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Guterres Warns of Risk of Sudan’s Total Collapse or All-Out Civil War

FILE - U.N secretary General Antonio Guterres addresses the media during a visit to the U.N. office in the capital Nairobi, Kenya Wednesday, May 3, 2023. Antonio Guterres says Sudan is on the brink of a “full-scale civil war,” as fierce clashes between rival generals continued unabated Sunday in the capital, Khartoum. (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi, File)

The UN Secretary-General called on the parties to the conflict in Sudan to immediately cease hostilities and commit to a permanent cessation of hostilities, paving the way for inclusive dialogue and the resumption of a democratic political transition to restore constitutional order.

This was stated in his report on the situation in Sudan submitted to the Security Council, which covers the period between 21 August and 31 October.

The conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has caused a humanitarian catastrophe in Sudan. “The parties continue to seek a military victory and intensify and expand their operations without any sign of de-escalation.”

The report warned that civilians were paying the heaviest price. The pain and suffering of the Sudanese people must be brought to an end quickly. In his report, the Secretary-General welcomed the resumption of the Jeddah talks and called on the parties to seize this opportunity to agree on a ceasefire and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Guterres praised all initiatives undertaken by regional and international actors to help resolve the conflict. To be effective, such efforts must be based on strong coordination and coherence to achieve concrete results and avoid the possibility of a fragmented international response.

The Secretary-General affirmed the readiness of the United Nations to provide high-level good offices and expertise to help strengthen these efforts.

Deterioration of the human rights situation

The Secretary-General reported a marked deterioration of the human rights situation during the reporting period, citing reports of an escalation of sexual violence, including rape of women and girls as a direct result of conflict and the use of sexual violence as a weapon.

He appealed to the warring parties to respect international humanitarian law and international human rights law. “It is important that both parties to the conflict take urgent measures to ensure that women and girls are not further harmed and that perpetrators of such acts are held accountable.”

The necessity of leaving civilian areas

The presence of the warring parties near civilian areas increases the vulnerability of civilians, the report said. He stressed the need for the parties to adhere to key humanitarian principles that respect civilians and protect them from harm.

The Secretary-General urged the parties to move out of civilian areas, including camps for displaced persons in Darfur. He reiterated deep concern at the intensification of ethnic tensions and tribal conflicts.

Supporting civilian voices calling for a peaceful solution

The Secretary-General welcomed the efforts of all Sudanese civilians, including women and youth, who provide humanitarian assistance and promote a peaceful resolution of the conflict. The United Nations will continue to support their efforts and make their voices heard.

The report also welcomed the recent initiative to promote social peace signed by tribal leaders in eastern Sudan. He urged all parties to heed calls by civil society and civil groups to include them in ceasefire negotiations and any future dialogue process.

The report also noted the urgent need for more funding for relief efforts in Sudan to expand humanitarian access, noting that civil society is doing its best to deliver aid but can only reach as many people as possible if more resources are available.

In his report, the Secretary-General also deeply regretted the serious constraints and challenges that continue to face humanitarian actors in the context of providing life-saving assistance to those in need, stressing the need for a humanitarian truce to allow for access.

He urged the authorities and all military actors to abide by their obligations under the Jeddah Declaration to commit to the protection of civilians and to ensure unfettered access for humanitarian agencies to all areas.

Source: Al-Taghyeer