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UN Experts Alarmed as Sudan Faces Unprecedented Humanitarian Crisis

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Press release

Geneva – February 5, 2024


UN experts have issued a joint statement expressing grave concern over the dire humanitarian situation in Sudan, where approximately 25 million people, including 14 million children, are in desperate need of assistance. The crisis stems from the conflict that erupted in April 2023 between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), resulting in widespread displacement, acute malnutrition, and a host of other challenges.

Since the onset of the conflict, at least 13,000 individuals have lost their lives, with 33,000 others sustaining injuries. Among the most alarming statistics is the acute malnutrition affecting three million children under the age of five. The UN experts highlight the urgent need for humanitarian support to address this crisis.

The mass displacement in Sudan has reached unprecedented levels, with an estimated 9.05 million internally displaced persons (IDPs), constituting about 13 percent of global IDPs. Notably, Sudan is currently experiencing the largest child displacement crisis globally, with nearly 4 million children displaced. Over 170 schools across the country have been converted into emergency shelters for internally displaced persons.

The living conditions for IDPs are dire, with 67 percent residing in host communities, informal settlements, or abandoned buildings. The lack of support from international aid organizations has left them grappling with severe shortages of food, limited access to safe drinking water, inadequate healthcare, and poor sanitation, leading to the rapid spread of diseases.

The ongoing conflict has further exacerbated tensions among communities, complicating the displacement context. About 17.7 million people, representing 37 percent of Sudan’s population, face acute hunger. Limited resources and international aid have increased the risk of violence between host communities and IDPs.

UN experts express deep concern about the reported human rights violations, including restrictions on movement, arbitrary detention, abduction, torture, enforced disappearance, forced recruitment of youth, and trafficking of children. There are also alarming reports of conflict-related sexual violence and rape against children and women, targeted killings of human rights defenders, journalists, doctors, and lawyers, and restrictions on freedom of expression.

UN experts call parties to the conflict in Sudan to respect human rights, engage in heightened human rights due diligence, and support humanitarian efforts. They emphasize the need for accountability for crimes committed by warring parties and urge an immediate halt to hostilities to protect civilians, especially women and children.

In conclusion, UN experts stress the importance of inclusive political negotiations, accompanied by a humanitarian ceasefire, to transition Sudan towards a civilian government. They call for the implementation of publicly made commitments to uphold human rights standards and investigate violations. Urgent funding for civil society and increased humanitarian response is urged to provide life-saving assistance to the 25 million people in need across Sudan in 2024. As of January 21, 2024, the appeal for funding was only 3.1 percent funded, highlighting the pressing need for global support.

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