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Sudan: UN Human Rights Chief horrified by escalating violence in El-Fasher

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Press release

Geneva – May 26, 2024


The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, has expressed deep horror at the escalating violence in El-Fasher, Darfur. Hostilities between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces, supported by their allied armed groups, are inflicting severe harm on civilians.

Since the escalation of fighting in the North Darfur town last week, reports indicate that at least 58 civilians have been killed and 213 others injured. The intensifying violence in El-Fasher is part of a broader pattern of conflict across Sudan that has grave implications for civilian safety and wellbeing.

In response to the escalating violence, the High Commissioner held separate phone calls with Lt-General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, President of the Transitional Sovereignty Council and Commander of the Sudanese Armed Forces, and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, Commander of the Rapid Support Forces. Türk urged both leaders to take immediate and public actions to de-escalate the situation.

Türk called on the commanders to move beyond entrenched positions and take concrete steps to cease hostilities and protect civilians, as mandated by international human rights and humanitarian law. He reminded them of their commitments under the Jeddah Declaration, agreed upon in May 2023.

The High Commissioner warned that continued fighting in El-Fasher, where over 1.8 million residents and internally displaced people are at imminent risk of famine, would have catastrophic impacts. He emphasized that the violence would exacerbate intercommunal conflict and lead to severe humanitarian consequences.

Türk stressed the importance of compliance with international humanitarian law principles, including distinction, proportionality, and precaution. He called for an immediate end to ongoing violations and accountability for breaches of international humanitarian and human rights laws committed by both forces and their allies.

The High Commissioner also urged the commanders to intensify efforts toward a negotiated solution, including resuming ceasefire negotiations promptly. He highlighted the necessity of facilitating comprehensive access to humanitarian aid in areas controlled by their respective forces.

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