Sudan: UN Agencies Denounce Attacks on UN Operations During Darfur Visit (18.01.2022)

A significant increase in insecurity across the region has been observed, posing a threat to aid operations and puts already vulnerable communities at risk of not getting the support they need.

EL FASHER, Sudan, January 18, 2022 – During a visit to El Fasher, the state capital of North Darfur, 16 to 17 January, UN officials from UNICEF, WFP, UNHCR and OCHA denounced the attacks on UN operations that occurred over the last few weeks.

These acts of violence constitute a direct attack on the most vulnerable people in Sudan, who have unjustly been robbed of food assistance they so desperately need. The looting forced the World Food Programme to suspend its operations in North Darfur late last year.

After assessing the destruction of WFP warehouses, the Heads of UN Agencies met with authorities, including State and Regional Governors, commanders of the Sudan Police and Armed Forces, and the State Humanitarian Aid Commissioner. The UN representatives were encouraged to see ongoing recovery of looted food and assets and the commitment by the State and Darfur Governors to investigate “with concrete conclusions, which identify perpetrators and bring them to justice in order to feel the full force of the law”.

“The Government’s commitments and responsibilities to the National Plan of Protection of Civilians must be upheld to ensure unimpeded humanitarian assistance as well as the safe implementation of the peacebuilding and development programmes. Any attacks of this nature must be swiftly investigated and should never happen again,” said Axel Bisschop, acting Humanitarian Coordinator and UNHCR Representative in Sudan.

Since November, a significant increase in insecurity across the region has been observed, posing a threat to aid operations and puts already vulnerable communities at risk of not getting the support they need. Without the rule of law, basic levels of government control and credible security forces, it becomes difficult for humanitarian operations to carry out their critical functions, providing food, health, education and other humanitarian assistance.

In 2022, there are an estimated 14.3 million people who need humanitarian assistance across Sudan, while nearly one in four people in Sudan are food insecure. The suspension of WFP operations in North Darfur could affect up to 2 million people this year.

In 2021, aid workers reached over 8.1 million people with some form of assistance in Sudan. A humanitarian response plan has been launched for 2022 aiming to provide humanitarian assistance to 10.9 million vulnerable people at the cost of $1.9 billion.

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