Sudan: Despite Implementation of Peace Agreement, Insecurity Persists in Darfur, Sudan Sanctions Committee Chair Tells Security Council (14.09.2021)

The Panel of Experts on the Sudan updated the Committee about the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement, regional dynamics, the status of the armed groups in the region.

NEW YORK, United States of America, September 14, 2021 – Measures ‘No Longer in Line with Reality on the Ground’ Delegate Stresses

While Sudan’s post-revolution reforms continue to register progress and peace is largely holding, implementation of the 2020 Juba Peace Agreement remains slow and lingering intercommunal violence continues to plague the Darfur region, the Security Council heard today as the head of that country’s sanctions committee presented his quarterly update.

Sven Jürgenson (Estonia), briefing the 15-member organ in his capacity as Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan, outlined developments for the period 14 June to 14 September. He said the Committee held its first in-person informal consultation since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and received the Sudan Panel’s interim report as well as a briefing on its contents. It later issued a press release.

Among other things, he said the Panel of Experts on the Sudan updated the Committee about the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement, regional dynamics, the status of the armed groups in the region, intercommunal violence and human rights violations. Both the Government of the Sudan and the Juba Peace Agreement signatory movements continued to promote peace in the Sudan, including Darfur. However, the Panel made clear that — except for power-sharing arrangements — the Peace Agreement’s implementation has encountered delays. Meanwhile, the regional context remains mainly favourable to the peace process in Darfur.

Regarding the activities of armed movements, he said the Panel informed the Committee that the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW) remains present in the Jebel Marra region. At the same time, there was some sporadic fighting during the reporting period in northern Jebel Marra between SLA/AW and Government forces. Mining revenues have helped SLA/AW build up its capability in terms of recruitment, training and weapons. In addition, the Juba Peace Agreement signatory movements have returned to Darfur, some of them engaging in recruitment, while also keeping a number of troops and weapons in Libya.

He reported the Panel’s assertion that, due to delays in the Peace Agreement’s implementation, insecurity persists in many areas of Darfur. “Despite the Government’s commitment to improve security, the Panel reported that intercommunal violence, attacks against civilians by the SLA/AW factions, human rights violations, including acts of sexual violence in conflict were recorded,” he said. In that context, enhancing the protection of civilians in Darfur continues to be of paramount importance and needs to be expedited. The Panel also cited the need for more efforts to address the underlying drivers of the Darfur conflict, including competition for scarce local resources.

Turning to the travel ban and asset freeze, he said the Panel reported that implementation remains a challenge. A new instance of a travel ban violation occurred when a listed individual, Musa Hilal, travelled to Chad in April 2021. Reiterating that the targeted measures and the arms embargo on Darfur serve the sole purpose of helping the Sudan to achieve peace, he said the Committee is assisting with the upcoming review of sanctions in order to best support the country in that ultimate goal.

Responding to that briefing, Abdalla Adlan Ali Ombali (Sudan) reiterated his Government’s longstanding and principled position rejecting the sanctions imposed on the country. “These sanctions are no longer in line with the reality on the ground in Darfur, compared to 2005 when they were imposed,” he stressed, adding that it is incumbent upon the Council to address the new reality in his country. Indeed, the situation in Darfur continues to improve every day, with a ceasefire currently holding since it was first announced. The Government is implementing the Juba Peace Agreement, it has deployed a joint civilian protection force, and it is working to address the challenges facing internally displaced persons and refugees.

Adding that the Government continues to engage the SLA/AW faction and prevent intercommunal violence, he pointed out that it is also working to promote and protect the rights of children. Dedicated units for the protection of women and children have been deployed throughout the Sudanese Armed Forces, which are responding swiftly to instances of violence. Underlining the need to speed up the capacity-building of the Sudanese Forces to combat the activities of armed groups, he said lifting the sanctions will help Sudan more quickly become a country that lives in peace throughout its borders. The Government will continue to cooperate closely with the Council, but it will not accept any sanctions expansions that do not meet with its approval, including measures that are unreasonable or that cannot be measured against clear benchmarks. “We expect to be treated fairly and objectively,” he emphasized.

Sudan: Security Council Adopts Presidential Statement Recognizing Progress to Advance Peace, Security in Darfur Following Hybrid Operation Drawdown (02.08.2021)

The Council stressed the need for continued progress to consolidate peace and security.

NEW YORK, United States of America, August 2, 2021 – The Security Council today recognized the progress made in Darfur since 2007 to advance peace and security, following the complete drawdown of the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID) on 30 June, as it looked forward to receiving an assessment of lessons learned from the experience no later than 31 October.

 

In a presidential statement (document S/PRST/2021/14) presented by the representative of India, Council President for August, the 15-member organ took note of the oral report delivered by the Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support on 27 July — titled “The Reports of the Secretary-General on Sudan and South Sudan” — which included details on UNAMID’s drawdown and liquidation phase.

Through the statement, the Council reiterated its call on Sudan’s Government — as well as the Juba Peace Agreement signatories and non-signatory armed opposition movements — to cooperate fully with the United Nations and the African Union during UNAMID’s liquidation phase, including by fully respecting all provisions of the Status of Forces Agreement of 9 February 2008.  It welcomed the 4 March signing of the Framework Agreement between the United Nations and Sudan, urging the Government to ensure that handed-over UNAMID team sites are used exclusively for civilian end-user purposes.  It also took note of the Operation’s near-completed efforts to destroy expired ammunition.

“The Security Council commends the people of Darfur for their resilience and cooperation with UNAMID to contribute to peace efforts,” members said through the statement, likewise commending the “unique partnership” between the United Nations and the African Union and the contribution of troop- and police-contributing countries and donors in support of UNAMID’s mandate.

While recognizing improvements in security conditions in some areas of Darfur, the Council also stressed the need for continued progress to consolidate peace and security, including through comprehensive implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement.  It urged Sudan to swiftly implement its National Plan for Civilian Protection (document S/2020/429) and encouraged further steps to promote and protect women’s rights and their full, equal and meaningful participation in all social, political and economic aspects of life.  More broadly, it underscored the importance of continued support by bilateral, regional and multilateral partners.

The meeting began at 11:39 a.m. and ended at 11:40 a.m.

Sudan: UN-African Union Mission in Darfur in final shutdown phase (28.07.2021)

The mission has so far handed over some $41 million in facilities and equipment to local authorities.

NEW YORK, United States of America, July 28, 2021 – Practically all peacekeepers and staff have now left the hybrid UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), in line with its drawdown plan, a senior UN official told the Security Council on Tuesday.

Atul Khare, Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support, updated ambassadors on progress towards the mission’s closure and final liquidation, following the end of its mandate last December after 13 years protecting civilians uprooted by conflict.

Nearly 6,000 troops and police were repatriated from the Sudanese province ahead of the drawdown deadline of 30 June, and nearly 1,200 civilian staff were separated from the mission.

Expedited timelines achieved

The UN General Assembly recently approved nearly $80 million to support final closure no later than 30 June 2022.

Mr. Khare was in Sudan earlier this month, where he met with senior officials as part of efforts to ensure progress remains on track.

“All leaders shared their satisfaction at the successful achievement of the expedited timelines and discussed ways to resolve outstanding issues related to the liquidation and wider transition implications,” he reported.

Only a 360-strong Guard Unit remains at UNAMID to protect staff working on the exit, and the remaining UN assets, though primary responsibility for security rests with the Sudanese Government.

Remaining UN assets in Darfur are being disposed of in two phases, the first of which is already underway.

‘Enormous’ inventory list

The mission has so far handed over some $41 million in facilities and equipment to local authorities, but 10 of the 14 sites reportedly have suffered “varying degrees of destruction and theft”, which Mr. Khare called a major loss for local communities.

“I note that although authorities have made commitments to investigate these incidents, various Sudanese interlocutors have nevertheless suggested that these events resulted from underlying tensions among groups locally, along with concerns, whether real or perceived, surrounding equitable access to the facilities and equipment that was handed over,” he said.

Mr. Khare pointed to the potential of properties such as the UNAMID logistics base in El Fasher. Its numerous assets include more than 1,000 self-contained housing units, a hospital facility, a power generation and distribution network, a fuel storage depot, and water storage and purification equipment.

Hundreds of vehicles and other moveable property are also being stored there.

Pure water for a million

UNAMID also currently holds enough sodium hypochlorite salt to purify roughly seven billion litres of water, sufficient to meet the drinking and cooking needs for one million people for a year.

“It is critical that the Government of Sudan makes every effort to ensure that this enormous reserve of facilities and equipment is sustainably applied to national imperatives for civilian use,” he said.

Although some $8 million in equipment has been transferred to other UN field operations, or to a peacekeeping reserve in Italy, Mr. Khare stressed that the bulk will be donated to the Sudanese authorities for civilian use.

“To this end, during my recent visit to Sudan, I implored all government interlocutors to emphasize the immediate development of a single, holistic donation plan, with input and agreement from Government interlocutors at the national and local levels,” he said.

Handover challenges

The UN intends to gradually handover the El Fasher site to the authorities, starting in November, a process that would lead to the phased reduction of the Guard Unit.

“For all this to occur in an orderly and speedy fashion, I must raise the issue of the armed movements that have stationed forces around the El Fasher compound since the beginning of June,” Mr. Khare told the Council.

“After an initial period of confusion among these groups which led to the disruption of UNAMID movements, and, in some cases, harassment of United Nations personnel and vendors, movements have for the most part proceeded as needed in the recent weeks.”

However, he said coordination and leadership among these groups is critical if the liquidation process is to proceed smoothly “for the long-term sustainable benefit of Sudan and its people.”

Domestic Violence, Forced Marriage, Have Risen in Sudan: UN-Backed Study (20.07.2021)

Deteriorating economic conditions since 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic have fuelled an increase in domestic violence and forced marriage in Sudan, a UN-backed study has revealed.

NEW YORK, United States of America, July 20, 2021 – Voices from Sudan 2020, published this week, is the first-ever nationwide qualitative assessment of gender-based violence (GBV) in the country, where a transitional government is now in its second year.

Addressing the issue is a critical priority, according to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Government’s Combating Violence against Women Unit (CVAW), co-authors of the report.

“The current context of increased openness by the Government of Sudan, and dynamism by civil society, opens opportunities for significant gains in advancing women’s safety and rights,” they said.

Physical violence at home 

The report aims to complement existing methods of gathering data and analysis by ensuring that the views, experiences and priorities of women and girls, are understood and addressed.

Researchers found that communities perceive domestic and sexual violence as the most common GBV issues.

Key concerns include physical violence in the home, committed by husbands against wives, and by brothers against sisters, as well as movement restrictions which women and girls have been subjected to.

Another concern is sexual violence, especially against women working in informal jobs, but also refugee and displaced women when moving outside camps, people with disabilities, and children in Qur’anic schools.

Pressure to comply

Forced marriage is also “prominent”, according to the report. Most of these unions are arranged between members of the same tribe, or relatives, without the girl’s consent or knowledge.

Meanwhile, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) remains widespread in Sudan, with varying differences based on geographic location and tribal affiliation.  Although knowledge about the illegality and harmfulness of the practice has reached community level, child marriage and FGM are not perceived as key concerns.

Women’s access to resources is also severely restricted.  Men control financial resources, and boys are favoured for access to opportunities, especially education. Verbal and psychological pressure to comply with existing gender norms and roles is widespread, leading in some cases to suicide.

The deteriorating economic situation since 2020, and COVID-19, have increased violence, especially domestic violence and forced marriage, the report said. Harassment in queues for essential supplies such as bread and fuel has also been reported.

Data dramatically lacking 

Sudan continues to move along a path to democracy following the April 2019 overthrow of President Omar Al-Bashir who had been in power for 30 years.

Openly discussing GBV “has not been possible for the last three decades”, according to the report.

“GBV data is dramatically lacking, with no nation-wide assessment done for the past 30 years, and a general lack of availability of qualitative and quantitative data,” the authors said.

To carry out the assessment, some 215 focus group discussions were held with communities: 21 with GBV experts, as well as a review of existing studies and assessments.

Research was conducted between August and November 2020, encompassing 60 locations and camps, and the data was scanned through a software for qualitative analysis, followed a model first used in Syria.

Joint UN Press Release – UN agencies in Sudan reach conflict-affected communities in non-government-controlled areas for first time in a decade (13.06.2021)

United Nations humanitarian agencies have not been able to reach or provide life-saving assistance to support people in the five locations since 2011.

KHARTOUM, Sudan, June 13, 2021 – For the first time in ten years, United Nations humanitarian agencies have been able to access conflict-affected communities in the five non-governmental areas controlled by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) El Hilu in South Kordofan and Blue Niles states of Sudan.

A series of humanitarian missions to the five isolated enclaves has concluded, just as renewed peace talks between the Government of Sudan and SPLM-N are ongoing in Juba, South Sudan. These five areas have largely been cut-off from support over the last decade and the missions’ findings indicate people are in dire need of improved food security, education, health, and water and sanitation services.

“This response marks a significant breakthrough in humanitarian access and response to conflict-affected communities previously unreached by UN humanitarian assistance. We commend the local efforts to support essential needs during the years of hardship. The humanitarian community in Sudan is calling for increased access and critically needed assistance to support these marginalized communities,” said Khardiata Lo N’diaye, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General and Resident Coordinator/Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan.

United Nations humanitarian agencies have not been able to reach or provide life-saving assistance to support people in the five locations since 2011, when conflict broke out between the Government of Sudan and the SPLM-N. Gaining humanitarian access to these communities provides a critical opportunity to improve lives and rebuild livelihoods.

“Communities in these areas have been struggling and surviving on little or nothing for a decade. Access for humanitarian agencies so they can increase their assistance to these vulnerable communities is critical. With improved food security and other opportunities, families will be able to reintegrate with the rest of Sudan and start to recover and rebuild,” said Eddie Rowe, United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) Country Director in Sudan.

WFP delivered 100 metric tons of nutritious biscuits for 25,000 school children in 83 schools on the five missions. This was the first assistance that people in these isolated areas had received from the UN in the last decade due to conflict and access constraints. A lack of food for students is one of the main challenges Page 2 of 3 in maintaining school enrolment in these isolated areas. Providing school meals is among the top priorities for WFP’s response as access continues to open.

“Whilst these missions mark a major development, we need to ensure that humanitarian access to children and communities in need is always granted. No conditions should ever be set on access; humanitarian assistance should be provided at all times and from all places to those that need it. Findings from this mission are bleak. These children have been entirely ‘left behind’. We have to act now to ensure these children have a future. Collectively, efforts must be made to ensure access and sustain and scale up assistance,” said Abdullah Fadil, UNICEF Representative in Sudan.

Expanding humanitarian access to SPLM-N controlled enclaves is crucial to providing urgent assistance to an estimated 800,000 people in these areas, who desperately need relief following years of isolation. Ramping up support will help stabilize communities and pave the path for peacebuilding efforts, while reinforcing the UN’s commitment to assist marginalised populations in Sudan.

The UN World Food Programme (WFP), the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) participated in missions over the last six weeks to five isolated areas in SPLM-N El Hilu controlled areas including Zozak and Amora in Blue Nile State and Kau/Nyaro, Rashad/New Tegali, and Western Jebels in South Kordofan State.

Opinion: Hemeti will challenge the Gods

The Commander of Rapid Support Forces (RSF) the former Janjaweed, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemeti” is now challenging the state and the Sovereign Council. As he has not accepted to fully integrate the militia into the army.

RSP is already semi-autonomous, but by the act in government from 2017. The powers of the President can still command it. Therefore, the manner in which the law is created. It is creating a hard way to find ways to measure it. As it was an autonomous unit, but can be commanded by the President. This is maybe why the Sovereign Council and the Transitional Government want it under the same umbrella and not run as a separate outfit anymore. Especially, when the integrity and the power imbalance it might create.

The National Army is about 110,000 soldiers. While the RSF is about 20,000 militia men. Therefore, the size of RSF is substantial. Though, Hemeti is overplaying his hand here. Al-Burhan is the President (Chairman) of the Sovereign Council and Commander of the Armed Forces. By the laws of RSF Act of 2017. This means Al-Burhan can direct the RSF the way he see fit.

That means the RSF have to comply. The RSF Act was created for Al-Bashir’s wishes and whims. However, he is no longer the President and Commander-in-Chief. At this current time Al-Burhan runs as the President with Hamdok as the Prime Minister. Therefore, Hemeti which happens to be the Deputy of Al-Burhan doesn’t have the mandate to rebel against this.

Yes, the law is made in a way, which creates a lot of issues. Certainly, it was wilfully done so. In such a way that Al-Bashir could put all the blame on Hemeti and say he acted on his own merit. Instead of having to take responsibility for the actions made by the RSF in Darfur. Now, the same protocols are stifling the integration and furthering the process of a peaceful transition.

Hemeti doesn’t want to give up now. After years as a General and continued to rise to prominence. He has tried to make himself look more feasible and trade-off as a political broker. Still, everyone knows his past and willingness to dip into the coffers and get dirty. This man is willing to sell arms to Tchad or the Central African Republic. His willing to kill civilians and be a militia leader. So, it is not like his a man of protocol and a man of procedure. The RSF web page proves that as well.

Now, his willing to bet on the prestige and the ambition on his past. That he has the ability to overcome this obstacle and loose some sort of independence from the army. While the law, which he himself referred to recently. Is stating that the President can direct it and appoint it’s leadership. Meaning, if he Hemeti goes hard on this. Al-Burhan can in effect demote him and appoint someone else who is willing to accept the fate of the RSF in the SAF. That is just a mere fact and Hemeti should be aware of that himself.

His 20,000 combating a strong national army is a bloodshed in awaiting. Hemeti already have a war-torn Darfur and is known for his attacks on civilians there. Not like there is much love lost between the general public and the RSF. They still remember how the RSF was used to quell the revolution and civilians demonstrating against Al-Bashir. Therefore, he will not garner their love anytime soon.

This is why Hemeti should accept this plight. Swallow his pride and be happy that his even the Deputy in the Sovereign Council. That even with his horrific and depressing history, which he should have answered for in the court. The lives and the families he has hurt over the years. Still, he has rose to power and sitting at the high table. That man should feel lucky and not take this for granted.

Al-Burhan and the rest of the Sovereign Council is in it’s right to integrate and get the RSF into the SAF. That is just natural and not continue the agony of having it separate. Hemeti should understand that and just move-on. If he does… he will still have the reigns and be considered influential. However, if he gambles this all now.

Both the laws, the people and the Sovereign Council will dismiss him. There will be little to no redemption and what’s worse for him. That if they arrest him or start investigation of all of his acts during the years. The man will not see the light of day again. He will either be brought to court or get jail time. That is something you don’t want when you gotten this far…

However, Hemeti rather risk it, it seems and possibly loose it all. As he challenge the Gods, thinking they will forgive him. What a fool(!). This will only hurt him and he will not see it coming. Peace.

Sudan: The Sovereign Council got huge hurdles to pass

The Sovereign Council or the Transitional Government of Khartoum have a lot on their plate. The Sudanese government haven’t only skirmishes on the border towards Ethiopia. The state doesn’t only have the power vacuum in Darfur as the United Nations-African Union mission in the Darfur region of Sudan (UNAMID) is winding down.

The post Al-Bashir reign isn’t smooth, as the public feels disappointed, as the current leaders have betrayed the ideals of the revolution. The military leaders with very limited amount of civilians got a big problems to fix. That is not only the issues of getting legitimacy abroad, but handle the current financial strains, which was the final straw of the oppression of the 30 years long dictatorship.

Just read this from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA. What they are stating about the current affairs in Sudan is worrying. Take a look!

OCHA stats of April 2021:

Sorghum and millet prices in March 2021 were exceptionally high, up to three times the already high March 2020 levels, mainly due to the depreciation of the local currency. The Central Bureau of Statistics reported that the inflation rate was at 342 per cent in March, an increase of 11 points from 331 per cent in February. The economy of Sudan shrank by about 72 per cent between 2015 and 2020, while the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance increased by about 130 per cent. In 2021, World Vision plans to reach 2.1 million of Sudan’s most vulnerable children across the Blue Nile, South Kordofan, South and East Darfur states” (OCHA, 22.04.2021).

What this is saying is that prices for food has tripled in a year. The inflations rate is so huge that it’s the definition of hyper-inflation. This is clearly destroying the ability of people to buy food or afford to live. When the inflation is like that and with prices on food is rising as high. That will cause demonstrations and riots. This in combination of the continued militarization of government without any proof of a transition to a civilian government. The public will address this and we could easily see their hurt and ability for a new round of revolution. This time not after Al-Bashir and his party, but to topple the Sovereign Council.

That so many people needs humanitarian assistance as well, as the state isn’t making things better. They are not able to create stability of currency, prices and with the inflation. That in combination with the lack of humanitarian assistance too. The Sovereign Council got its work cut out for it. This is just two years after its formation and with the power of the Transitional Military Council (TMC), which has the majority in it.

This is men of the military, militias and such who has the reigns. These are no technocrats or bureaucrats, except for the Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. The ones in the council is former generals and leaders of the army. That is why it’s not strange that they are wrecking the economy. An economy which was tanking when they took power. So, they haven’t been able in two years to change the problems. While making more people suffering and possibly rising hunger, as the needs are ever growing.

The state got a lot on its plate. These recent reports is worrying and if things get more tricky in the future. Don’t be shocked if the public revolt or the population riots against their loss of value of currency, rising food prices and the constant struggle to survive. These military men are clearly not up for the job and they are not able to stabilize the situation. Peace.

Sudan: West Darfur clashes force nearly 2,000 refugees into Chad (13.04.2021)

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

GENEVA, Switzerland, April 13, 2021 – Recent intercommunal clashes in El Geneina, in Sudan’s West Darfur State, have forced 1,860 refugees to cross into neighbouring Chad in the past week.

The refugees, mostly women, children and the elderly, have fled homes in villages near the border, in the aftermath of deadly clashes that started on 3 April. The resurging violence has reportedly left 144 people dead and more than 230 injured. In the meantime, humanitarian agencies are trying to establish the exact number of newly displaced people within West Darfur, which is estimated to be in the thousands.

Refugees arriving in Chad speak of houses and properties being destroyed, and of sites hosting displaced people being targeted. Some of the new arrivals had already been displaced by earlier clashes last year and in January this year.

El Geneina is only 20 kilometers away from the Sudan-Chad border. Refugees have crossed near the town of Adré, in Ouaddaï province and are currently being hosted just 200 metres away from the volatile border.

UNHCR teams from our nearby office in Farchana have rushed to receive refugees. Our staff report conditions on the ground being dire with displaced families staying in the open or under the little shade of trees or makeshift shelters, with barely any protection from the elements in an area where temperature can rise to 40 degrees Celsius during the day. Food and water are also urgently needed.

UNHCR, with our government counterpart and humanitarian partners are on the ground and coordinating the humanitarian response. The priority is to relocate the refugees to a safer location where essential assistance and access to health can be provided, and quarantine measures against COVID-19 implemented.

Ouaddai province where the new arrivals are crossing already hosts 145,000 Darfurian refugees and UNHCR expects the influx to continue if security is not quickly restored in Darfur.

Sudan: OHCHR – Press briefing notes on violence in West Darfur (09.04.2021)

We are appalled by the latest resurgence of violence between Masalit and Arab tribes in West Darfur, in Sudan, that left at least 87 people dead, more than 191 injured and forced thousands to flee their homes. We are also disturbed by the slow progress in ensuring accountability for this and previous violence, despite repeated calls by victims and their families.

The latest bout of violence erupted on 3 April in Al Geneina town when unknown assailants shot at a group of men from the Masalit tribe, killing two and injuring one. In response, armed elements from Masalit and Arab tribes mobilized, leading to clashes between them.

By the evening of 5 April, the streets of Al Geneina were strewn with dozens of bodies, including those of women and children. These scenes recalled those seen in West Darfur following previous clashes, in late 2019 and, most recently, in mid-January 2021.

During the violence last weekend, public and private property was destroyed or damaged, including a hospital, and a UN compound. At least one ambulance was attacked and health personnel injured.

Similar to previous situations of violence in Al Geneina, the authorities failed to stop the clashes despite a robust security force presence in the town. We urge the authorities to fully uphold their role to protect the population without discrimination. In this regard, we call on the Government of Sudan to accelerate the implementation of the National Plan for the Protection of Civilians.

All tribes responsible for violence in Darfur must be disarmed and the State must be able to maintain order and ensure the rule of law, including by preventing armed civilians from taking the law into their own hands.

We acknowledge that, after the latest clashes, the authorities have taken steps to contain the situation in the area. We also welcome the Government’s commitment to addressing the root causes of the violence, especially disputes over land, pasture and water resources – disputes that are at the heart of the entrenched tribal divisions. These commitments need to result in concrete actions.

Independent, impartial and thorough investigations into these acts of violence must be initiated without delay. Effective accountability processes must be established to pave the way for genuine reconciliation and lasting peace.

We note that the Sudanese Attorney General has announced that 15 prosecutors have been sent to West Darfur to investigate the recent violence. We also welcome the decision to refer 33 alleged perpetrators for trial over the clashes in January 2021, as well as the establishment of the committee set up to investigate a similar incident in December 2019.

We urge the Government to ensure prompt, transparent and effective follow-up to these investigations. All those responsible for human rights abuses must be held accountable. Grievances from both sides must be tackled after decades-long ethnic disputes stoked by the previous regime.

Our Office in Sudan stands ready to assist the Government of Sudan towards achieving accountably and justice.

Sudan: Declaration of Principles between the Transitional Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement – North (28.03.2021)