PRESS RELEASE

Rep. Capuano Files Resolution Condemning Slavery in Sudan

April 10, 2003 -- Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) has filed legislation condemning slavery and other violations of human rights in Sudan.

"This issue has taken on new urgency because the United Nations Commission on Human Rights is considering changing the status of Sudan, removing a number of restrictions that are currently in place because of Sudan's horrendous human rights record. This is unacceptable and the United States Congress should be on record saying so," stated Rep. Capuano.

The United Nations Commission on Human Rights is currently conducting its 59th session. They will discuss whether to change the status of Sudan from an "Item 9" country, a designation given to countries that violate human rights, to Item 19, a designation with far fewer restrictions. This change in status would make Sudan eligible for United Nations technical assistance funding without requiring them to address gross violations of human rights.

"The State Department reports that between 5,000 and 15,000 women and children have been abducted by the Sudanese government during the past fifteen years and thousands remain in captivity. Many have been sold into slavery, sent to manual labor camps or are forced to serve in the military. Sudanese troops continue to abduct civilians and nearly 2 million people have died as a result of the Sudanese government's attempts to subjugate the southern Sudanese. There is absolutely no basis for upgrading the status of Sudan in the United Nations," stated Rep. Capuano.

The resolution has bipartisan support and was referred to the Committee on International Relations. It was introduced by Rep. Capuano (D-MA), Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ). Eleven other members of Congress have signed on as co-sponsors.

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