SOUTH SUDAN; Congressional Record Vol. 160, No. 5
(Senate - January 09, 2014)

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[Pages S196-S197]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                              SOUTH SUDAN

  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, I have taken the floor of the Senate--and 
when I was a Member of the House, the floor of the House--to talk about 
circumstances that are occurring somewhere in the world where people 
are being killed, displaced; people are being uprooted simply because 
of their ethnicity. Ethnic cleansing has occurred around the world. I 
have taken the opportunity to put a spotlight on it in an effort to say 
that the civilized world needs to bring an end to those types of crimes 
against humanity. I have used the opportunity as a member of the 
Helsinki Commission, and now as chairman of the Helsinki Commission, to 
point out what America's priority needs to be, and that is to be a 
leader in the world to prevent ethnic cleansing.
  Many of us believed, after World War II, that the world would never 
again allow circumstances wherein people were killed simply because of 
the ethnic community to which they belong. I have spoken about Bosnia, 
Rwanda, Darfur, and Syria, and now we see the same thing happening 
again in South Sudan.
  I just came from a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee 
that was convened to discuss the crisis in South Sudan with two 
witnesses: the Honorable Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Assistant Secretary 
of the Bureau of African Affairs, and the Honorable Nancy E. Lindborg, 
Assistant Administrator of the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict, and 
Humanitarian Assistance. These two witnesses were giving an update to 
the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as to the circumstances in South 
Sudan and what we can do to try to bring about a resolution.
  I rise today to discuss the deteriorating circumstances in South 
Sudan. As some of my colleagues may know, ongoing political tensions 
between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and forces loyal to the 
former Vice President Riek Machar, coupled with preexisting ethnic 
tensions, erupted in violence the night of December 15. I join the 
President and Secretary Kerry in calling for an immediate end to the 
violence in South Sudan. Currently, it is estimated that nearly 200,000 
people have been internally displaced as a result of the conflict, with 
another 32,000 having fled to neighboring States. The U.N. estimates 
that thousands of Sudanese people have been killed since December 15. 
Let me just remind my colleagues that three years ago today the people 
of South Sudan started a voting process that later that year led to 
their independence as the youngest new country in the world.
  Our U.S. Ambassador, Susan Page, has remained in Juba, along with a 
security detail and minimum key personnel. I thank her; it is very 
courageous of her to remain in South Sudan so we have our leadership on 
the ground to try to help the people. I applaud her bravery and 
sacrifice and those who are with her.
  The worsening violence has spurred a humanitarian crisis. The 
President has nominated Ambassador Booth to be our ambassador to that 
region to try to get a peace process started. He is currently in 
Ethiopia trying to get the international community to respond to a 
political solution to South Sudan. The international community has 
responded rapidly, including by working to significantly expand the 
size of the U.N. mission in South Sudan, but since the evacuation of 
foreign aid workers, most humanitarian agencies and the international 
NGOs are heavily reliant on brave South Sudanese staff who put their 
lives at risk to help their people.
  These are large numbers for the country of Sudan--the number of 
people displaced and the number of people killed. Let me share with my 
colleagues one of many examples of the crisis and how it has affected 
people in that region.
  I recently learned that at the onset of the December clashes, one 
local staff person from an American NGO was rounded up, along with 
seven members of his family, and taken to a police station in Juba. He 
ultimately escaped to the U.N. compound, but his family was killed, 
along with more than 200 others. He is from the Nuer ethnic group, 
which now lives in fear of ethnic targeting by members of the country's 
security forces from another ethnic group, the Dinka. Media reports 
also suggest that individuals in uniforms have entered the U.N. bases 
in several locations and forcibly removed civilians taking shelter 
there. On December 21, two U.N. peacekeepers were killed after a group 
attacked a U.N. peacekeeping base that was sheltering 20 civilians.
  There is no safe harbor today in South Sudan. The U.N.'s base can be 
overrun, and people killed because of their ethnicity. The 
international community must respond.
  I remain extremely concerned at the reports out of South Sudan, all 
of which suggest serious crimes against humanity are occurring in the 
country. The world cannot stand by and bear witness to another ethnic 
cleansing as we have seen in so many other places around the world. We 
must do all we can to ensure a peaceful resolution of the crisis and 
accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity in South 
  Our first priority is to get peace on the ground, to stop the 
killings, so people can live in peace. We need to work with the 
international community so humanitarian aid can get to the people who 
need it--and that is very challenging considering that international

[[Page S197]]

NGOs cannot operate today in South Sudan--and we must hold accountable 
those who have committed crimes against humanity. We have said it over 
and over, but unless we hold accountable those who have perpetrated 
these atrocities, we will see it again and again. U.S. leadership is 
critically important to make sure that we document what has taken place 
and that we bring to justice those who are responsible for the crimes 
that have been committed.
  There is no question that a solution to the crisis in South Sudan 
must be political and not military. We understand that. South Sudan 
again is at a crossroads, and after coming so far, it must choose to 
renounce violence immediately and pursue a path of peaceful 
  I am encouraged that President Kiir and former President Machar have 
sent negotiators to Ethiopia to participate in mediation talks. While 
these talks are a good first step, in the interim the violence must 
end, and both sides must be committed to negotiating in good faith. It 
is my hope these talks can bring about the bright future so many South 
Sudanese aspire for. The people of South Sudan deserve to understand 
the true meaning of safety and security, of peace, and prosperity. The 
United States stands with the people of South Sudan through these 
difficult times. We must pledge to continue to support those who seek 
peace, democracy, human rights, and justice for all of the citizens of 
the world's newest nation.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. McCAIN. I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum 
call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Ms. Baldwin). Without objection, it is so 
  The Senator from Arizona.
  Mr. McCAIN. I ask consent to address the Senate as in morning 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. McCAIN. My colleague from South Carolina will join me shortly on 
the floor, but I will make some remarks while I am waiting.
  When the Senator from South Carolina joins me, I ask unanimous 
consent to engage in a colloquy with the Senator from South Carolina.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.