"The U.S. should prohibit any foreign company from raising capital or
listing its securities in U.S. markets as long as it is engaged in the
development of oil and gas fields in Sudan," the Commission demanded in a
report released Monday.
Earlier this month, Church Alliance for a New Sudan had
alerted the world to the link between the development of oil fields in
southern Sudan and the Khartoum government's persecution of Christians and
animists in that region.
In a document distributed by Church Alliance, Roger Winter, executive
director of the U.S. Committee for Refugees, explained that Sudanese
government forces and militias were "displacing, slaughtering and enslaving"
the inhabitants of oil-rich areas to "clear" them for exploitation.
European, Canadian and Far Eastern corporations have entered partnerships
with Sudan's government-owned Greater Nile Petroleum company to tap
what Catholic Bishop Macram Max Gassis termed "a source of hell" - the
immense oil riches in areas mostly settled by non-Muslims.
These companies would be barred from U.S. capital markets if the Bush
administration adopted the policy recommended by the Religious Freedom
Commission. They include: Talisman Energy of Canada, TotalFina of France,
Lundin of Sweden, Petronas of Malaysia, Chinese National Petroleum
Co. and Russian companies.
"Oil has brought 50,000 Chinese and Canadians to our doorstep, in
collusion with our killers," Sudanese Christian leaders told the Rev. Herb
McMullen, an Episcopal priest from Fairfax, Va., during his recent
During the last 18 years, more than 2 million people have died in what
international Christian leaders have termed Sudan's genocide.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom also urged
the administration to make companies doing business in Sudan "disclose the
nature and extent of that business in connection with their access to U.S.
The commission's report blasted China as well for its expanded crackdown
on religious groups. "The government has intensified its campaign
against the Falun Gong movement and its followers. It apparently has been
involved in the confiscation and destruction of up to 3,000 unregistered
buildings and sites in southeastern China.
"It continues to interfere in the training and selection of religious
leaders and clergy. At the same time, the government continues to maintain
tight control over Uighur Muslims and Tibetan Buddhists. Finally, cases of
torture by Chinese government officials reportedly are on the rise."
As in the case of Sudan, the commission urged the Bush administration to
require companies doing business in China "to disclose the nature and extent
of that business in connection with their access to U.S. capital markets.
The report states, "Until religious freedom significantly improves in
China, the U.S. Government, led by the personal efforts of the President of
the United States, should initiate a resolution to censure China at the
annual meeting of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights and should have
sustained campaign to convince other governments at the highest level to
The commission also criticized the violation of religious rights
in India, Indonesia, Iran, North Korea, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia and
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