Sen. Ben CardinBen CardinSenate heading toward late-night marathon session Rocky start for Trump's State Department nominee Schumer: If Trump agrees Russia behind hacking, let's boost sanctions MORE (D-Md.) called on the United States to do more to prevent “ethnic cleansing” in South Sudan.

“People are being killed, displaced, uprooted, simply because of their ethnicity,” Cardin said on the Senate floor Thursday. “America’s priority needs to be a leader in the world to put an end to ethnic cleansing.”

Cardin said he was encouraged that leaders of South Sudan were meeting with other countries in the region to talk about preventing violence, but also urged them to renounce ethic cleansing.

“South Sudan is at a crossroads,” Cardin said. “It must choose to renounce violence immediately.”

Cardin said one of the United State’s top priorities should be stopping violence that has plagued the area.

“We need to work with NGOs and get humanitarian relief on the ground,” Cardin said. “And we must hold those accountable who commit crimes against humanity ... or we will see it again, and again and again.”

The United Nations has sent thousands of peacekeepers to the struggling country, which succeeded from Sudan in 2011.

Cardin serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.