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UN High Commissioner Warns of Escalation in Sudan Conflict on One-Year Anniversary

Geneva, Marking the one-year anniversary of the armed conflict in Sudan, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk issued a stark warning about the potential for further escalation. He highlighted the increasing violence, the arming of civilians by combatants, and the involvement of additional armed groups which could exacerbate the already dire situation.

According to Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Turk detailed the severe impacts of the conflict on the Sudanese population, including indiscriminate attacks in populated areas, ethnically-motivated violence, and significant instances of conflict-related sexual violence. He also expressed deep concern over the recruitment and use of children by the parties involved in the conflict. With recent reports indicating a looming attack on El-Fasher in North Darfur, Turk emphasized the alarming risk of continued violations and abuses against civilians amid an escalating humanitarian crisis.

The situation is further complicated by political tensions, as evidenced by recent arrest warrants issued against key civilian figures, including former Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok. These charges, which carry the potential for the death penalty, appear to lack substantial evidence and risk further destabilizing the country.

Turk advocated for a reduction in the number of armed participants to foster a peaceful resolution to the conflict. He urged the Sudanese authorities to revoke the arrest warrants against Hamdok and other leaders, and to initiate confidence-building measures aimed at achieving a ceasefire. This should be followed by a comprehensive resolution to the conflict and the restoration of a civilian-led government.

The High Commissioner provided a grim overview of the conflict’s toll: thousands of civilians killed or injured, widespread destruction of essential infrastructure, and a humanitarian crisis that has displaced over eight million people and left nearly 18 million facing acute food insecurity. He called for all parties to allow humanitarian and human rights workers safe access to affected areas and to take steps to prevent further civilian suffering.

Turk emphasized the importance of civil society’s role in the country’s recovery and urged all parties to cooperate with international efforts, including the UN-appointed human rights experts and fact-finding missions, to ensure accountability and support for human rights initiatives.

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