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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
The United Nations Secretary-General has voiced deep concerns over escalating violence in West Darfur and called Sudanese authorities to “expend all efforts” to end the fighting and protect civilians.
According to media reports, at least 83 people, including women and children, have been killed and more than 160 wounded in inter-communal clashes this weekend. Several houses are also said to have been destroyed and about 50,000 people displaced.
In a statement issued by his spokesperson on Sunday, Secretary-General António Guterres called on the Sudanese authorities to “expend all efforts to de-escalate the situation”.
He also called on them 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.”
Mr. Guterres also expressed his condolences to the bereaved families and wished a speedy recovery to the injured.
The violence occurred about two weeks after the African Union-United Nations hybrid peacekeeping mission in the region (UNAMID) ended its operations at the end of 2020. UNAMID is currently drawing down and the process is expected to complete by the end of June 2021.
Millions in need of assistance
The vast Darfur region, roughly the size of Spain, has been plagued by conflict and inter-communal tensions for years. Millions have been displaced by the violence, including many who fled into neighbouring Chad.
According to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), almost 5 million people there received humanitarian assistance between January and September 2020. Darfur is also one of the poorest regions in Sudan, with poverty rates as high as 67 per cent in Central Darfur. Several health facilities have also been closed due to lack of funds and staff.
Khartoum, 30 December 2020— On 22 December 2020, The UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2559 which ends UNAMID’s mandate on 31 December 2020. This was the culmination of a sustained process of consideration of the situation in Sudan and Darfur, including developments related to the peace process and the establishment and progress made by the transitional Government of Sudan in its quest to address the conflict in Darfur.
This latest decision of the Security Council means that Thursday 31 December will mark the end of UNAMID’s mandated operations in Darfur. The last patrols, programmatic and other mandated tasks will take place on the same day.
As of 1 January 2021, UNAMID’s troops and police personnel will focus on providing security for the Mission’s drawdown activities, personnel and assets. UNAMID will have a period of six months to undertake the drawdown, which will be conducted in a phased manner. This will involve repatriating troops, their vehicles and other equipment, separation of international and national staff as well as a sequential closure of Mission’s team sites and offices and handing them over to designated entities in line with United Nations rules.
This process should result in the withdrawal of all uniformed and civilian personnel from Sudan by 30 June 2021, except for a liquidation team that will finalise any residual issues and complete the administrative closure of UNAMID.
With UNAMID ceasing all its mandate-related activities which have been centred on supporting the peace process, protection of civilians, including facilitation of delivery of humanitarian assistance and supporting the mediation of intercommunal conflicts, the Government of Sudan will fully assume its primary role for addressing all the issues in these areas. The end of UNAMID’s mandate and its departure from Sudan does not mean the end of the international community’s support to Sudan. Indeed, UNITAMS and the United Nations Country Team will continue to support the Government of Sudan in addressing its multiple challenges related to security, political and economic challenges.