Pressure by 'all possible means' needed to halt Sudan fighting: UN

AFP , Thursday 11 May 2023

The UN rights chief Thursday called on the international community to exert all possible pressure on the fighting sides in Sudan to resolve the conflict and end 'the wanton violence'.

A man carries a child as refugees from Sudan cross into Ethiopia in Metema, on May 4, 2023. .AFP


The fighting has plunged "this much-suffering country into catastrophe", United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said.

Addressing a special session of the UN Human Rights Council on the situation in Sudan, he urged "all states with influence in the region to encourage, by all possible means, the resolution of this crisis".

His comments came as fighting continued in the Sudanese capital, pushing ever more people to undertake dangerous journeys to safety across the country's borders.

More than 750 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands have been displaced in the fighting that began on April 15 between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, who commands the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

"I condemn the use of violence by individuals who have no regard for the lives and fundamental rights of millions of their own compatriots," Turk said.

He also slammed "this wanton violence, in which both sides have trampled international humanitarian law, notably the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution".

Thursday's urgent council session in Geneva, requested by Britain, Germany, Norway and the United States, with the support of dozens of other countries, was expected to wrap up later with a vote on a draft text calling for an immediate halt to the violence.

German ambassador Katharina Stasch said the UN's top rights body had had no choice but to host the special session.

"The Human Rights Council cannot stay silent when human rights are at stake," she said, insisting that "respect for human rights is a prerequisite for lasting, stable peace".

The draft text being discussed condemns "all reported violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, including reported acts of sexual and gender-based violence, committed since the start of hostilities by all parties to the conflict across the country."

In particular, the text calls for strengthening the mandate of an existing special rapporteur on the rights situation in Sudan to include "detailed monitoring and documentation... on all allegations of human rights violations and abuses since October 25, 2021, including those arising directly from the current conflict."

And it calls for the expert to assist the UN rights chief in drafting "a comprehensive report" on the rights situation in Sudan, to be presented during the main annual rights council session in March next year.

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