UNSC wants Sudan hostilities ended immediately

156

Adopting what is being called “a key resolution”, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) demands “immediate cessation of hostilities” in war-torn Sudan.

The resolution was adopted ahead of Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, prayer and reflection that started yesterday (Sunday, 10 March) according to s United Nations (UN) statement.

Resolution 2724, adopted by 14 votes for with Russia abstaining, further urges all parties involved in the ongoing Sudan conflict to seek “a sustainable resolution” to ongoing fighting by way of dialogue.

Conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) started last April in and around Khartoum. In the 11 months since, fighting has spread, claiming thousands of lives, driven millions from their homes and plunged Sudan into a humanitarian crisis.

In the resolution, the SC expressed concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation, including “crisis levels or worse” of acute food insecurity, particularly in the Darfur region, as well as ongoing reports of violations of international humanitarian and human rights laws, including cases of sexual violence in conflict.

It urged all parties to the conflict “to ensure the removal of any obstructions and enable full, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access, including cross-border and crossline and comply with obligations under international humanitarian law,’ This includes protecting civilians and “civilian objects” as well as commitments under the Declaration of Commitment to Protect the Civilians of Sudan – the Jeddah Declaration.

The resolution “encourages” Ramtane Lamamra, the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy, to use his good offices with the parties and Sudan’s neighbours, to complement and co-ordinate regional peace efforts.

In another action on Friday, with 13 votes in favour and two abstentions (China and Russia), the SC renewed the mandate of the 1591 Sudan Sanctions Committee panel of experts, which expires tomorrow (Tuesday, 12 March), for a further year.

The panel was established on 29 March 2005 to assist the committee with monitoring implementation of sanctions measures imposed by the SC on several armed groups and individuals in Sudan. The sanctions are an arms embargo, travel ban and an assets freeze.

Reuters on Sunday reported that a top general from Sudan’s army ruled out a truce in Ramadan unless the RSF leaves civilian and public sites. The statement by Yasser al-Atta, a deputy commander of the army, came after the army claimed advances in Omdurman, part of the wider capital, the UN’s appeal.

Atta also said there should be no role for Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, the RSF leader commonly known as Hemedti, or his family, in Sudan’s future politics or military.

Conflict between Sudan’s army and the RSF erupted in mid-April 2023 amid tensions over a plan for transition to civilian rule. The two factions staged a coup in 2021 that derailed a previous transition following the 2019 overthrow of autocratic former leader Omar al-Bashir.

The UN says nearly 25 million people – half Sudan’s population – need aid, some 8 million have fled their homes and hunger is rising.