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Congress condemns slavery in Sudan, asks White House to push for sanctions


By LOLITA C. BALDOR Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON, Jul 16, 2003 (AP) — The House has passed a resolution condemning slavery in Sudan and asking the Bush administration to push for sanctions against that country.

The resolution, which passed days after President George W. Bush returned from Africa, says the United States should encourage the United Nations to require annual investigations of abuses in Sudan.

In April, the U.N. Commission on Human Rights voted to drop requirements for annual reports on human rights violations in Sudan and make the country eligible for financial funding.

The House resolution, which passed unanimously Wednesday, asked that the requirements be reinstated.

"This is unacceptable and the United States Congress should be on record condemning the Sudanese regime and the inaction of the UNCHR," said Rep. Michael Capuano, who sponsored the resolution.

Capuano took up the issue at the request of the Boston-based American Anti-Slavery Group. "We wanted Congress to continue pushing the administration to make slavery in Sudan a human rights priority," said the group’s spokeswoman, Laura Barrett.

During his five-day tour through Africa last week, Bush participated in discussions on efforts to help end bloodshed in Sudan.

Last year, he signed a get-tough-on-Sudan resolution meant to prod the government of Africa’s largest nation toward ending its 20-year-old war.

Since 1983, some 2 million people have died in Sudan’s civil war between the Muslim-dominated government and rebels seeking greater autonomy for the south. From the outside, the conflict is often viewed as a religious war, but competition for oil, land and other resources also fuel it. Terrorist leader Osama bin Laden lived in Sudan for years.

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