Statement by The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sudan and Head of the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), Mr. Volker Perthes, on the situation in Sudan
Since the eruption of conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces on 15 April 2023, the security, human rights and humanitarian situation continue to rapidly deteriorate across the country, particularly in the greater Khartoum, Darfur and Kordofan areas.
While the United Nations is at this stage unable to verify all alleged violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, information received from multiple civil society entities and human rights defenders’ networks, paint a clear picture of the devastating scale of impact on the civilian population.
In addition to the killing and injury of thousands of civilians, communities continue to grapple with severe shortages of food, access to medical supplies and restricted movement out of conflict areas. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced, including populations that had already been displaced following decades of conflict. Allegations of sexual violence against women and girls are deeply alarming.
As the situation in Darfur continues to deteriorate, I am particularly alarmed by the situation in El Geneina (West Darfur) following various waves of violence since late April which took on ethnic dimensions. While the United Nations continues to gather additional details regarding these reports, there is an emerging pattern of large-scale targeted attacks against civilians based on their ethnic identities, allegedly committed by Arab militias and some armed men in Rapid Support Force (RSF)’s uniform. These reports are deeply worrying and, if verified, could amount to crimes against humanity.
The United Nations condemns in the strongest terms all attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, whatever the form and whoever the alleged perpetrators are. It is imperative that security forces and non-state armed actors uphold their duty under international humanitarian law to respect the right to life and refrain from attacks against civilians.
While I am encouraged that in some areas, local communities and state authorities have taken proactive measures to help de-escalate and mediate, it is important to ensure that all violations are documented and protected for accountability purposes. UNITAMS will continue its efforts to monitor the situation and avail its resources to engage with all parties to reach a peaceful resolution to the conflict, in coordination with regional and international partners.