Simon Deng’s letter to Congress

November 9, 2010

Dear Congressperson:

In less than hundred days, on January 9, 2011, the people of South Sudan will decide in a historic referendum whether to create the newest African nation or remain a part of the unified Sudan. At the same time the people of the region of Abyei will vote either to join the newly created state of South Sudan or to stay with the North.

A free, fair, transparent and peaceful referendum is essential to prevent another devastating round of bloodshed in Sudan.  As a victim of slavery and genocide survivor, I understand too well that inaction can lead to horrible consequences for all Sudanese people. But I also know that if we unite in a timely, courageous and decisive effort to prevent another war, we shall succeed.

I have taken every measure I could think of to bring stability and peace to my homeland. I recently completed 2010 Sudan Freedom Walk – a 250 mile march from New York to Washington, D.C- to shed light on the referendas’ crucial moment in history and to highlight ongoing human rights atrocities in Sudan including genocide in Darfur and slavery. With the support of the American people and leaders like you, I will continue working to free my people and today, I am asking you to join me.

•    On October 12, Senator John Kerry introduced the bi-partisan Sudan Peace and Stability Act of 2010 to “promote peace, stability, improved governance, and economic development in Southern Sudan and Darfur, and for other purposes.” The Bill was co-sponsored by Senators Brownback, Durbin, Wicker, and Feingold and was endorsed by several non-governmental organizations. The Sudan Peace and Stability Act of 2010 articulates policies that are comprehensive, long-term oriented and results-based. I believe this legislation will help all parties in Sudan achieve just and lasting peace and I strongly urge you to co-sponsor it.

•    As part of my efforts to gather support for peaceful future for all Sudanese people, I am committed walking barefoot (in solidarity with my Sudanese brothers and sisters) through Congress, meeting with each and every congress person. My walk will culminate in a press conference in our nation’s capital on November 18th. I would like to meet with you at the Capitol and I would be honored to have you attend the press conference in solidarity.

•    The recent surge in the United States Government’s diplomatic activity in Sudan is a positive and hopeful development. But to make sure the issue of Sudan remains on President Obama’s agenda, I urge you to continue pressuring the United States Government to:

1.    Ensure full implementation of the CPA, including free and fair referenda in South Sudan and Abyei
2.    End the genocide and bring peace to Darfur and to other marginalized areas including South Kordofan, Blue Nile State, Eastern Sudan and Nubia
3.    Work to eradicate slavery throughout Sudan
4.    Hold accountable those who sabotage efforts to achieve lasting peace in Sudan and those who committed crimes against humanity in Darfur and other areas
5.    Support the unity of the people of Southern Sudan and the development of an inclusive constitutional system government as expressed in resolutions of All Southern Sudanese Political Parties’ Conference of 2010


Simon Deng
Founder, Sudan Freedom Walk
Associate, American Anti-Slavery Group