Sudan: Thousands of Ethiopians seek asylum in Sudan’s Blue Nile State (23.02.2021)

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

23 February 2021

Several thousand people fleeing escalating violence in Ethiopia’s Benishangul Gumuz region have sought safety in Sudan’s Blue Nile State over the last month.

Tensions have been high in the Metekel Zone since 2019 with several reports of inter-communal attacks in the region. The situation has rapidly escalated in the past three months. The federal Government of Ethiopia declared a state of emergency in the area on 21 January 2021.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is working closely with Sudanese authorities and partners to assess the situation and respond to the humanitarian needs of the newly arrived, many of whom have arrived in hard-to-reach locations along the border.

Benishangul Gumuz is in western Ethiopia. The current displacement is not directly related to conflict in the country’s northern Tigray region which have pushed more than 61,000 to seek safety in Sudan in recent months.

Out of the 7,000 people estimated to have arrived in Blue Nile State, nearly 3,000 have been registered. This number is expected to increase as the verification exercise continues in all the locations where refugees are being hosted.

In the past weeks, UNHCR and partners have already provided humanitarian assistance to nearly 1,000 refugees in Yabatcher, on Sudan-Ethiopia border. Refugees have received food, access to health, water and sanitation facilities, and aid supplies.

The majority of these asylum-seekers are living among the Sudanese host community who continue to welcome people seeking safety. UNHCR and partners will continue to ramp up the response to support the government in its response.

Ethiopia: Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Press Statement on Ethiopia-Sudan Border (18.02.2021)

Sudan: Conflict – Flash Update #9 West Darfur As of 16 February 2021 (16.02.2021)

Ethiopia-Sudan Tensions: Continued clashes on Sudanese territory

It started with new skirmishes in December 2020. When there was two times skirmishes between the Sudanese and Ethiopian troops. There was even Amhara Para-Military (Fano) involved in attacks on Sudanese soil. Therefore, it seemed deliberate from the Ethiopian side to attack border-points and venture into the Al-Fashaqa region.

Now, the last 48 hours there been reported of two more incidents. First yesterday on the 9th February 2021 one more Ethiopian Soldier died inside Sudanese territory. Today on the 10th February 2021 there been reports of 5 Ethiopian Soldiers killed and one Sudanese Soldiers on Sudanese territory. It seems more like a steady planned attacks from the Ethiopian side. As the Sudanese has re-established and sent brigades to control this border towards the Tigray Region.

They have now been doing this since the 13th December 2020. It isn’t one rare incident where one soldier went astray and got lost on a adventure close to the Sudanese border. No, this has happened on a steady occurrence since then. That should strike a warning. It should also make you wonder why they are trespassing and using violent means across the borders. If the Ethiopian state have plan or even a military operation to be extended from the Law Enforcement Operation, which it started on the 4th November 2020. Since they already moved several of forces to the Northern Ethiopia for that reason alone.

That is why you can start to imagine that the leaders, the commanders-in-chief had the idea of taking more land to be greater and more powerful by doing it to someone who wasn’t prepared for the invasion. The Sudanese in transition after Al-Bashir and having erratic protests would be a fitting target for a foreign invasion. That is maybe why Prime Minister Abiy saw a reason to get back the Al-Fashaqa Region from Sudan. So, that he could access and annex a valuable farmland.

We should wonder why they are doing this and ordering such skirmishes. You can also ask yourself what it is to gain to do this. The Ethiopian government already asked to calm down and stop their operation in Tigray. While they are escalating here, which is creating a bigger international crisis. As they making enemies of their neighbours, which they are so supposed to be negotiating agreements in concern of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Yes, Ethiopia is a sovereign, but needs allies to get best deal as possible in concern to share the Nile water. Therefore, making neighbours in combat-mode. They are most likely not friendly or sharing of things with mutual interests. As they are remembering who shot at them last and it just happened to Ethiopian army.

If Abiy and his Prosperity Party thinks this is the way to get more friends. I hate to say, but you make more enemies. As you attack and try to invade other people’s land. That will end hostile and will be fatal. Just like the recent two days has proven. This sort of play will end up in no good and there is no positive silver lining. There is only death. Just like all wars, but that is what a war-lord is promoting.

A warlord that is happy to create more havoc and political crisis. Maybe he will invite Prime Minister Hamdok for another short meeting in Addis Ababa before sending him packing without any solution. Also, order a new group to attack Sudan after that meeting. Because that happened in December and could easily happened again.

It seems like this will not be over soon. The Republic’s have already started and the war-drums are hit. However, we still have to hope that peace will conquer this. Nevertheless, the warlord of Addis seems to be striking the drums, again and again. Peace.

Sudan: UN independent experts call for ‘justice, accountability and reparation to victims’ in Sudan (02.02.2021)

An intercommunal violence on 16 and 17 January led to clashes between Arab nomads and the non-Arab ethnic Masalit in West Darfur.

NEW YORK, United States of America, February 2, 2021 – Recent intercommunal violence and deadly attacks in Darfur have prompted two independent UN human rights experts on Monday to urge the Government of Sudan to urgently implement strong measures to ensure the safety of civilians, including the internally displaced.

“We urge the Government of Sudan to step up its efforts to protect civilians, including those internally displaced, prevent further displacements and advance solutions to internal displacement by promptly and fully implementing its National Plan for the Protection of Civilians,” said Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, and Agnes Callamard, Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions.

On 18 January, clashes between the Rezigat and Falata communities in El Gereida locality, in South Darfur, reportedly left 72 people dead, more than 70 injured and about 100 families displaced.

And intercommunal violence on 16 and 17 January led to clashes between Arab nomads and the non-Arab ethnic Masalit in West Darfur, which reportedly affected the Krinding and Abu Zar camps for internally displaced persons. Some 163 people were reported killed, 217 injured and 50,000 people displaced.

Moreover, civilian property was damaged and looted.

The UN experts upheld that a thorough investigation be conducted and the perpetrators be brought to justice.

Darfur concerns

While welcoming the establishment of a committee to investigate the recent West Darfur attacks, the UN experts encouraged the Government to also investigate the violence in South Darfur.

“Justice, accountability and reparation to victims are essential to address insecurity, prevent further violence and displacement, and support durable solutions for internally displaced persons”, they said.

The experts also expressed grave concern for the internally displaced persons in the Darfur region, particularly the long-term displaced.

“Many have been living in protracted displacement in dire conditions, and the challenges they face to achieve durable solutions, in particular due to insecurity and land disputes, are disturbing”, the Special Rapporteurs spelled out.

The independent experts are currently in contact with the authorities.

Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The positions are honorary and the experts are not paid for their work.

Sudan: WFP’s response to inter-communal violence in Darfur, Sudan (29.01.2021)

This is a summary of what was said by WFP spokesperson Tomson Phiri – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.

GENEVA – The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is ramping up assistance to displaced people following a spate of inter-communal violence in West and South Darfur which has forced over 100,000 people to flee in search of safety.

An estimated 70,000 of the displaced people are gathered in over 70 centres across Geneina city in West Darfur. Additional gathering points have been identified as people continue to arrive where WFP and Sudan Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) joint population assessments are being planned. The total number of displaced people is feared to exceed 100,000.

WFP started distributions of emergency food assistance to people inside Geneina, so far reaching 40,000 people in 30 of the 71 centres. Assistance comprises staples – sorghum, pulses and salt to make meals – as well as high energy biscuits, which provide immediate nutrition for children and adults without the need for water or cooking. Food distributions to the remainder of the affected population are ongoing within the city while food distributions outside Geneina will start once the verification exercise is complete.

WFP is extremely concerned with the continued violence. November to January is when farmers are engaged in the winter season planting and the main season harvesting of millet and sorghum. Even a momentary burst of violent disruption of livelihood activities, can have a long-lasting impact. If a planting or harvesting period is missed, it may not be resumed. If livestock cannot be moved to pasture or water, they may not survive. The biggest loser in all this, are the poor households whose food security situation is further compromised.

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The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change.

Sudan: OHCHR – Press briefing notes on Sudan – Darfur, 22 January 2021 (22.01.2021)

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani\ Location: Geneva\ Date: 22 January 2021

We have received deeply disturbing information about two deadly incidents of inter-communal violence in Darfur over the past week, and we fear that the lack of security and chronic impunity in the region leaves it vulnerable to further serious violence.

Between Saturday and Sunday, 16-17 January, 160 people were reportedly killed and 215 injured in clashes between armed men of the Masalit and Arab communities around Krinding camp for internally displaced people in West Darfur. Following the murder of an Arab tribal leader, allegedly by a Masalit man, armed men from the Arab community opened fire at the mostly Masalit IDPs in the camp and set many shelters on fire. In spite of measures by the Governor of West Darfur to bring the situation under control on Saturday, violent clashes erupted between armed men from both communities on Sunday in the region, which also resulted in mass displacement. A nearby village was also set on fire.

In a separate incident, on Monday 18 January, 72 people were reportedly killed and 73 others were injured in South Darfur’s Gereida locality following clashes between armed men from the Falata tribe and the Reizigat tribe. The incident was triggered by the killing of a 10-year-old boy from the Reizigat tribe on 17 January after his search for his camels caused him to cross into land claimed by the Falata tribe. The following day, Rezigat armed men launched an attack on a Falata village. Both sides exchanged fire, causing deaths, injuries and displacement. We understand that the state security committee has been attempting to contain the situation in South Darfur through the deployment of security forces to the area.

These incidents raise serious concerns about the imminent risk of further violence in Darfur, in an environment where decades-old ethnic and tribal tensions that were further stoked by the previous regime continue to fester. There are severe gaps in protection by State authorities, as well as a lack of accountability for violations. Local health facilities have reported being unable to cope with the high number of casualties.

We call on the Government of Sudan to promptly ensure the full implementation of its National Plan for the protection of civilians, and to restore public order and the rule of law in Darfur. We urge the authorities to prioritize carrying out thorough and effective investigations with a view to promptly ensuring that individual perpetrators are brought to justice — to break the cycle of armed citizens taking the law into their own hands to avenge attacks on members of their communities. Victims and their families have the right to redress.

We urge the judicial authorities to take immediate action on the findings of a previous report into intercommunal violence that occurred between 29-31 December 2019 in El Geneina, West Darfur, as a crucial step in the fight against impunity.

We stand ready to continue engaging constructively with the Government, including through our presence in Sudan, on the many human rights challenges the country continues to face.

Sudan: Ten children killed and seven injured in recent wave of violence in West Darfur, Sudan (22.01.2021)

Statement by Abdullah Fadil, UNICEF Representative in Sudan

KHARTOUM, 22 January 2021 – “It is one week since the violence in El-Geneina began and one year since the last flare-up of similar senseless violence that killed over 80 people, including children, and displaced many thousands more.

“Over 150 people have now lost their lives, including 10 children, the youngest under five years old.

“Too many lives lost. Too many young futures cut short.

“UNICEF appeals to the tribal leaders in the area, to the young people and to tribes in west Darfur to stop fighting.

Despite the many challenges the Government of Sudan faces, we appeal to the authorities prioritize the protection of civilians and strengthening the application of rule of law. We must finally address the long-term root causes of conflict, and lay the foundations for lasting peace.

“I served in El-Geneina between 2009 and 2010. It pains me that 10 years on, the level of violence in the streets of this beautiful city is only escalating.”

Sudan: Statement by the Humanitarian Coordinator a.i. for Sudan, Babacar Cissé, on 20/01/2021 about the recent killing of three aid workers (20.01.2021)

Sudan: Flash Update #2 – Conflict, Ag Geneina, West Darfur, 20 Jan 2021 (20.01.2021)