Sudan: Türk urges immediate end to hostilities, return to talks

GENEVA (18 April 2023) - UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk today called for an immediate cessation to hostilities in Sudan and pleaded with the Sudan Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces to return to the negotiating table.

“Sudan has already endured so much pain and suffering. The fighting is born out of power games and personal interests that only serve to alienate the democratic aspirations of the population,” Türk said. “Do those responsible not understand that the civilian population now only craves a peaceful life?”

Much of the fighting has been concentrated in heavily populated parts of the capital Khartoum and residential areas of cities elsewhere in the country. Air strikes and artillery shelling, including the use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects, have exposed civilians to risk of death and injury, the High Commissioner said. In the four days since fighting began, at least 185 people have been killed and 1,800 wounded.

“Thousands upon thousands of civilians are trapped in their homes, shielding from the fighting, with no electricity, unable to venture out and worried about running out of food, drinking water and medicine,” Türk said.

“Both parties must remind their fighters of their obligations under international law to ensure the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure such as schools and hospitals, and they must ensure that these obligations are respected.”

The High Commissioner also said he was appalled by reports of attempted rape.

He called for prompt, thorough and independent investigations into the killings of civilians, including three staff of the UN’s World Food Programme, along with other reported violations. Those responsible must be held to account, Türk added.

“Only a few weeks ago, Sudan appeared to be on the right path towards an agreement that would restore civilian rule,” he said. “Common sense must prevail, and all parties must act to de-escalate tensions. The shared interests of the Sudanese people must come first.

(by United Nations)

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