UN Secretary-General calls for an immediate stop to violence in Darfur

Armed members of Dinka Tribe, South Sudan Armed members of Dinka Tribe, South Sudan Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

18 January 2021

As violence escalates in West Darfur, the United Nations Secretary-General calls on Sudanese authorities to ensure the protection of civilians

 Over the weekend of the 16th and 17th of January 2021, clashes in West Darfur between the opposing Rizeigat and Fallata tribes killed at least 83 people, including women and children, more than 160 were wounded, and upwards of 50,000 civilians were displaced as a direct result. As the outbreak of violence occurred only about two weeks after the end of the first African Union-United Nations joint peacekeeping mission (UNAMID), United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has expressed deep concerns and has called upon Sudanese authorities to “expend all efforts to de-escalate the situation.”

The Darfur region has been the site of conflicts for many years. The United Nations-African Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur began its operations in 2007, and had been a leading force in peace talks between opposing forces until recently. Since the ousting of former President Omar al-Bashir in April 2019, the civilian majority-led administration has been trying to stabilize the country that was plagued by  civil wars spanning three decades, which left approximately 300,000 people dead and displaced 2.5 million others. In October 2020, the transitional government of Sudan and a coalition of armed groups called the Sudan Revolutionary Movement signed a Peace Agreement aimed at putting an end to the state of conflict. However, the agreement failed to restore order in the vast and rural western region of the country, particularly due to the poverty and the scarceness of resources that still plagues the nation. Accordingly, inter-communal violence and group rivalry between ethnic minority farmers has persisted on issues such as land ownership and access to water, inevitably creating internal tensions and resulting in the deaths of many civilians.

Following the deadly clashes that occurred over the past weekend, Secretary-General Guterres expressed his condolences to the families of the victims, and has urged the Sudanese transitional government to “bring an end to the fighting, restore law and order and ensure the protection of civilians, in accordance with the Government’s National Plan for Civilian Protection.”


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Author: Sara Mariani; Editor: Maxime Grenier

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