PRESS RELEASE

Bipartisan Coalition Introduces Bill to Promote Peace, Stability in South Sudan

July 9, 2015

Washington, DC – U.S. Representatives Tom Rooney (R-FL), Michael Capuano (D-MA), Michael McCaul (R-TX), Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) today introduced bipartisan legislation to promote a negotiated settlement for lasting peace and stability in South Sudan.

Thousands of South Sudanese civilians have been killed and an estimated two million have fled their homes since fighting broke out in December 2013. The “South Sudan Peace Promotion and Accountability Act,” H.R. 2989, directs the President to submit to Congress a strategy to support the U.N. peacekeeping mission, advance reconciliation, investigate human rights abuses, and ease the refugee crisis. It codifies into U.S. law sanctions against individuals who have undermined the peace process, and includes a statement of Congress urging all parties involved in the conflict to immediately cease all violence and work toward a negotiated, transparent settlement.

Rep. Rooney said: “As South Sudan marks the four-year anniversary of its independence, the nation remains mired in violence and instability. Thousands have died, millions have fled their homes, and millions more face hunger and disease. Yet, as my cousin Rooney Mara learned in her trips to South Sudan that inspired me to work on this bill, the South Sudanese people remain resilient and hopeful. This bill will help fulfill those hopes by promoting a path forward for peace, stability and prosperity and South Sudan.”

Rep. Capuano said: “Millions of South Sudanese citizens continue suffering at the hands of this horrific conflict, bringing the region closer to a humanitarian disaster. While the United States is the world’s leading humanitarian donor to South Sudan, it is clear more must be done to pressure warring parties to establish a transitional government and bring peace to their people. July 9th marks the four year anniversary of South Sudan’s independence, and on this anniversary the United States must renew its commitment to helping South Sudan become a country of peace and prosperity. I am proud to stand with my colleagues in the House to introduce this legislation reaffirming the U.S.’s commitment to the people of South Sudan as well as our support of the United Nations Security Council’s efforts to seek accountability among the warring parties.”

Rep. McCaul said: “On July 9, 2011, the American people celebrated with South Sudan as it declared its independence from a genocidal dictator and state sponsor of terrorism. Sadly, four years after that hopeful moment, South Sudan today is engaged in a senseless and brutal civil war which has devastated millions of innocent lives. Immediate attention to the dire humanitarian situation is needed from the international community. The South Sudan Peace Promotion and Accountability Act will elevate U.S. leadership in South Sudan and encourage the warring parties to solve this conflict peacefully.”

Rep. Lee said: “The United States will not sit idly by as violence and human rights abuses continue in South Sudan. The recent upsurge in fighting is extremely troubling, especially with reports that armed groups are targeting children,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13). “All parties and the international community must renew its commitment to bringing an end to this brutal conflict and ensuring peace and stability for the people of South Sudan. The South Sudan Peace Promotion and Accountability Act of 2015 is an important step in that direction.”

Rep. Fortenberry said: “July 9 marks the celebration of South Sudan’s Independence. In 2011, the United States looked upon a new country, hoping it could emerge from years of oppression to chart a course for peace and prosperity. Sadly, South Sudan is mired in a violent struggle for power, and the innocent are once again suffering the consequences. This important legislation will hopefully help end much brutal and senseless violence—and advance a bright future for the people of South Sudan.”

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