Around Easter 1989, Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.) traveled to Sudan to meet with John Garang, then the head of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, at his camp in the southern portion of the country. Garang and his soldiers had defected from the army in 1983 to fight against the nation’s military rule and Islamic dominance, sparking Sudan’s second civil war. After a peace agreement was signed in January 2005, Garang became vice president that June only to die in a helicopter crash three weeks later.
At their sit-down, Garang (right) gave Ackerman (second from left) a copy of his book, which can be seen on the table, about preserving human rights in a time of war.
On Feb. 15, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, of which Ackerman is a senior member, marked up a resolution honoring Garang’s life and achievements and reaffirming the House’s continued commitment to peace in Sudan.