Africa Center Director J. Peter Pham writes for the Huffington Post on how US sanctions are harming the Sudanese people:
For some twenty years, Sudan has been the target of United States sanctions which have not only blocked assets of the government, but imposed what is tantamount to a comprehensive trade embargo on the East African country. The sanctions have piled up over the years: to the original set imposed by President Bill Clinton in the 1990s to punish the regime in Khartoum for its support of international terrorism (Osama bin Laden lived there until 1996), additional measures were added by President George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress a decade later in response to human rights abuses in the Darfur region. While the extent to which these punitive measures have been effective in achieving their various objectives is highly debatable–as is, nowadays, the country’s continued legal designation as a “state sponsor of terrorism” given that the most recent version of State Department’s own annual terrorism report determined that the Sudanese government “remained a generally cooperative counterterrorism partner and continued to take action to address threats to U.S. interests and personnel in Sudan”–what is undeniable is that having taken applied a blunt instrument at a problematic authoritarian regime, the United States has also taken a very real human toll on some vulnerable groups unfortunate enough to be caught in the middle.
Take, for example, Sudan’s breast cancer victims. Since 2000, cancer has jumped from the tenth to the second most common cause of death in the country. Among Sudanese women, breast cancer accounts for 35 percent of all cancer diagnoses. With the exception of the very small number of wealthy patients who can travel abroad for medical attention, the only option is the Khartoum Breast Care Centre (KBCC), a state-of-the-art non-profit hospital founded and run by Dr. Hania Morsi Fadl, a British-trained radiologist, and funded by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. The facility, which provides screenings, diagnosis, and treatment for patients from Sudan and neighboring countries at affordable, subsidized, or even no costs, uses medical equipment originally purchased from General Electric (GE)–and therein lies the challenge.