The Honorable Henry M. Paulson, Jr. Secretary of the Treasury Department of the Treasury 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20220
February 8, 2007
RE: OIL PAYMENTS TO THE SUDANESE GOVERNMENT
Dear Secretary Paulson:
Human Rights Watch welcomes the Treasury Department’s proposed use of its regulatory authority to block dollar transfers by US commercial banks of oil payments to the Government of Sudan.
As has been extensively documented by Human Rights Watch and many other organizations and governments, including the United Nations and the US Department of State, the Sudanese government and government-backed militias are responsible for massive crimes against humanity and war crimes against civilians in Darfur. The Sudanese government’s abusive policies and actions in Darfur have resulted in the deaths of at least 200,000 people and have forcibly displaced more than two million Darfurians, who remain confined in displaced persons camps and who are unable to return home due to continuing attacks by government-backed militias and rampant insecurity.
It is entirely consistent with the purpose of Executive Orders Nos. 13067 and 13400 and their implementing regulations for the Treasury to prohibit any US bank from participating in commercial dealings with the Sudanese government, its leadership or their respective affiliates, including oil export firms in which they have an interest.
Human Rights Watch believes that the imposition of such blocking action by the Treasury is required now, not at some future date, in view of the Sudanese government’s persistent refusal to comply with the international community’s repeated requests—through the United Nations Security Council and through bilateral diplomacy—to immediately accept the full deployment of the proposed United Nations-African Union international peacekeeping force and to reverse its abusive policies in Darfur.
We therefore urge you to exercise your regulatory authority without delay to make clear to the Sudanese government that its continuing human rights violations in Darfur and its massive failure to protect Sudanese civilians will no longer be tolerated, and that it must immediately accept the international force, fully cooperate with all efforts to improve civilian protection in Darfur and end the violations.
Executive Director, Africa Division
Human Rights Watch