Statement on South Sudan Independence

July 8, 2011

"Tomorrow, July 9th, South Sudan will officially declare and celebrate its independence from Sudan. Here in America, we just celebrated the Fourth of July, a day to reflect on the principles upon which our country was founded: that we are all created equal and endowed with unalienable rights. Now, we welcome to the community of nations, another country founded upon the same principles: every person, regardless of race, creed, gender, language, or tribe, has an equal right to freedom, dignity, and self-determination".

"South Sudan's path forward is fraught with difficulty. Many arrangements called for in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the civil war have not yet been settled including agreements on oil and wealth sharing, citizenship, Abyei, and full border demarcation. The new country must work to overcome a lack of infrastructure and basic services, as well as corruption and over-reliance on oil revenues. I encourage the Government of South Sudan to enshrine in the new constitution principles such as transparency and accountability and to maintain a focus on the strengthening of judicial and security sectors".

"As co-chair of the Sudan Caucus, I have been involved in seeking peaceful solutions for Sudan for years. Violence still threatens the people of Sudan and South Sudan in the form of recent attacks in the northern border state of Southern Kordofan. Over the last month, Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), directed by President Omar al-Bashir's regime in Khartoum, have consistently attacked both southern-affiliated armed groups and civilians in the Nuba Mountains. United Nations peacekeepers and staff are pinned down by fighting, and over 73,000 residents have been displaced so far in what some advocacy groups have called a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Nuba people. I am appalled by the SAF attacks and join those in the international community in calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities so that a peaceful separation may take place".

"Success is by no means guaranteed for the country of South Sudan, and doubtless many challenges will arise. Nonetheless, the people of South Sudan have long struggled and fought for this new freedom, and I will do all I can to help them succeed in their democratic endeavor."

Contact: Alison M. Mills (Rep. Capuano) 617-621-6208