इंडियन आवाज़     19 May 2024 11:29:46      انڈین آواز

Sudan grapples with big humanitarian crisis after year of fighting

(Last Updated On: )
People in West Darfur collect emergency food rations.
© WFP/World Relief People in West Darfur collect emergency food rations.


A year of conflict in Sudan has left thousands dead and forced millions to flee their homes. As fighting continues intermittently in the capital and elsewhere, the United Nations says the need for aid is urgent.

Armed clashes between Sudan’s military and the paramilitary RSF have escalated significantly since the outbreak of fighting on April 15, 2023.

The violence, centered around the capital Khartoum, shows no signs of easing, with devastating consequences for the civilian population.

The Sudanese people have endured “unbearable suffering” since the conflict started just over a year ago when an outbreak of fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) “brutally interrupted the political transition”, Rosemary DiCarlo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, said.

“This is a crisis of epic proportions; it is also wholly man-made,” she told ambassadors, stressing that both parties have failed to protect civilians.

Over 14,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands wounded, half the country’s population – 25 million people – need lifesaving assistance and more than 8.6 million people have been forced to flee their homes, including 1.8 million refugees.

Rosemary DiCarlo (centre), Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, briefs the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Sudan and South Sudan.
UN Photo/Manuel Elías Rosemary DiCarlo (centre), Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, briefs the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Sudan and South Sudan.

Widespread atrocities

Allegations of atrocities abound,” she said, citing reports of widespread use of sexual violence as a weapon of war, of the recruitment of children by parties to the conflict and of extensive use of torture and prolonged arbitrary detention by both parties.

She said the UN stands ready to redouble efforts with its multilateral partners – including the African Union, Intergovernmental Authority for Development, the League of Arab States and key Member States and partners – to help end hostilities and foster inclusive and effective international mediation.

She said the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, Ramtane Lamamra, has engaged with national, regional and international stakeholders to promote the coordination of mediation initiatives, and the recent humanitarian conference in Paris emphasised the need for unity of purpose and action to end the fighting in Sudan.

External actors fuelling war

At the same time, all warring parties must uphold their obligations under international law and adhere to the Jeddah Declaration of Commitment to Protect the Civilians of Sudan, Ms. DiCarlo said, calling on all actors to exercise maximum restraint and avoid further bloodshed.

However the rival armies have been able to keep fighting in no small part thanks to the material support they receive from outside the Sudan, she said, adding that these external actors continue to flout the Council’s sanctions regime to support a political settlement and to fuel the conflict.

This is illegal, it is immoral and it must stop,” she said. “At this critical moment, in addition to global support for aid, we need to redouble our efforts to achieve peace in the Sudan.”

Humanitarian conditions worsening

Edem Wosornu, director of operations and advocacy at the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said that one year on, the outlook for the people of Sudan is “bleak”.

Extremely concerning levels of conflict-related sexual violence continue to be reported, and aid workers, health workers and local volunteers are being killed, injured, harassed and arrested with impunity, she said, speaking on behalf of UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths.

In addition, the spiralling violence in recent weeks poses an extreme and immediate danger to the 800,000 civilians who reside in El Fasher and risks triggering further clashes in other parts of Darfur, where more than nine million people are in dire need of assistance, she said.

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