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UN Security Council: ‘Immediate cessation of violence crucial to humanitarian assistance in West Darfur’

May 1 - 2022 NEW YORK / EL GENEINA
The UN Security Council in session in New York (File photo: UN)
The UN Security Council in session in New York (File photo: UN)

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has called for an immediate cessation of violence, including intercommunal violence and attacks on healthcare facilities in West Darfur, to enable the resumption of humanitarian assistance. The UNSC also calls for a transparent investigation of the violence in Darfur to ensure those responsible for the violence are held accountable.

A statement on Friday by the UNSC President, and Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations, Barbara Woodward, notes that “the members of the UNSC condemned the recent violence in West Darfur, Sudan, which has resulted in the killing [of at least 200] and injury of civilians, mass displacement and attacks on healthcare facilities. The members of the UNSC expressed their deep sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and wished a speedy and full recovery to those who were injured."

The UNSC calls for “the immediate cessation of violence, including intercommunal violence and attacks on healthcare facilities, to enable the resumption of humanitarian assistance. They called for a transparent investigation of violence in Darfur to ensure those responsible for the violence are held accountable.”

In the statement, the UNSC recognises “the efforts undertaken by the Sovereignty Council to address the situation, including the outcomes of the meeting of the National Security and Defence Council and the commitment to conduct an investigation.” They reaffirm “the primary responsibility of state authorities to protect civilians and reiterated the international legal obligation of the authorities and armed groups to protect all civilians and civilian infrastructure”.

In Dame Woodward’s statement, the members of the UNSC further call for the accelerated implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement (JPA), including deployment of the Joint Security Keeping Force, and of the National Action Plan for Civilian Protection. They took note that the JPA provides for a specific role for the United Nations in supporting the implementation of its provisions.

In conclusion, the UNSC statement acknowledges the importance of strengthening international community support for the implementation of the JPA, including through the support provided by the United Nations.

Secretary General

The UNSC statement echoes similar remarks made last week by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, who independently called on the government of Sudan to take responsibility for the protection of civilians, and to prevent further outbreaks of violence.

In a statement from New York via a spokesperson, Secretary-General deplores the killings of civilians in Kereinik, as well as the attacks on health facilities on 24 April. He calls for an immediate end to the violence. The Secretary-General extends his deepest condolences to the families of those killed and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, in a statement from Geneva on Wednesday called on the Sudanese authorities to protect the population of West Darfur and take urgent steps to prevent further outbreaks of communal violence.

WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) also expressed its concern over reports of an escalation of violence in West Darfur. The WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean, Ahmed Al-Mandhari, said: “The World Health Organisation joins its voice with that of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and other humanitarian agencies and partners in calling for an immediate end to these brutal and absurd attacks on civilians, health care workers and health facilities.”

Al-Mandhari indicated that the organisation called for an immediate cessation of armed violence in West Darfur, which has resulted in the killing and wounding of hundreds of civilians, and the killing of two health care workers, in attacks on health facilities during the past six days alone.

The organisation called on all parties to the conflict in Sudan to observe the safety and impartiality of health workers, patients, and health facilities.


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