Darfur Legislative Update – July 29, 2008

Darfur Legislative Update – July 29, 2008

On July 16, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations marked up their version of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill, which includes humanitarian and peacekeeping funding for Sudan.  However, it is unclear whether the full House Appropriations Committee will take up the bill before Congress leaves town for the year in September.

On July 17, the full Senate Appropriations Committee marked up their version of the State and Foreign Operations spending bill. 

Both chambers will leave for August recess at the end of this week.  Members of Congress are scheduled to return in September for three weeks of legislative business.  Due to the election season, the Democratic leadership has said all legislative business must be completed by September 26. 

In September, Congress will likely pass a continuing resolution to fund the government until February.  The next Congress will likely take up most FY09 appropriations bills, including the State and Foreign Operations bill, and roll them into an omnibus package to send to the new president after he takes office in January. 

In this message:
1)  House/Senate Mark up FY09 Foreign Operation Bills
2)  Sudan Legislation
3)  Notable Reports & Articles

1) House/Senate Mark up FY09 Foreign Operation Bills

Please find below a review of peacekeeping, development, and humanitarian accounts that pertain to Sudan from the Senate mark.

Breakdown of Accounts important for Sudan in Senate bill:




Contributions for International Peacekeeping Activities (CIPA)

Funds U.S. contributions to U.N. peacekeeping operations

$1.65 billion; $153 million above budget request; *See below for good report language.

Peacekeeping Operations (PKO)

Supports multilateral peacekeeping operations and training

$257.2 million; $10 million above budget request.  No specific Sudan language.

International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INCLE)

Supports formed police units

$24 million for Sudan, same as President’s request.

International Disaster Assistance (IDA)

Funds emergency and disaster assistance

$450 million total; $151,950,000 above request.  **See good Sudan report language below.

Transition Initiatives (OTI)

Funds countries emerging from deadly conflict

$50 million; $10 million above budget request.  No specific Sudan language.

Development Assistance (DA)

Funds poverty reduction and long-term development projects

$1.8 billion; $210,945,000 above budget request.  No specific Sudan language.

From Chairwoman Nita Lowey’s Press Release:

“SUDAN: The bill includes a total of $778 million for humanitarian and peacekeeping needs in Sudan, including $414 million for the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), $16 million for peacekeeping operations, and $245 million in the Economic Support Fund.”  See full press release. 

*CIPA Report Language (Senate):  “The Committee notes that the budget request for U.S. assessed contributions to international peacekeeping missions assumed a reduction in the cost of every mission below the fiscal year 2008 operating level, yet the United States voted in the U.N. Security Council to expand the mandate of peacekeeping missions. The Committee recognizes the significant contribution to international peace and stability provided by U.N. peacekeeping activities, without the participation of U.S. troops. The Committee does not support OMB’s practice of under-funding peacekeeping activities and relying on limited supplemental funds to support only a few missions.

The Committee urges continued U.S. support for U.N. peacekeeping missions at the assessed level for the current year, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Cyprus.  The Committee directs the Department of State to seek to ensure that all peacekeepers, civilian police, and other U.N. personnel being trained and equipped with funds contributed by the United States in preparation for deployment as part of peacekeeping missions, receive proper training to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls. The Secretary of State should work aggressively with the U.N. to ensure that individuals who are found to have engaged in exploitation or violence against women are held accountable, including prosecution in their home countries.  The Committee recommendation includes language, as requested by the President, to adjust the authorized level of U.S. assessments for peacekeeping activities for calendar year 2009 and prior years from 25 percent to 27.1 percent, consistent with the level set in fiscal year 2008 (Public Law 110-161). The Committee notes that the Congress also provided the same adjustment in fiscal year 2005 and that the administration has requested such adjustment in each fiscal year since. The Committee expects that future budget requests shall include sufficient funding to support such authorization.”

**IDA Senate Report Language (Senate): “Recognizing that OFDA is the only USAID entity providing direct assistance to people in Darfur, the Committee recommends the use of funds under this heading for basic education programs in Darfur where persistent conflict and insecurity, limited infrastructure, few qualified teachers, a shortage of learning and teaching materials, and little public investment in education, have caused an estimated one-half of the children to be out of school.  The Committee recommends funding for water resource management through small-scale irrigation in Darfur to counter the effects of flash flooding and frequent droughts.”

2) Sudan Legislation

– On June 26, Rep. Payne (D-NJ) introduced H.R. 6416, the “Just and Lasting Peace in Sudan Act of 2008.”  Specifically, HR 6416 stipulates that the President may not lift existing U.S. sanctions until certain conditions have been met for at least a year.  HR 6416 Cosponsors: 18.  Bill Text. 
– A copy of a recent letter sent by Senator Menendez (D-NJ) to U.S. Special Envoy for Sudan Richard Williamson regarding evidence that the Sudanese government continues to violate the United Nations arms embargo.

3) Recent Notable Reports and Articles

– “Putting People First: The Protection Challenge Facing UNAMID in Darfur,” The Darfur Consortium (pdf) (7/28/08).
-“IRRESOLUTION: The U.N. Security Council on Darfur,” The ENOUGH Project, (7/24/08). 
The lastest report from the U.N. Secretary General’s office on the deployment of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) (7/07/08).
– “Abandoning Abeyi: Destruction and Displacement May 2008,” Human Rights Watch (7/22/08)
-“UNSC in heated debate over deferring indictment of Sudan President” Sudan Tribune, (7/29/08)
-“U.N. pledge to support return of Abeyi Displaced,” Sudan Tribune, (7/28/08)
-“Three Darfur rebel groups splint from a UN sponsored front,” Sudan Tribune, (7/28/08)