Sudan’s Dire Situation Alarms Rights Groups in Urgent Plea for Assistance before UN General Assembly

Sudan's Dire Situation Alarms Rights Groups In Urgent Plea For Assistance Before Un General Assembly
  • Six million people in Sudan are at risk of famine.
  • Only 26% of the required R48.83 billion in aid funding has been provided.
  • The UN’s representative in Sudan has been instructed to leave the country due to criticism of the government.

Over 50 human rights groups primarily operating in Africa are calling for attention to be given to war-torn Sudan, as global leaders gather in New York for the 78th General Assembly of the United Nations.

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Tragedies in Morocco and Libya have recently received significant aid support, while tens of thousands of people in Sudan are in desperate need of immediate assistance.

Unfortunately, in Sudan, the situation is deteriorating rapidly, and humanitarian organizations are concerned that a lack of focus may allow the conflict to escalate further.

The war in Sudan, now in its fifth month, is being fought between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) led by General Abdul Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. This conflict has caused immense harm to civilians.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the conflict and associated atrocities have extended to the western region of Darfur and the southern states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

HRW reports that civilians are deliberately targeted, sexual violence is increasing, and those who try to expose these horrors, such as journalists and human rights defenders, are being silenced.

The situation for the civilian population has become precarious as they are caught in the crossfire between two powerful warlords.

Most countries with embassies in Sudan have evacuated their personnel, except for the UN, which was recently given a four-month notice for its representative, Volker Perthes, to leave the country.

In a briefing to the UN Security Council, Perthes highlighted the tragic human rights abuses resulting from this conflict, emphasizing that both sides are responsible for gross violations of human rights.

According to the UN’s data, the conflict has caused 5,000 deaths, 12,000 injuries, and forced over a million people into exile in neighboring countries.

Approximately six million people are on the brink of famine, and 42% of the total population, or more than 20 million people, are suffering from severe food insecurity.

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Hundreds of children have died from starvation, and 80% of the country’s largest hospitals have closed due to concerns about clinics and doctors nationwide.

In a joint statement, the human rights groups convey that Sudan has reached a point of no return, and mediation efforts have failed to stop the warring parties’ flagrant abuses.

They suggest adopting a more unified approach that better represents the voices and perspectives of Sudanese civilians, especially women, youth, and representatives from historically marginalized regions.

Lack of funding

These groups express their readiness to call for increased aid for Sudan.

Last week, the UN’s Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, stated that humanitarian needs in Sudan were escalating while funding remained critically low. He emphasized the urgent need for life-saving assistance and called for access and funding to address the crisis.

The approved humanitarian response plan for Sudan amounts to approximately R50 billion, but only 26% of that amount has been raised so far.

The human rights agencies also lamented the slow delivery of aid to affected areas due to the lack of safe corridors established by the SAF and RSF. However, they urge donors not to be discouraged.

They stated, “Sudan’s warring parties continue to hinder the delivery of aid. Donors should increase their humanitarian funding for local and international organizations providing vital assistance in Sudan and neighboring countries.”

Furthermore, they cautioned the UN about the escalating costs of inaction.

“The UN Security Council should move beyond words and take action by initiating negotiations to pass a resolution that challenges the culture of impunity, reaffirms the international obligation to provide safe and unhindered humanitarian access, and redirects international efforts to better protect Sudan’s most vulnerable populations.

“The consequences of not acting are too grave to fathom.”

The 78th General Assembly of the United Nations will focus on the theme of rebuilding trust, reigniting global solidarity, and accelerating action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals for peace, prosperity, progress, and sustainability for all.

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