Norwegian Special Envoy: ‘Grave concern over situation in Sudan'
Norway’s Special Envoy to Sudan and South Sudan, Dr Endre Stiansen, has expressed grave concern regarding the situation in Sudan, and discussed how to meet the aspirations of the Sudanese people. Special Envoy Stiansen visited Sudan and Darfur from 21 to 24 January, and held meetings with a range of Sudanese stakeholders.
In meetings with the authorities, Stiansen condemned recent and continuing violence against peaceful protesters, attacks on hospitals and arbitrary arrests. Specially, he addressed reports of sexual violence. “All such acts must be investigated and those responsible held accountable. These steps are essential to build trust and to establish a conducive environment for dialogue,” Special Envoy Stiansen says in a statement issued by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Khartoum on Monday.
Stiansen also informed about Norway’s flagship event on Women Human Rights Defender during its Presidency of the UN Security Council earlier this month. Further, the envoy reiterated Norway’s support to the Sudanese-led political process and welcomed UNITAMS’ facilitation of consultations.
He met civil society and academics, building on the 60 year long cooperation between civil society and universities in Sudan and Norway. In all meetings, Stiansen echoed statements by Norway’s Ambassador, Therese Løken Gheziel, on meaningful inclusion of women, youth and people outside Khartoum. In meetings with youth, Stiansen heard their aspirations for the future and innovative ways of peaceful change.
Visiting El Fasher, North Darfur, the Envoy expressed concern regarding the deteriorating security situation, food insecurity and the growing humanitarian needs. Representing a major funder of UN humanitarian operations, Stiansen inspected the looted UN facilities, including a WFP warehouse and the former UNAMID camp.
Meeting with local authorities in North Darfur, military leadership ,and signatories of the Juba Peace Agreement, Stiansen condemned the looting and underlined the very serious impact on lifesaving UN operations. He reiterated the responsibility of the authorities to protect civilians and humanitarian workers. Stiansen commended the UN and humanitarian actors for assisting the most vulnerable.
With Minister of Finance Jibril Ibrahim, the envoy discussed economic reform, including domestic resource mobilisation. They also addressed issues that impact the work of humanitarian agencies, including current practices relating to tax exemptions.
The envoy’s visit to Sudan was part of a longer trip to the region including visit to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uganda and Kenya, the statement concludes.
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