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UN Human Rights Council opens special session on human rights impact of Sudan conflict

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News briefing

Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice

Geneva: May 14, 2023


The UN Human Rights Council opened a special session to discuss the impact of the conflict in Sudan on human rights, as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, strongly condemned the brutal acts of violence in the country, in which both sides had trampled international humanitarian law.


Both sides violate international law:

The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said during the session that he strongly condemns this barbaric violence in which both sides violated international humanitarian law, in particular the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution, as the Sudanese army launched attacks on densely populated civilian areas, including air strikes that caused massive damage which destroyed the hopes and rights of millions of people It was essential that both parties urgently committed to an inclusive political process and to a negotiated peace.


“Since 15 April, at least 487 civilians had been killed, notably in Khartoum, El Geneina, Nyala and El Obeid; the real figure was much higher. More than 154,000 people had fled the country, and an estimated 700,000 more had been displaced inside the borders of Sudan,” Turk said.

“In Khartoum, clashes between the two armed forces, shelling and airstrikes had taken place in heavily populated residential areas, and millions of people were now struggling to access food, fuel and currency. In parts of Darfur, as well as the Blue Nile and Kordofan regions, the violence between military groups had triggered inter-ethnic clashes,” he reported.


Ceasefire needed:

Türk stressed that the ongoing talks in Jeddah, which focused on a ceasefire, needed to be complemented by commitments to establish a humanitarian truce, enable deliveries of life-saving aid, allow safe passage of civilians from combat zones, protect humanitarian aid from looting. “It was also crucial that discussions expand to respecting international humanitarian law, protecting civilians, and bringing an end to human rights violations,” he added.


Documenting violations since October 25, 2021:


The Council adopted a resolution requesting that the expert-designate of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Sudan document all allegations of human rights violations since October 25, 2021, including those arising from the current conflict, and to focus specifically on preventing further violations and abuses.

The Council condemned all reported violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, including reported acts of sexual and gender-based violence, committed since the start of hostilities by all parties to the conflict across the country.

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