Mr. Speaker, as we mark Black History Month here in Canada, we consider and celebrate the contributions of black Canadians, and we also recognize the suffering and the challenges confronting black people throughout the world.
Today, I draw the attention of members to the situation in Sudan, where religious and ethnic minorities continue to face severe abuses. In January, President Obama announced a plan to lift some sanctions and start to normalize relations with that country, in spite of the fact that the Sudanese president is wanted by the ICC for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.
Some take the view that “progress” has been made in Sudan; however, the ongoing persecution of minorities stands in stark contrast to these claims. Sudanese pastors Hassan Abduraheem Kodi Taour, and Kuwa Shamal, along with Abdulmonem Abdumawla Issa Abdumawla, and Czech national Petr Jasek, were recently given long prison sentences in response to their Christian activities.
The international community must hold the line on human rights in Sudan until we see real change. Releasing these four men would send a very positive signal.