"Crises in Sudan and Northern Uganda" Congressional Testimony by Roger Winter, Executive Director, U.S. Committee for Refugees

Originally published
Testimony by Roger Winter, Executive Director, U.S. Committee for Refugees
Before the House Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights and the Subcommittee on Africa , Wednesday, July 29, 1998
Hearing Topic "Crises in Sudan and Northern Uganda"

Original document can be found at

Background of USCR

I am Roger Winter, director of the U.S. Committee for Refugees. Thank you for conducting this hearing on "Crises in Sudan and Northern Uganda." We ask that this written testimony be included in the official record of today's hearing.

The U.S. Committee for Refugees is a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization that regularly monitors and assesses the plight of refugees and displaced people around the world. We have defended the rights of refugees, displaced, and war-affected people for 40 years. To do that seriously, we regularly go on site in the midst of war and conflict situations to document conditions, analyze the political environment, and offer informed policy recommendations.

USCR Involvement in Sudan Issues

As director of the U.S. Committee for Refugees (USCR), I have been a close observer and often an eyewitness of events in Sudan for 17 years. I first traveled to Sudan in 1981 and have conducted multiple visits to Sudan annually on behalf of USCR since 1988.

As a participant in nine previous Congressional hearings on Sudan, dating back to 1989, USCR has consistently documented the massive human toll imposed by civil war, human rights atrocities, harsh Sudanese government policies, blockages of humanitarian relief efforts, huge population displacements, and man-made famines. A review of previous Congressional hearings offers a sobering and revealing list of hearing titles: "Terrorism and Sudan" in May 1997; "War and Famine, Peace and Relief" in May 1991; "War and Famine in the Sudan" in May 1991; "War and Famine in Sudan" in November 1990; "War and Famine in Sudan" in October 1990; and "War and Famine in Sudan" in early 1990.

In addition to Congressional testimony, USCR has published reports on the Sudan conflict. A USCR report, Sudan 1990-1992: Food Aid, Famine, and Failure, published in May 1993, traced the Sudan government's political manipulation of relief programs. USCR's report, A Working Document: Quantifying Genocide in the Southern Sudan 1983 1993, published in late 1990, was a groundbreaking study of the death toll in southern Sudan. It concluded that at least 1.3 million people had died due to war-related causes. The death toll has risen dramatically in the four years since the report was published.

USCR staff have conducted three site visits to Sudan in the past three months. USCR has hosted a series of briefings on the current Sudan crisis and has published several policy recommendations and analyses in recent weeks. Copies can be obtained through our office here in Washington.

USCR also has extensive experience in Uganda, which is another focus of today's hearing. USCR's most recent site visit to northern Uganda occurred last year. I have traveled to Uganda regularly since the early 1980s. We plan to undertake our next visit to northern Uganda later this year.

Scope of Testimony This testimony consists of five main sections:

Famine and Displacement in Sudan
Humanitarian Response Recommendations
Political and Military Situation in Sudan
Political Policy Recommendations
Northern Uganda