Sudan

This article summarizes the UN Report on how the Sudanese militias committed serious humanitarian and human rights violations against the civilians

 

Introduction 

This Report, detailed by Human Rights Watch, highlights severe and ongoing human rights abuses in the country, particularly in the Darfur region. The conflict, which escalated in April 2023, has led to widespread violence, including ethnically targeted killings, sexual violence, and large-scale displacement. Atrocities that have been perpetrated by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and allied militias of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF), declared to be primarily responsible for these cruelties, targeting predominantly ethnic Massalit civilians and other non-Arab minorities. 

 

Widespread Violence and Ethnic Cleansing

  • The conflict, primarily between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), has led to significant violence, particularly targeting the Massalit and other non-Arab communities in El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur. The RSF and allied Arab militias have been accused of carrying out systematic ethnic cleansing, including mass killings, sexual violence, and torture​. 

Data and Humanitarian Crisis

  • Over 300,000 people are displaced and have fled from Darfur to Chad, with many others internally displaced within Sudan. The violence has disrupted access to essential services, including healthcare and humanitarian aid. Numerous attacks on medical facilities and aid workers have further exacerbated the crisis. 

Sexual Violence

  • The Report identifies a significant increase in conflict-related sexual violence, particularly in areas like El Geneina and Khartoum. Survivors face numerous barriers to accessing care due to attacks on healthcare infrastructure and social stigma​. UN in Sudan states that by 15 December 2023, at least 118 people had been subjected to sexual violence, including rape, gang rape, and attempted rape, among them 19 children.  

Lack of Accountability

  • Despite the gravity of the situation, the Report highlights the limited action from the international community. The UN Security Council has been criticized for its inadequate response, and there have been calls for expanded arms embargoes and targeted sanctions against those responsible for the atrocities. The International Criminal Court (ICC) is investigating the recent atrocities as part of its ongoing Darfur investigation​. 

Survivor Accounts

  • Eyewitness accounts describe harrowing experiences of ethnic cleansing in El Geneina, where systematic and coordinated attacks by RSF and SAF targeted Massalit civilians. The violence included executions, mass killings, and the use of heavy weaponry against civilian areas. Many survivors have fled to refugee camps in Chad, where they continue to face harsh conditions​. 

Recommendations for International Action

The report urges the international community to take concrete steps to prevent further atrocities, including deploying additional UN staff for monitoring, imposing sanctions, and ensuring humanitarian aid can reach those in need. The UN Security Council is called upon to provide greater scrutiny and take decisive action to protect civilians and promote accountability​. As the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said: “The guns must be silenced, and civilians must be protected”.  

For a comprehensive understanding of the situation, full reports from Human Rights Watch and Genocide Watch are accessible online.  

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To read more: 

 

by Alessia Sartini

Since fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) erupted in mid-April 2023, an estimated 6.6 million people have fled their homes, taking refuge inside and outside the country, with children representing about half of the people displaced.
Sudan is now the country with the largest number of displaced people and the largest child displacement crisis in the world.

The Report reports that ACLED (Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project) estimates that more than 12,190 people have been killed since the fighting broke out in April, including 1,300 people who were killed between 28 October and 24 November. Compared to the previous four weeks, ACLED recorded a 10 per cent decrease in battles and a 38 per cent decrease in explosions and remote violence in Sudan.

According to the International Organization for Migration Displacement Tracking Matrix (IOM DTM) Sudan Monthly Displacement Overview (03), about 5.3 million people have been displaced within Sudan. People have been displaced in 5,473 locations across the country’s 18 states, an increase of 161 locations in one week.

Overall, 47 per cent of the displaced people have sought refuge across the Darfur and Kordofan regions, whereas the majority (53 per cent) of the displaced people have been observed in the northern, eastern, and central states.
Most of the people displaced, about 3.4 million (64.7 per cent of displaced), are from Khartoum and have sought shelter in River Nile, Aj Jazirah, White Nile, East Darfur, and Northern states. Most displaced people (64 per cent) live with host communities, while 12.7 per cent have taken refuge in schools and other public buildings.

In addition, about 1.3 million people crossed into neighbouring countries since 15 April, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). People have crossed into neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, and South Sudan.
The OCHA Report lists a series of collateral problems related to this huge humanitarian crisis of internally displaced persons and refugees in Sudan:

  • Grave violations were reported against children detained by RSF in Ardamat
    Eighty children have been identified among the people detained by Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Ardamata, West Darfur, according to findings of a monitoring and reporting mechanism on grave violations against childrenThe actual number of child detainees could be higher, as multiple detention facilities exist within Ag Geneina. The ICRC is reportedly working to secure the release of these children.

On 28 November 2023, World Relief (WR) distributed mats and blankets to at least 80 children and is preparing for daily monitoring of the children.
According to the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC), over 700 people detained by RSF, many of whom are children, have yet to be released. The condition of the detainees is reported to be dire.

  • Increased Gender-based violence case

All forms of GBV are increasing, the GBV sub-cluster in Sudan and service providers have received surging reports of cases of GBV including sexual violence, particularly against internally displaced persons (IDPs) fleeing from one state to another and when homes are being looted, as well as an increased number of domestic violence cases.
There are also extremely high risks of sexual violence and exploitation as women and girls are displaced, in transit, in temporary shelters, and awaiting visas at border crossings.

Service providers reported that GBV survivors are facing life-threatening consequences such as strong suicidal tendencies.
Significant funding shortfalls (less than 20 per cent of the required amount funded to date) make it difficult to meet increased needs in both IDP hosting sites and conflict-affected states and provide lifesaving GBV services.

Limited access for frontline service providers, such as national organizations and women-led organizations to funding mechanisms, is creating challenges for the continuation and scale-up of life-saving services.
Additional efforts for awareness raising are needed to build trust with the community and GBV survivors, with the increased sensitivity of GBV.

  • Suspected cholera cases have more than doubled over the past month

The number of suspected cholera cases has more than doubled over the past month and reached 5,414 cases, including 170 associated deaths as of 3 December, according to the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) and WHO Sudan Outbreaks Dashboard. The oral cholera vaccine (OCV) campaign that started last week covers about 2.2 million people.

  • Effect of conflict between SAN and RSF on civilians

In East Darfur, armed clashes erupted between SAF and RSF on 20 November in Ad Du'ayn Town of Ad Du'ayn locality, reports IOM DTM.
IOM field teams report widespread displacement across East Darfur. As a result of the violence, 30 people were reportedly killed, and 60 others were injured. The situation is tense and unpredictable.

  • Effect of inter-communal conflict on civilians

In South Darfur, inter-communal clashes renewed between Salamat and Habaniya tribesmen on 22 November in Alsiwaina and Umm Kradees Villages of Buram locality, reports IOM DTM.
As a result of the violence, 11 people were reportedly killed and about 9,400 people (1,880 families) were reportedly displaced to Buram Town.
IOM field teams also received reports of the burning of personal property in the two villages.

In North Darfur, inter-communal clashes erupted between Zagawah, Al Tanhur, and Al Burti, tribesmen against Abala tribesmen. The incident reportedly occurred following a dispute over access to land.
As a result of the violence, one person was reportedly killed and about 2,000 people (400 families) were reportedly displaced to Jakho I village in the locality.

IOM field teams also report that commercial properties and livestock were looted. The situation is similar in various other parts of the country where the tension between the local tribes is increasing day by day; all this creates conflicts inside the conflict and consequently more deaths, injured people, and damages.

In summary, the war in Sudan has led to an inexorable and extremely delicate refugee and IDP crisis, bringing with it a whole series of side effects that, once again, mainly affect the civilian population.

In Sudan, as in so many other wars and conflicts, it is not only the ordnance and weapons that kill but also the repercussions of the conflict on the population. The OCHA Report analyses and lists a number of these repercussions where the real protagonists are, one again, the civilians. Women, children, families are the main victims.

 

Original report available here:

https://reliefweb.int/report/sudan/sudan-humanitarian-update-7-december-2023-enar 

 

 By Giulia Mascia