been diverted. USAID is a major donor to Norwegian People's Aid; for that, we are very, very grateful.
The people of Sudan have a right to defend themselves. They have the right to defend their dignity. Even in this country, you fought for your democracy and for your freedom. We had to do the same in Ireland, and the southern Sudanese have the right to fight for the same thing, especially when the rest of the world is looking on and doing nothing about it.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This war didn't start in 1983; it started before independence in 1955. It was only the 50 years the British ruled that kept both forces apart. I can't understand, in light of the actions of the Sudan Government, what's wrong with supporting a movement like the SPLA that fights for a very just cause and try to reform it. And we're very grateful that the USAID has just now given a $4-million grant for good governance in the south.
This rebel movement is becoming a government, is working on a judiciary, a police force. But every year $200 or $300 million is provided by donors for reliefbeans, maize, and oil and medicinesbut not a single dollar to date has been given for good governance, for helping these people to establish some form of administration in the limited areas. That's the solution for southern Sudan, not relief. I've often said, you keep your relief; we need a solution, and the solution is to develop democratic structures with good governancea political solution.
You must keep the pressure on the NIF Government. It is a government that's bent under destruction.
I want to make one remark about the humanitarian situation concerning the people in southern Sudan. I don't think it's too arrogant to say I speak for the people in Sudan because I've been with them for all those years in those situations, sharing with them the suffering, and really they are very, very fed up. They are very fed up with relief operations that are sanctioned by that same government that's bent on their destruction, and that is the U.N. operation (Operation Lifeline Sudan). You need to support alternatives.
My own organization and six or seven other organizations are ready to operate in defiance of the Sudan Government, to fly in that food, to get those aircraft, and we have done it. We operate in areas where the United Nations has never operated before. We go into those areas, we were the first into those areas where those attacks I described earlier took place. We had to flee in the middle of the night, but we didn't leave the area. We stayed in the area, and right now we have international agencies operating there such as Goal of Ireland, Norwegian Naglu Aid and othersinternational organizations who operate independently.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to you today.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Eiffe appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. Thank you, Mr. Eiffe, and I certainly respect your passion and the good work you do in getting the food to people who otherwise wouldn't get it. And I think we all agree, though, that a political solution is what is needed. Increasingly, we're hearing from aid workers around the world, most recently in Kosovo, that we don't want more, on the short-term, yes, more food, but we have to have a political settlement. Otherwise, it's a mere perpetuation of the cycles of violence that are occurring. So thank you for your insights on that.
STATEMENT OF SISTER MARY ROSE ATUU, LITTLE SISTERS OF MARY IMMACULATE OF GULU, NORTHERN UGANDA
Sister ATUU. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Please allow me to express my most sincere sympathy for the events that took place last Friday, and the tragic losses that you and the Capital community have suffered. My prayers are with the two brave police officers who were slain and their families.
I'm very grateful for your kind invitation. My purpose for being here is of utmost importance and I thank God and you for this opportunity. I'm here to testify before this Committee for the crisis in northern Uganda.
Since 1986, thousands of children and civilians have been abducted, killed, and enslaved in northern Uganda by the rebels who call themselves LRA. The government has been unable to stop the LRA due to its army corruption and unwillingness to provide an alternative solution to the fighting. I'm here today to bear witness to this atrocity and ask that the United States take a more active role in bringing peace to northern Uganda.
The LRA is led by Joseph Kony, whose only stated objective is to overthrow the government who took over the Ugandan Government in 1986. At first Kony tried to abduct adults, but he soon found that the children are more easy to brainwash, to believe that killing and dying for the rebels is honorable. During the first 2 weeks of abduction, children are given guns and are forced to kill anyone who disagrees with their ideas, including their parents, siblings, neighbors, and friends.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Furthermore, these children are used as combat shield in front lines to fight the rebels and the government soldiers. If any of the children try to escape, they will catch them and the rebels put them in the middle and they try to prevent them from escaping by real torture, and they give example to the other children by mutilating their ears, noses, hands, legs, and even lips.
I am sure some of you saw the ''60 Minutes'' show which was done on the 22nd of March, and that is just a part of the horror which is taking place in northern Uganda. Girls are sexually abused and enslaved by their abductors and forced to servitude. Refusing to cooperate results in brutal beating, torture, and death. In total, I could say that the rebels have actually destroyed the mind and the conscience of the future generation of northern Uganda to believe that killing is honorable.
I want to tell you my personal witness of abduction of 44 girls from the school where I was teaching, Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School. In the early morning of July 19, 1992, a group of rebels, they came into the dormitory, and I was living near the convent, was just next to the dormitory. We soon heard the sounds of the door and the rebels scream, ''Open, open.'' Then immediately they started joking again and they broke into one of the doors, and they tried to go to the second door, and because we had an iron bolt, they were not successful.
At dawn we came out to see whether the rebels had gone, but, to our own disappointment and sorrow, we found that 44 of our girls were abducted. Immediately we reported it to the nearby military government and they were only half a mile away. When we found the six policemen who were there and they were hired actually to guard the school, they told us that they had not heard the voices or the sounds and none of them were actually punished. They made all excuses.
In the following months, groups of our girls escaped from the rebels and returned to us, badly beaten with sore feet, and they were immediately taken to the hospital, St. Mary's, where actually Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited. They described to us the experiences and explained how two of our girls were killed.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Jane was the first to be killed. She tried to escape. The rebels knew that she was trying to escape. Immediately they brought her in the middle of the girls, and other children they came in because, when they go, when they're abducted, they gather together in a certain place; then you can see many, many, many children. Then immediately they told them, ''We want you to see this. If you try to escape we'll do the same thing we are going to do to Jane.'' Jane actually pleaded for her life. She said, ''Just forgive me. I will do all what you want me to do, provided you spare my life.'' Immediately they pierced her body 16 times with a bayonet and they left her body there, just to display as a reminder for the other children, so that they may not try to escape again.
Then a few days later we heard that one of our girls was killed. Immediately we summoned the military, but they say that we could not go because security was tight. And many times when you try to follow the children, the government soldiers will begin to suspect you. They said, why do you go? If you manage to go and get the children, they know that you are a friend of the rebels, so people are just torn in between the rebels and the government.
And I could remember one of our priests was put in prison immediately after going to rebels, staying there for 3 days, and when he brought the children back, he was put in prison. He is now in Rome because he could not stay in Uganda.
The LRA actually remains mobile, with our girls and the other children carrying supplies they have looted. Then the second girl, Alice, was killed because she was not able to walk, and if you don't run due to the fact that sometimes our military government with helicopters will be coming, they just run with these kids in the long grass, forests, all kind of things, and some of them are not able to resist after the long journey. So Alice could not run, and immediately this man just shot her because she couldn't run.
We know of Jane and Alice today only because we were assistants. There are many other children that have been taken, and are going to be taken, and nobody knows whether they are still alive or dead, and tragically, many more children will be abducted in the future unless this unspeakable situation is actually taken care of. I'm here today as a voice of the children who are being killed, who are still suffering, and who are the victims to come, just to plead for their salvation, for their saving.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The people of northern Uganda are torn between the rebels who burn their houses, abduct, mutilate, and kill them, and the government which does not protect them. Nearly half a million people are forced to live in a camp called ''protected villages'' in crowded inhumane conditions. The villages are actually frequent targets to rebels' attack and abduction because they are built around the military, which means the military are in the middle and the people are like a shield to them. So when the rebel comes, of course, I don't know, probably that is what military means.
Although the United States is already supporting Uganda economically, it has not yet effectively addressed this violation of human rights. U.S. donations are indirectly funding a corrupt military which cares more about its reputation because it wants to receive the rebels, but not to protect people. The innocent people and the children are dying and the problem of the southern Sudan is overwhelming. It started a long time ago.
I've seen this isin Uganda this is the second or third reflux of refugees coming to Uganda, and it is a very serious issue. The one of southern Uganda also is a very, very tough issue. Therefore, I am asking the United States to put different envoys, so that they are actually being tackled differently, and as has been mentioned, the LRA or the LRA, actually they are being held by the Sudanese Government. When they realize that there is connection between the SPLA and Ugandan Government, then their eyes open and they say: We have to take advantage. And many now, those who are helping the rebels, are the fundamentalists, the Torabi group. The government also is there.
It is very important that we tell the truth because the truth will set us free, and many people we don't want to tell the truth. And who died? Children. And who are they? Innocent children. They are innocent; they do not know, and because of our sinful things, children are dying because we don't tell the truth and we don't go to the base of what is very important. I beg you to help to stop this war being waged against innocent children.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We ask that pressure be put on the Government of Uganda and on the rebels so that this senseless war can be stopped through peaceful settlement. People need peace; ordinary people need peace, they need nothing. That is, in northern Uganda, it is the cradle of all kinds of fruits and that's why it's called the Pile of Africa because everything comes from there.
And our army now they go and people work and all what they have done, the crops and what, immediately they come to your home; you have to put them in the lorries or in the truck and they take to Kampala. They take advantage of all these kinds of atrocities.
In closing, I thank you in advance for helping me to get this message across, and especially in the United States, whom I know they are very, very, very concerned about the human rights and the children, and I pray God that he bless all of our efforts for doing his work on Earth. God bless you. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Sister Atuu appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. Sister Atuu, thank you very much for your very eloquent statement, and I'd like to ask you a few questions, and I will submit several more, because of the lateness of the hour, and also because your testimony has been so comprehensive. You've answered many of those questions that I think many of us have in advance.
Ms. Rone, you talked about the promises that Kofi Annan had gotten for a needs assessment, and we all know that there is no access, or almost no access, to the Nuba Mountains.
Ms. Bellamy, in your conversationsif you're at liberty to disclose some of those conversations with the leaders in Khartoumdid they show any propensity to honor their commitment to the Secretary General of the United Nations, to allow for that needs assessment, and is there any chance that there will be access for the humanitarian community to those areas?
Ms. BELLAMY. Well, in fact, the Minister of Foreign Affairs did acknowledge his commitment to the Secretary General about this and said that he expected it would happen at least before the fall. The minister intends to be at the U.N. General Assembly in September and he wouldn't be able to face the Secretary General if he fails to meet this commitmentI did raise the question of access. It was a very clear, straightforward discussion.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That being said, it is thought that the Minister of Foreign Affairs is not able to make this happen yet, even though he has made this commitment. It's my understandingnot my understandingI actually know, that when Mr. Griffiths was there the week before, he raised this issue again on behalf of the Secretary General. The discussion then became attached to the tragedy that occurred with the killing of the two World Food and one Sudanese Red Crescent individual. In essence, they're looking for there to be some fingerpointing to the rebels, but it's inconclusive at this point, as I understand it. I don't know the specifics on that.
So I urge that at least this assessment go forward. They have repeated their verbal commitment. It was made again, but what we have seen, no indication yet that this is happening.
Mr. SMITH. You pointed out in your testimony that 62 percent of the U.N. consolidated appeal for Sudan has been met. 38 percent of that remains unmet. How many lives are being lost because of that lack of response?
Ms. BELLAMY. I have to be honest; I don't think we have the slightest idea about that. I think we realize that lives are being lost, and even if we had 100 percent, the fact is that people are in such terrible condition right now. We've all seen them; we know lives are being lost. But, I might on that, actually ask my colleague, Ms. Bertini, I don't mean to put you on the spot, but if you want to speak to just some of these? Because it comes to the issue again of how quickly we can respond in some of these cases.
As I said, we are trying to expand the feeding centers because in some instances people aren't even in condition to eat the food. They have to go through the supplementary feeding in the first place. But there is still a shortfall, and that shortfall will go to whether we are going to be able to just get in the food that we think we need to get in at this point.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SMITH. Ms. Bertini.
Ms. BERTINI. Thank you. We've just expanded our food assessment, and therefore, our food request, and so we are now even more underfunded because of the increased request. So it's actually we're 60 percent short, which is about $90 million for the food and related costs.
Mr. SMITH. Could we get a copy of that detail, because I think it would be helpful?
Ms. BERTINI. Yes. Yes.
Ms. BELLAMY. And we can provide you with the overall consolidated appeal of which that's a part.
[The report appears in the appendix.]
Ms. BERTINI. But may I say, Mr. Chairman, to your point, that it is impossible to estimate the number of people, but what's critical now to keep people alive now who are very malnourished is a special kind of food that helps them when they're very vulnerable. So this is things like corn soya blend, like the dried skim milk, like biscuits and high-protein biscuits, and these are things that we do not have there and we are asking donors to urgently send, and those in fact will be life-saving if they can get them.
Mr. SMITH. Do you have the paper with you on that?
Ms. BERTINI. Yes.
Mr. SMITH. Because I think that's something Mr. Payne and Tony Hall and Frank Wolf and all of us could look at it. You were kind, Ms. Bellamy, in saying how grateful you were to the United States, but if the need is not being met, perhaps we can provide a bridge and in a bipartisan way try to up the ante. We certainly can try, but the more information we have from you regarding that, the better we can make a cogent case to the Administration.
Let me just askMr. Eiffe had a more cynical view about the ceasefire perhaps than Ms. Bellamy. While it provides an opportunity, is there a potential that this is really a means by the government to advance some strategic aim, Mr. Eiffe?
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. EIFFE. Yes, the government has its back to the wall at the moment. The towns in there are besieged since January when the SPLA hit those towns and the population went out. The towns of Gogrial, Wau, and Aweil are really under siege; the town of Juba, the capital of the South, is under siege. So the government is recruiting students in northern Sudan, university students, school boys and forcibly recruiting them and they're also being attacked. There is a vicious fighting this week in Ulu, south of Damazein where the government suffered very serious losses. They committed 6,000 troops to that battle. That's up in the Upper Nile area. So they're really stretched, and when they're stretched in one area, then the ceasefire allows them a breathing space. This is not cynical. I've watched this; I can detail every ceasefire and peace agreement. It's part of the government's war strategy. Even peace talks have become part of the war strategy, without going into detail, I mean.
Mr. SMITH. Is that view shared by other members of the panel?
Ms. BELLAMY. Well, I don't pretend to be the expert, but he is in terms of having lived in the country and, on the other hand, I don't want it be suggested that I'm naive, that I think the ceasefire's just a happy time, and there aren't many different reasons for it. Clearly, the government has lost in a number of recent battles. There is still fighting going on. There is some concern that the rebels are pulling together some strength down in the eastern equatorial, where we don't have access either. I don't happen to think there are any white hats, quite honestly, in this situation.
But what I was suggesting is if there is any way to take advantage even of the ceasefire, for all the reasons that there may be this ceasefireand I'm not suggesting they are all for the best of reasonsbut if there is any opportunity that one can take advantage to try and push more of the peace process, that's what I was suggesting. Not that we're talking about people who are sitting there saying, ''Gee, isn't this nice and we won't kill each other.''
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SMITH. In your view, would this be an opportune time for the President to name a political envoy?
Ms. BELLAMY. I think one can try and take advantage of any opportunity.
Mr. SMITH. Would a political envoy be a prudent step on the part of the Administration as opposed to a humanitarian envoy?
Ms. BERTINI. Well, I agree with the assessment that there are lots of humanitarian negotiators, or whatever, and, of course, we are working with a United Nations, with a special representative appointed by the Secretary General. So another humanitarian person I'm not sure is going to be particularly useful, but there needs to be some strong political clout, and if the U.S. or other governments decided that that was through an envoy, I mean that would be a decision for you, the political leadership to make. But there needs to be strong political clout and some entity or person or department or group of countries that's very much committed to finding ultimate peace now.
Mr. SMITH. Can I ask, in terms of those children who are reunited with their families after having been abducted by Kony's group, what is the status of those children? I mean, they have been brainwashed. Is there any kind of assessment of that? I know right now the immediate need is to save people from starvation, but, you know, the children coming back from having been brainwashed or perhaps having committed some atrocities themselves, how do they fit in? How do they get reintegrated? Sister Atuu.
Sister ATUU. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. These children who have escaped and they are now back with their community, some of them are being cared for by the World Vision, but many of them are suffering psychological and traumatic upset. They do not know whether they have to obey the rule which is in the community or they have to follow the Resistance Army issue. Because even in the midst, when they are in with the World Vision, some of them even kill.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So it means that they need real orientation or a place where they can be actually at least helped, real rehabilitation, psychological rehabilitation, a real education, even some activities where they can play freely and do something which can take their mind away. But at this very moment they are living in the locality where they are being abducted and they are looked upon like living corpses, and some people they have remarked about them. And I want to add also that these children, some of them have been in the bush with the rebels for 12 years.
Let us say they are taken when they are 10; they have reached manhood, and some of them are children; they are in the bush. What kind of generation are we going to have? I feel that probably some of those who died, they are being released from this coming generation. Thank you.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you.
Ms. BELLAMY. May I make just a brief comment? I agree with everything she said. We've learned some lessons, although these are not easy or we have learned from some of the demobilization efforts of child soldiers. The record on these efforts is still thin but Mozambique teaches some lessons and now we're learning in Liberia. But, this isn't just a simple matter of these young, even if they may still look like and act like in some ways, children; it's not just a simple matter of repatriation and reintegration into the community.
I mean they've been through just horrific circumstances. We understand from the Concerned Parents Association, which are the parents of the abducted children, that some of the LRA's latest campaign is to impregnate as many of the girls as possible to increase the ranks.
And so community becomes very important. They need in many ways to be integrated with other children at this point. There are extreme psychological consequences. Psychosocial damage has been done. Many of them have been very violent; many of them have killed; many of them have harmed; many of them have been really engaged in the most brutal acts, even though they've had brutal acts taken out on them.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So it's not just a simple, ''isn't this wonderful; we have them back,'' and then they'll just go back. And so it does require a more complicated process. The World Vision Program is involved, but others need to be involved in this as well. As I said, we've been working with World Vision, but these children require psychosocial counseling, help in developing job skills, help to return to school. It's very much a family and a community type of coming together to begin to help these children get reintegrated.
Mr. SMITH. Mr. Payne.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much. I certainly appreciate the testimony of each and every one of you, and certainly probably one of the saddest, in my opinion, the saddest area in the world at the present time.
I certainly have had the experience of travelingas a matter of fact, spent a good day or two with Mr. Eiffe in 1993 in southern Sudan in the area he was working in at that time, and I do have some somewhat difference of opinion of some of you. I listened to my colleague, Mr. Hall, talk about the fact that in Bosnia and Northern Ireland by, you know, having talks we were able to come up with solutions, and therefore, supporting the opening of the embassy, and so forth. But I think both in Bosnia, where Muslims were being suppressed, where the unarmed were being attacked, and even in Northern Ireland with the Irish Catholic minority having much discrimination and even police brutality heaped on them, they were primarily victims almost unable to fend for themselves.
Finally, here in Sudanand I'm not a person that advocates war and violencethe Government of Khartoum has perpetrated war for 30 or 40 years on the people of the south, and at a time when finally the SPLA has gained momentum to the point where there could perhaps be a military victory, we're finding that there isand I think everyone except Mr. Eiffe feels that there should be a negotiated settlement.
Now, negotiated settlements are always good because they end the violence. There was a talk of a negotiated settlement when in Zaire, the then Zaire when Mobutu was on the last leg and the alliance forces were moving to Kinshasa, and it was said that Mr. Kabila should stop and should meet with Mr. Mobutu to have a solution. Well, at the door of Kinshasa there was no time to negotiate them.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I'm not saying that I'm pleased with what's happening in the Congo with Mr. Kabila but, after all of the struggle, finally the SPLA seems to, without any real support from anyone in the West, some of the countries in the region are supportive, although they've gotten into conflict, Ethiopia and Eritrea with themselves, which have sort of ceased some of the support.
But for a ceasefire that will actually give assistance to the government, a government that can't be compared to any other government, I don't know how you could sit down and have a negotiated peace with people who supply arms to the Lord's Liberation Army that harbors terrorists, that have used food as a weapon for 30 years. What do you say to them? Do you say, well, let's all be friends, like when Rodney King said something like that?
Like I said, I think that I wish that our government would support the SPLA, so that there could be a military solution, that they could then sit down and try to then work out a solution to the problem in that country because, as it's been indicated, the ceasefire is just the time for them to re-arm; to re-tool; to strengthen their military; to take more youngsters out of their universities, as they've been doing. And they're finding resistance in the north of people who want their children to go to college and not to war. They've even imprisoned some students who refuse to go. They shot and killed some students who said, ''I do not want to fight for the government.''
And so I'm sort of, for once I guess, having a difference of opinion of having a negotiated peace talks, ceasefire settlement. Of course, it's not up to me because I'm not there and I don't have anything to do with what happens, but I just think that the difference in Bosnia and Northern Ireland is that in both of those instances the underdog was kept in, was still under, and far under, and had no way of coming out. In this instance, the underdog for 30 years finally has some semblance of the possibility of a victory that could therefore change.
It goes beyond north and south. There has got to be a tremendous, as you've been talking about, ethnic cleansing; there is a psychological difference of some of the leaders in the north as opposed to the African black Christian and animist people in the south. It goes just beyond north and south. It has to do with culture and discrimination and elitism and many other factors.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So I just really am so frustrated at the brutality of what has happened there so long; I mean, for the first time, sort of support a continued military advance by the rebels because it appears to me they have weakened the government; that's the only reason that they've agreed to the ceasefire, and if they ever get to, unfortunately, to the hydro-electrical plants which would darken Khartoum, it would all be over.
I wonder if any of youI know you're all humanitarians, but maybe you can give me your response because it's totally atypical of positions that I normally take. Start with you, Ms. Bellamy.
Ms. BELLAMY. I haven't the slightest capacity of judging the military at this point. I'm sorry, I'm unable to respond to your comments in this case.
Ms. BERTINI. Well, we are humanitarians still; our job is not to give in to the political or military perspectives, and I have to say, Congressman, I can understand your concern, not coming from that direction before, but I think I would come from this perspective that we always, always, always, always have to try to sit at the table and come to some good, solid, peaceful conclusions that way. There have been a lot of very despicable people in the world who have ultimately sat at the peace table. So I would think that, just because of problems that have been caused by one side or another, that that does not automatically prohibit them from sitting down to finding ultimate peace, particularly if in this case both the government and the SPLA and all of their supporters and friends from elsewhere around the world were encouraging them to sit down and have these kinds of peaceful discussions.
Ms. BELLAMY. It has been suggested that by feeding people and keeping them alive, we're keeping a conflict going. It's a very strange argument. Again, I would only say that I think our responsibility is to try and create conditions that are human conditions, and we would ultimately hope that that will yield an environment where all people's rights will be respected. I mean, to merely talk about it, but I mean, you know, we are UNICEF, are anchored in the Convention on the Rights of the Child; that's the rights of all children, whoever they are, whatever their religion, wherever they live.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But, ultimately, the extent of conflict in the world today is so challenging to the ability of the rights of any human being to be respected, and so I would hope ultimately we would be able to see some kind of peace achieved in that country.
Ms. RONE. I'm really not able to comment on the larger points you're making, but I think you're very correct to point out that the war is not just in the south, but it's also being fought in the central part of the country and in the east; that it's not a regional war between north and south, but it also includes important segments of a northern society who have had their human rights totally repressed by the current government, which will not permit any freedom of association or political parties to function, which doesn't have free speech except for some in the inner circle, and so forth. So it is not just a north-and-south issue, you're right in that.
I would like to add that when we were talking about envoys, there is something we can do to prepare for the future, to lay the ground, whichever way the conflict goes. I think any envoy should have as a very high matter on the agenda, and perhaps even half of his or her time, attention to human rights, specifically because human rights are what is causing the current famine, but also because there needs to be a lot more attention to them.
The U.N. Human Rights Commission has been fooling around for 2 years with the idea of having special U.N. human rights monitors inside Sudan. The government has been dodging this bullet for a long time. They've managed to defer by bureaucratic manipulation, and so forth, any actual decision being taken by the U.N. Commission on Human Rights on this. So I think an envoy, if we have one from the U.S. Government or another envoy from the United Nations, should make it a priority to see that this happens.
The government had first said they don't want any monitors on their soil. So there was a suggestion that the monitors be based in neighboring countries. It's a very good suggestion. They can get a lot of excellent testimony from refugees and from relief workers and everybody who comes back from inside. Then the government, I guess because that was going to happen, decided that they wanted to discuss technical assistance, so their discussion now has centered around technical assistance, which means ''Give us land cruisers and give us faxes and we will do the monitoring.'' And I would hate to see the United Nations or anyone else fall for that.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There is also a lot that can be done to promote the rule of law in the south in territories that the rebels control, because right now they don't have a judicial system. They've been in rebellion for a long time, about 15 years. It's about time they developed a legal system, as most guerrillas armies have something akin by this time. And there've been proposals for paralegals and other things like that that I think would be very helpful. They need not only help for a judicial system, but also help for independent human rights monitors. I think that this would be a very good learning experience for the SPLA, and whatever role they have in the country in the future, they would benefit by this, by getting used to these kinds of democratic constraints.
Mr. EIFFE. Congressman Payne, I think it's a very important point to note that when the Government of Sudan and the SPLA sit together, the atmosphere in which they sit together is always dictated by the military situation. So when you're looking for a political solution, you need per se already a favorable military pressure. The government has become much more amenable recently in the peace talks, precisely because the SPLA has had a lot of military success on the ground, and this is directly related.
So we can't just stop at negotiation. Look, I'm for negotiation and talking, absolutely. But I've learned in my years' experience in the field observing this; that's the only time the negotiations become realistic. Like 2 years ago when the Sudan Government thought it was winning, they went down to Nairobi, saying, ''Forget the peace talks; our peace is working; we've defeated them. They're coming over in the thousands.'' These games are the history of negotiation here. So the military solution creates the environment for a political solution; that's No. 1.
No. 2, we've been talking today about this NIF Government. The actual issue goes way beyond this government. Sudan has never been a nation state; it's always had marginalized populations; it's been centrally controlled by a military merchant group. Before there was Sodiquel Mahdi; now it's the NIF. It doesn't matter. Maybe it's good that the Islamic Front has been there because it's brought Sudan to the forefront. It's a border that eventually erupted, but has never been a nation state. So the issue here is actually much more complex than making peace; it's actually one of identity. It's not a question of who's in power, like in Congo with this Kabila and Mobutu. It's a question of identifying Sudan as multi-ethnic and multi-religious with a complex history, and coming up with some kind of solution which would affect the whole region very seriouslynot just Sudan, but regionally has very big implications.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you.
Sister ATUU. Thank you, Mr. Payne. As far as human rights or something to help the people to come out from the misery they have like food and even money-wise, I feel and I think that it is very important that what is being sent to help the people is being monitored, because a lot of times the military and the government, they take advantage of this and I've seen with my two eyes many people who are in control, especially those of the government, they become richer. And they like the United Nations when it comes along and says this year we're going to get rich. Unless it is monitored, it cannot help the people; it is just a failure.
Then second, I feel even that the government should be advised, and like the United States, as to find a way, diplomatic way, of talking to our government because that is the center; it's our father, everything for the nation. So they have to accept any advice, something which can help in bringing peace to the country, and that is the most important thing because we need to get to the root of what is actually bringing this kind of thing.
And third, these rebels, is there anybody who can actually go or somebody who can capture them because they are not so many compared to our military soldiers? And is it so great, you know, so intelligent, that nobody can take this man somewhere? And again, also, we have Amin Dada who has actually killed so many people, and I don't hear anything about him. He has lived 20 years without any international court law of justice being put upon him. So everybody knows that when you take one thing, you can get away with it.
Thank you, Mr. Payne.
Mr. PAYNE. Thank you very much. I had some other questions. I guess it was kind of an unfair question to ask humanitarian people but all the frustration level, as you know, I think with all of us was relatively high. I do also note that there are problems in the north of Uganda and that whole situation the government needs to give more attention to northern Uganda, does not excuse the brutal LRA movement, but it perhaps compounds the difficulty that they have in stamping it out. But using children in war is wrong.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I just hope that we can come up with a solution and I appreciate the Chairman calling this very important hearing, and I have to run back across the hall. Lucky, they've got a vote on that I have to vote for, and then I have to see my young children from Ireland. These are some visitors from Northern Ireland. They're young men who have seen peace come perhaps because of Mr. Mitchell and the groups coming together. And so hopefully, we can have at least a humanitarian envoy to go and try to sort out some of the issues.
But thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for calling this meeting.
Mr. SMITH. Thank you very much, Mr. Payne, and I want to thank our very distinguished witnesses for your wisdom, your insights, your recommendations, and I hope we can act on those very promptly. And I do have additional questions; I will submit them to you. And I do thank you again.
[The information referred to appears in the appendix.]
Mr. SMITH. The hearing is adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 4:55 p.m., the Subcommittee adjourned subject to the call of the Chair.]
A P P E N D I X
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