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Sudan Humanitarian Concerns in Spotlight at UNSC

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) reviewed the report of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission – Sudan (UNITAMS) during the last three months in an open session, followed by a closed session, at its 9840th meeting in New York yesterday evening.

The UNSC member states continued their discussions on a British draft resolution to renew the mandate of the UNITAMS mission before it ends on December 3.

In an address to the UNSC on Thursday, Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee, the Assistant Secretary-General for Africa in the Departments of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs and Peace Operations (DPPA-DPO), underscored the deepening humanitarian calamity and human rights crisis in Sudan.

Pobee expressed concern over the conflict in Sudan that “has been raging for more than seven months without signs of de-escalation”. Despite declarations from both warring parties expressing a willingness to negotiate a ceasefire, recent developments on the ground suggest an intensification of hostilities, she said.

In Darfur, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have made significant military gains, gaining control of key Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) bases. The Assistant Secretary-General was concerned about the looming threat of an RSF advance on El Fasher in North Darfur, “which could result in high civilian casualties, due to the large number of internally displaced persons located there”.

She highlighted that armed movements in the Juba Peace Agreement area have shifted their stance away from neutrality. Reports of “ethnically driven violence directed towards the Masalit community” in West Darfur further exacerbate the situation.

Pobee explained that despite challenges, the UN and humanitarian partners have provided life-saving assistance to 4.1 million people, “but this is only 22 per cent of the people that humanitarian organizations aim to assist in 2023”.

“Sudan is facing a convergence of a worsening humanitarian calamity and a catastrophic human rights crisis. More than 6,000 civilians, including women and children, have been killed since April. Sudan is now the world’s largest displacement crisis, with 7.1 million people displaced. The health situation also remains extremely worrying.”

She emphasised the importance of engaging civilians in the political process, applauding civilian initiatives in Addis Ababa and the Juba Peace Agreement signatories’ meeting. She also raised concerns about the diminishing political participation of Sudanese women.

While commending the recent talks in Jeddah, co-facilitated by Saudi Arabia and the United States, Pobee expressed disappointment that the parties failed to reach a ceasefire agreement, leading to an escalation of hostilities.

Source: Radio Dabanga