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Sudan’s warring parties must commit to a cease-fire, ensure access to humanitarian assistance
by OHCHR, WFP, IRC, NRC, Save the Children, agencies
11 Apr. 2024
Sudan’s warring parties must commit to an immediate cease-fire, end attacks on civilians and ensure unimpeded access to humanitarian assistance for millions of people in desperate need of aid, the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Sudan said today, as the deadly conflict edges into its second year.
Fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces has killed thousands of civilians since it began on 15 April 2023. Over six million people have been displaced internally, while almost two million refugees have fled to neighbouring countries. Nearly 24 million people are in need of aid, with 18 million suffering crisis levels of food insecurity, according to the UN.
“It’s beyond time for this devastating war to stop,” said Mohamed Chande Othman, chair of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission for the Sudan. “The warring parties must bring an immediate end to all violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, and hold the perpetrators of serious human rights violations accountable for their acts.”
“Sudan’s warring parties are legally obligated to protect civilians, but they have shown little regard for doing so,” Othman said. “We are now investigating alarming reports of repeated attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and schools.”
The Fact-Finding Mission said attacks on aid convoys and infrastructure have been reported in what appear to be clear violations of international humanitarian law.
“Aid agencies are persevering even though there have been attacks and looting of humanitarian convoys, personnel and warehouses,” said Mona Rishmawi, an expert member of the Mission.
“We are also investigating the deliberate blocking of humanitarian assistance destined for civilians living in areas controlled by the opposite side,” Rishmawi said. “The parties to the conflict must ensure and facilitate safe, free and unimpeded humanitarian access to civilian populations in grave need.”
Food security analysts have warned of a serious risk of famine, in particular in parts of the Darfur region. Cereal harvests have dropped by almost half compared to last year, and the price of grain has already doubled or tripled in war-affected areas, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.
“If rural populations cannot safely remain on their land to plant their crops or tend to their livestock, we will see a catastrophe,” said expert member Joy Ezeilo.
The Fact-Finding Mission noted the upcoming International Humanitarian Conference for Sudan and its Neighbours, which is due to be held in Paris on 15 April. The Mission hopes that the massive shortfall in donor funding, which has so far only covered six percent of the estimated 2.7 billion US dollars needed to address the crisis, will soon be addressed.
Noting that Sudan’s warring parties have failed to heed the UN Security Council’s call for a cessation of hostilities during the month of Ramadan, the Fact-Finding Mission’s experts called for an immediate ceasefire and urged them to commit to a comprehensive peace process.
The experts also urged UN Member States to exert their influence on the warring parties to stop the fighting and immediately restore peace, justice and democracy in Sudan.
“The Sudanese people have endured enough,” Othman said. “The warring parties must find a path for peace and respect for human rights in Sudan.”
* UN Security Council session: Protection of civilians in armed conflict - Sudan Food Security Crisis (20/3/24):
19 Feb. 2024
In the deafening silence of global indifference, the war in Sudan recently entered its 10-month mark.
Since April 2023, close to 8 million people have fled their homes, of whom more than 1.6 million have sought refuge in Chad, South Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia, and the Central African Republic – countries already grappling with immense difficulties.
Close to 25 million people need humanitarian assistance, including around 5 million people on the brink of famine and nearly 7 million children who are severely undernourished. Mass graves conceal evidence of widespread, systematic, and targeted mass atrocities that could be repeated at any moment as the conflict further expands.
Yet despite all of this, Sudan remains seemingly invisible to the global community.
The UN Security Council, other key multilateral institutions like the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and states with influence over the warring parties have failed to stop the violence.
And while the UN Security Council does little beyond condemn attacks on civilians and call for access to humanitarian assistance, regional efforts to resolve the crisis have been grindingly slow and too tepid.
As a result, commitments from the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces to protect civilians and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance remain unfulfilled. Those with influence over the warring parties have echoed hollow calls for ceasefires and looked away as cumbersome bureaucratic requirements hinder our aid efforts.
A worsening crisis
Their lives turned upside down, Sudanese civilians have shown extraordinary strength. They have forged local mutual aid networks, channelling tireless efforts into collecting food, cash, and medicine to aid those in dire need. They have demonstrated that assisting Sudan's most impacted regions is difficult but far from impossible. Yet despite these efforts, the humanitarian situation is still worsening.
Sudan now has the grim honour of being the world’s largest child displacement crisis, with more than 3 million children – from a population of about 23 million children – displaced by violence since mid-April last year.
Today, fighting has engulfed more than half of the country. The capital Khartoum is now a ghost city, haunted by the smell of decaying bodies left in the streets. The normally quiet neighbourhoods have become battlefields, where homes, hospitals, schools, and markets have been bombed, looted, and occupied. In southern Sudan, the towns of Kordofan are strangled as fighting has cut supply lines and roads.
In December, Al-Jazirah state, once the country’s breadbasket, witnessed intense fighting leading to a new wave of displacement, as more than half of a million people fled their homes in search of safety. The state had recently become a hub for humanitarian operations, including our own, and fighting has forced us to relocate our staff and pause our operations in the state.
Further west, in Darfur, ethnicity has determined life or death. The generation born during the 2003-2005 genocide has followed their parents' desperate exodus. More than 600,000 people have now fled into neighbouring Chad; thousands never made it, having been executed in their homes or on the way.
At the end of February, the UN Security Council will close its political mission to Sudan, at a time when its responsibility to the country’s population is greater than ever.
To allow humanitarian organisations to reach the Sudanese people, we need the UN Security Council to demand unfettered humanitarian access across Sudan. The Council should act to pass a Resolution calling for all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations under International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law, including the duty to protect civilians and the critical infrastructure they rely upon. This includes taking all feasible precautions to prevent grave violations against children and any forms of sexual and gender-based violence. The UN Security Council cannot continue to ignore its responsibility to protect civilians.
To those who have been left wounded, homeless, starving, bereft and robbed of their future, the UN Security Council, the African Union, IGAD, and regional partners must stand together and show that they will no longer stand idly by while rampant and egregious violations of international law are committed. It is time for disparate and at times competing diplomatic initiatives to become more coordinated and coherent.
Parties to the conflict must be held accountable for their commitments, and all actors must call out any continued targeting of civilians and arbitrary denials of humanitarian access. Perpetrators of all violations cannot be allowed to operate with impunity. The people of Sudan have been left to suffer in silence. More than 10 months on, it is past time that the bravery of the Sudanese people is matched by the concrete actions of the international community.
* David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee; Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children International; Jan Egeland, Secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council; Charlotte Slente, Secretary General of the Danish Refugee Council; Michelle Nunn, President and CEO – CARE USA; Stephen Omollo, CEO of Plan International
2 Feb. 2024
WFP calls for urgent, safe access to feed millions in Sudan as fighting rages across the country
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) urgently calls on Sudan’s warring parties to provide immediate guarantees for the safe and unimpeded delivery of humanitarian food assistance to conflict-hit parts of Sudan, especially across conflict lines where hungry displaced civilians are trapped and cut-off from life-saving humanitarian assistance.
The situation in Sudan is dire. Despite WFP's efforts to provide food assistance to millions of people across the country since the war broke out, almost 18 million individuals across the country are currently facing acute hunger (IPC3+).
WFP has repeatedly warned of a looming hunger catastrophe in Sudan and people must be able to access aid immediately to prevent a crisis from becoming a catastrophe.
Shockingly, the number of hungry has more than doubled from a year ago, and an estimated five million people are experiencing emergency levels of hunger (IPC phase 4) due to conflict in areas such as Khartoum, Darfur, and Kordofan.
WFP is the logistics backbone of the humanitarian response in Sudan and has ramped up lifesaving assistance in response to the deepening crisis, assisting over 6.5 million people since the war broke out. To reach families in Darfur, WFP established a cross-border route from Chad, through which over 1 million people have received food assistance. Other agencies have also used the route to deliver other much needed support.
However, WFP is currently only able to regularly deliver food assistance to 1 in 10 people facing emergency levels of hunger (IPC phase 4) in Sudan. These people are trapped in conflict hotspots, including Khartoum, Darfur, Kordofan, and Gezira, and for assistance to reach them humanitarian convoys must be allowed to cross the frontlines.
Yet it is becoming nearly impossible for aid agencies to cross due to security threats, enforced roadblocks, and demands for fees and taxation.
“The situation in Sudan today is nothing short of catastrophic. Millions of people are impacted by the conflict. WFP has food in Sudan, but lack of humanitarian access and other unnecessary hurdles are slowing operations and preventing us from getting vital aid to the people who most urgently need our support,” said Eddie Rowe, WFP Sudan Representative and Country Director in Sudan.
A vital humanitarian hub in Gezira state – which previously supported over 800,000 people a month - was engulfed by fighting in December. WFP needs to obtain security guarantees to resume operations in the area to reach vulnerable families who are trapped and in urgent need of food assistance.
Over half a million people fled Gezira in December. For many it was the second or third time they have been displaced in this conflict, which has sparked the world's largest displacement crisis. But just 40,000 of the newly displaced have so far received WFP assistance because 70 trucks - carrying enough food to feed half a million people for one month – were stuck in Port Sudan for over two weeks in January waiting for clearances, which were only secured last week.
Another 31 WFP trucks, which should have been making regular aid deliveries to the Kordofans, Kosti and Wad Madani, have been parked empty and have been unable to leave El Obeid for over three months.
“Every single one our trucks need to be on the road each and every day delivering food to the Sudanese people, who are traumatised and overwhelmed after over nine months of horrifying conflict. Yet life-saving assistance is not reaching those who need it the most, and we are already receiving reports of people dying of starvation,” said Rowe.
“Both parties to this gruesome conflict must look beyond the battlefield and allow aid organisations operate. For that, we need the uninhibited freedom of movement, including across conflict lines, to help people who so desperately need it right now, regardless of where they are,” he warned.
4 Jan. 2023
For Sudan’s people, 2023 was a year of suffering, by Martin Griffiths - UN Emergency Relief Coordinator (OCHA)
Nearly nine months of war have tipped Sudan into a downward spiral that only grows more ruinous by the day. As the conflict spreads, human suffering is deepening, humanitarian access is shrinking, and hope is dwindling. This cannot continue.
2024 demands that the international community – particularly those with influence on the parties to the conflict in Sudan – take decisive and immediate action to stop the fighting and safeguard humanitarian operations meant to help millions of civilians.
Now that hostilities have reached the country’s breadbasket in Aj Jazirah State, there is even more at stake. More than 500,000 people have fled fighting in and around the state capital Wad Medani, long a place of refuge for those uprooted by clashes elsewhere. Ongoing mass displacement could also fuel the rapid spread of a cholera outbreak in the state, with more than 1,800 suspected cases reported there so far.
The same horrific abuses that have defined this war in other hotspots – Khartoum, Darfur and Kordofan – are now being reported in Wad Medani. Accounts of widespread human rights violations, including sexual violence, remind us that the parties to this conflict are still failing to uphold their commitments to protect civilians.
There are also serious concerns about the parties’ compliance with international humanitarian law. Given Wad Medani’s significance as a hub for relief operations, the fighting there – and looting of humanitarian warehouses and supplies – is a body blow to our efforts to deliver food, water, health care and other critical aid. Once again, I strongly condemn the looting of humanitarian supplies, which undermines our ability to save lives.
Across Sudan, nearly 25 million people will need humanitarian assistance in 2024. But the bleak reality is that intensifying hostilities are putting most of them beyond our reach. Deliveries across conflict lines have ground to a halt. And though the cross-border aid operation from Chad continues to serve as a lifeline for people in Darfur, efforts to deliver elsewhere are increasingly under threat.
The escalating violence in Sudan is also imperiling regional stability. The war has unleashed the world’s largest displacement crisis, uprootng the lives of more than 7 million people, some 1.4 million of whom have crossed into neighbouring countries already housing large refugee populations.
For Sudan’s people, 2023 was a year of suffering. In 2024, the parties to the conflict must do three things to end it: Protect civilians, facilitate humanitarian access, and stop the fighting – immediately.
21 Dec. 2023
Almost 3 million children in Sudan’s Al Jazirah state at risk as violence escalates. (UNICEF)
The escalation in fighting in Sudan’s Al Jazirah state has reportedly forced at least 150,000 children from their homes in less than a week, UNICEF warned today. The eruption of fighting in Al Jazirah means that more than half of states in Sudan – 10 out of 18 – are experiencing active conflict.
An estimated 5.9 million people live in Al Jazirah State, with approximately half of the population being children.
Since the escalation of the conflict in Sudan on April 15, nearly 500,000 people fled violence elsewhere in the country to Al Jazirah State, with almost 90,000 of those seeking refuge in the state capital Wad Madani.
“Tens of thousands of vulnerable children in Al Jazirah state have been forced to flee their homes in search of safety as fighting erupts into areas that were previously considered relatively safe,” said UNICEF Executive Director Catherine Russell. “This new wave of violence could leave children and families trapped between fighting lines or caught in the crossfire, with fatal consequences. With reports of renewed fighting elsewhere in the country, millions of children in Sudan are once again at grave risk.”
Across Sudan, over 14 million children are in urgent need of lifesaving humanitarian support, the highest number ever recorded in the country. The war in Sudan has resulted in the largest child displacement crisis in the World. Close to 3.5 million children have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the fighting.
The impact of escalating violence - more than half of states in Sudan, 10 out of 18, are now experiencing active conflict - continues to threaten the lives and futures of families and children, leaving basic health and nutrition, education, water, sanitation and hygiene, and protection services cut off with frontline workers going without pay and many facilities closed, damaged, or destroyed.
UNICEF continues to call for an immediate ceasefire across Sudan, and reiterates its call for all parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian and human rights law – including ensuring that children are protected – and that rapid, safe, unimpeded humanitarian access to children and families in affected areas is facilitated. Without such access, critical lifesaving humanitarian support will be out of reach for millions of vulnerable children.

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War is savagery and brutality, everywhere and in all circumstances
by OHCHR, Humanitarian NGO Platform in Ukraine
24 Feb. 2024
UN human rights experts urge international community to step up efforts to forge peace between Russia and Ukraine. (OHCHR)
UN experts call for greater efforts by the international community to end Russia’s war against Ukraine in line with the UN Charter and find a path of peace without delay. They issued the following statement to mark two years since the Russian full-scale invasion:
“The lives of millions of civilians continue to be at stake. They are children, women and men who must always be treated with humanity and respect for their dignity. For them, peace is neither an empty word nor an abstract concept. It is the essential precondition for restoring normality to everyday life.
There is no normality when people are killed, tortured, forcibly disappeared, sexually assaulted, displaced, deported, arbitrarily detained, or exposed to toxic or radiological substances.
There is no normality when people are in fear of constant shelling and when air raid sirens sound every day, day and night, forcing people to escape to shelters.
Life is disrupted when people cannot live in their homes, use hospitals, schools and roads, because these places are under attack or destroyed. Survival is at stake when farmers are not able to work their lands because they are contaminated by landmines and explosives.
War is savagery and brutality, everywhere and in all circumstances. It affects everyone.
As time passes without any prospect of peace, the trauma of war entrenches and will lead to even more suffering and devastation.
We call for peace to be established without delay. War and aggression violate the basic principles of coexistence between peoples and nations, human rights and the UN Charter.
We support all efforts of the international community aimed at achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine consistent with the principles of the UN Charter and ensuring the protection of human rights for all. Rehabilitation, recovery and redress for victims and survivors must be provided, and the rights of minorities respected.
All perpetrators, including those exercising superior authority, must be held accountable for war crimes and other atrocities which are alleged to have been committed on a large-scale.
The missing and disappeared must be found, prisoners of war and others arbitrarily deprived of liberty released, and the forcibly deported, including Ukrainian children, returned home. These are necessary for peace, reconciliation and justice.
To date, Russia’s full-scale invasion in Ukraine has caused over 10,000 civilian deaths, an estimated 20,000 civilian injuries and an undisclosed number of combatant casualties.
Some 18 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance – almost 40 percent of Ukraine’s population. This includes over three million people living in frontline communities who face severe shortages of resources and constant bombardment.
While millions of people remain internally displaced in Ukraine, some 6 million Ukrainians, mostly women and children, have sought refuge abroad, which was one of the fastest and largest refugee exoduses in history and they currently make up the third largest refugee population in the world.
The impact of this war continues to be felt beyond Ukraine’s borders, as businesses and supply chains have been disrupted and prices of food, energy, fertiliser and other essential commodities have soared around the world, fuelling a severe global cost of living crisis.”
42 civilian casualties every day in two years of war. (Humanitarian NGO Platform in Ukraine)
Two years since the escalation of war in Ukraine, more than 10,500 civilians have been killed, including 587 children, as constant bombardments, mines, and drone attacks have left a generation traumatised, displaced and fearful for their lives, said 51 members of the Humanitarian NGO Platform in Ukraine.
With an average of 42 civilians killed and wounded per day, and recent months being particularly deadly, the group, made up of local and international organisations working in the country, is calling for the immediate protection of civilians, and reminds member states of promises made to tackle dire humanitarian needs of people in Ukraine.
More than 87% of the people killed, or 9,241 people, are casualties of explosive weapons, with many of the injuries life-changing in nature, including the loss of limbs or eyesight. The number is understood to be a vast undercount, as the UN continues to corroborate the figures. At the same time, people across Ukraine far from the frontlines also need support to rebuild their lives and recover.
“My daughter is growing up in the basement now,” says Sviatlana. She and her 7-year-old daughter decided to stay in Kherson, an area that comes under heavy bombardment... “The longest time we had in the dark without electricity was 1.5 months, so now when there is a blackout I try to joke with my daughter, ‘what is one day, we already had way worse’. …Now there is only waiting and surviving. She is just a kid and wants to play outside on the playground, but she cannot leave the basement.”
Two years of renewed fighting has destroyed lives, homes and livelihoods, leaving 14.6 million people, including nearly 3 million children, in desperate need of humanitarian assistance across Ukraine. Nearly 80% of those in need of aid also require mental health support. The poverty level in Ukraine increased five-fold – 24 percent up from 5 percent – in 2022 alone.
Because of ongoing violence, about 4 million people are still displaced within Ukraine and more than 5.9 million were forced to flee to neighboring countries. Even though 67% of those internally displaced say they want to return home someday, many are unable to return to their homes as the war has shattered their communities, and livelihoods.
Many displaced people struggle to integrate in their new communities, where it is difficult to find jobs and housing. Women make up 58% of the internally displaced, and are more likely than men to experience unemployment and dependency on humanitarian aid.
Vulnerable groups are disproportionately affected by the ongoing war - with children, older people and people with disabilities impacted by the long-term compounding effects of the crisis.
Joanna Garbalinska, Director of the Humanitarian NGO Platform in Ukraine, said: “As the war continues, life is far from normal. Civilians are living day-to-day under the threat of missiles and shells, which continue to hit populated civilian areas, inflicting death and destruction to areas near and far from the frontlines.
“The Humanitarian NGO Platform in Ukraine calls for all attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure to cease immediately, particularly in dense urban areas, as they may amount to grave violations of international humanitarian law. Civilians must always be protected from violence.
Today marks a grim milestone of the war in Ukraine. As the fighting heads into its third year since the escalation, humanitarian agencies in Ukraine remind member states of promises made to tackle this crisis. Today, humanitarian support is more needed than ever. Long-term funding commitments for humanitarian and recovery efforts – with Ukrainian civil society in the lead – are critical for the safety of civilians and for Ukraine’s future.”
Feb. 2024 (UN News)
United Nations General Assembly President Dennis Francis urged countries to stand with the people of Ukraine “in their quest for justice and peace” marking two years of Russia’s full-scale invasion of the country.
“As we reflect on the two years of anguish and hardship, let us emerge from this place with a resounding message of solidarity and unwavering support to the resilient people of Ukraine,” he said, as fresh strikes were reported on the cities of Odesa and Dnipro, just one day after deadly attacks in the Donetsk region, located in the east.
Addressing representatives of the UN’s 193 Member States gathered in the General Assembly, Mr. Francis stated that they “can neither be blind to the ongoing destruction and devastation, nor ignore the plight of the people of Ukraine.”
“This is especially so, because this year also coincides with the tenth anniversary of the 2014 attempted illegal annexation of Crimea and other Ukrainian territories by the Russian Federation,” he added.
Russia’s full-scale invasion began on 24 February 2022. Since then, thousands of people have been killed and injured, millions more uprooted, and schools, hospitals and other critical infrastructure damaged. Scores of Ukrainian children have also been forcibly deported to Russia.
Mr. Francis said the impact of this “needless war” extends far beyond the borders of Ukraine as the environment is also “the silent victim of the conflict”, while the real risk of a nuclear accident persists.
“And, ultimately, the war has affected every Member State – whether in the form of the soaring food prices or in the context of energy insecurity.”
The conflict has been a significant catalyst in undermining global geopolitics and geoeconomics, directly harming the countries involved while also impeding progress in many others, especially developing nations.
“It is actively undermining the very foundations of our UN Charter – threatening the principles of sovereignty, and territorial integrity we all committed to hold dear and to defend,” he said.
“It has disrupted international relations – at a time when unity, solidarity and cooperation are absolutely crucial to multilateral problem-solving.
Mr. Francis noted that while the 15-member UN Security Council has been paralyzed by division over the conflict, the General Assembly has condemned Russia’s aggression and demanded the immediate, complete and unconditional withdrawal of its forces from Ukrainian territory.
“Beyond condemnations, we, the United Nations, must actively work towards a comprehensive, just and sustainable peace in line with the Charter of this organization,” he said.
The Assembly President called for redoubling efforts “to end wars and usher in a future of hope elsewhere, without exception.”
Russia’s full-scale invasion has taken a devastating toll on the mental health of Ukraine's youngest citizens, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The agency said boys and girls in frontline areas have been forced to spend between 3,000 and 5,000 hours – equivalent to between four to seven months – sheltering in basements, bunkers, or a hole in the ground.
Seeking safety from missiles and drones is coming at a great cost for these children, said UNICEF Spokesperson James Elder who was in the city of Kharkiv this week, where he spoke to families.
“Around three-quarters of young people have reported needing support; a fraction of those are getting it," he said. "So, the ongoing shelling, the increased use of drones - all this is building into an awareness that children continue to be killed, and it’s hindering families’ capacity to overcome the stress and trauma inflicted by this war."
Mr. Elder added that despite education being a fundamental source of hope and stability, it is chronically disrupted and beyond reach for a substantial segment of Ukraine's children.
"Children in frontline areas have been inside a school for a single week over the past four years - two years of COVID-19 and two years of full-scale war. In the Kharkiv region, two out of 700 schools are delivering in-person learning," he said.

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