War-ravaged Sudanese people have had enough: UN mission

AFP , Thursday 11 Apr 2024

The Sudanese people have had enough of the devastating conflict raging inside the country, UN investigators said Thursday as the fighting rolls on into a second year.

Sudanese Children carry packs of humanitarian aid
Sudanese Children carry packs of humanitarian aid at the school housing displaced people who fled violence in war-torn Sudan, near the eastern city of Gedaref, on March 10, 2024. With war returning to Sudan last in April 2023, the United Nations has warned that an entire generation could be destroyed. The world body says millions of displaced children are starving, have been forced into marriage, or become child soldiers, and threatened with death. AFP


Sudan's warring parties must commit to an immediate ceasefire, end attacks on civilians, and ensure unimpeded access to humanitarian aid, the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission for Sudan insisted.

"It's beyond time for this devastating war to stop," said Mohammed Chande Othman, the mission's chair.

"The Sudanese people have endured enough. The warring parties must find a path for peace and respect for human rights."

Fighting in Sudan erupted on April 15 last year between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF). The war has killed thousands and sparked a humanitarian disaster.

In October, the UN Human Rights Council established a fact-finding mission to probe all alleged human rights and international humanitarian law violations in the war.

Othman, a former chief justice of Tanzania, said the Sudanese army and the paramilitaries had shown little regard for protecting civilians, and the mission was investigating reports of repeated attacks on non-combatants, schools, and hospitals.

Attacks on aid convoys have also been reported, the mission said in a statement.

"Aid agencies are persevering even though there have been attacks and looting of humanitarian convoys, personnel, and warehouses," said Mona Rishmawi, one of the mission's three investigators.

"We are also investigating the deliberate blocking of humanitarian assistance destined for civilians living in areas controlled by the opposite side," she said.

The mission also raised concerns about poor harvests, soaring grain prices, and the risk of a food catastrophe.

They called on the two sides to commit to a comprehensive peace process.

The mission will submit a comprehensive report to the Human Rights Council at its September-October session.

More than 8.5 million people have fled their homes since the fighting broke out, with nearly 1.8 million having escaped across the country's borders.

The UN refugee agency said Tuesday that thousands of people were still fleeing the country daily.

An international humanitarian conference for Sudan and its neighbors will be held in Paris on Monday's anniversary.

Co-hosted by France, Germany, and the European Union, it aims to address the shortfall in funding, with only six percent of the estimated $2.7 billion needed to address the crisis having been raised so far.

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