Statement by Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan, officer-in-charge of UNITAMS, Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator on the protection of civilians in Darfur
(Port Sudan, 2 November 2023) – The Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan, officer-in-charge of UNITAMS, Resident Coordinator, and Humanitarian Coordinator (DSRSG/RC/HC), Clementine Nkweta-Salami, is deeply concerned by the military escalation in Darfur and its impact on civilians.
“I am alarmed by reports that civilians are being caught in the ongoing fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Darfur, in a context of heightened intercommunal tensions, recalling the events in El Geneina in Darfur last June”, the DSRSG/RC/HC said.
Following the resumption of clashes between SAF and RSF since last Thursday in Nyala (South Darfur), Zalingei (Central Darfur), El Fasher (North Darfur), and El Geneina (West Darfur), civilians have been heavily impacted, with thousands of people displaced, many killed or wounded, and the destruction of civilian property.
“I reiterate my call on all parties to Sudan’s conflict to uphold their obligations under International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law to protect civilians in the course of hostilities. Darfurians have suffered enough” she emphasized. She further added that “civilians must be allowed to leave conflict-affected areas safely and unhindered.”
The DSRSG/RC/HC added “At a time when so much hope is being placed on the Jeddah talks to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and facilitated humanitarian access, I call on all parties to refrain from escalating and expanding the conflict. The toll this conflict is taking on civilians is unimaginable. Fighting needs to stop and parties to the conflict need to ensure the safe passage of humanitarian assistance to the millions of people in Sudan who desperately need it”.
Since fighting broke out in Sudan in April 2023, thousands have been killed, more than 5.7 million people have had to leave their homes and 25 million, more than half of the population needs humanitarian assistance.