Global Ministries Signs Statement – Take Immediate Action on Sudan or Be Complicit in Future Atrocities
Today, on the 7-month anniversary since the outbreak of war, 50 Sudanese and international civil society groups, including Global Ministries, released a statement sounding the alarm on the risk of further atrocities in Sudan and calling for decisive action from international stakeholders.
Conflict erupted on April 15 between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and despite both parties attending peace talks in Jeddah, there are no signs of de-escalation. Sudanese civilians are paying the cost of this war as RSF and SAF continue to commit the most egregious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. Over 10,000 people have been killed with Khartoum and Darfur witnessing the most intense hostilities. More than six million people have been forcibly displaced, half of them children.
The latest round of talks in Jeddah, narrowly focused on achieving a cessation of hostilities and securing safe pathways for humanitarian access, failed to achieve any ceasefire. Exacerbating the conflict, the UAE, the RSF’s most prominent backer, is not only providing financial support, but arms as well. Yet amidst seemingly impossible odds “[t]here are strong opportunities for prevention. Concerted action could prevent the further commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and CRSV. We must not wait for the further commissioning of atrocities before acting, to do so would be negligent, if not complicit in what comes next,” the signatories of the statement said.
Over the past 7 months the RSF and allied militias have targeted people based on ethnicity in West Darfur in a situation the UN described as “verging on pure evil”. In recent weeks, RSF “captured major SAF garrisons in south, west, and central Darfur, with evidence of crimes against humanity, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and conflict related sexual violence (CRSV) being perpetrated against civilians.” Khartoum also continues to be a cauldron of human suffering with SAF conducting airstrikes in densely populated civilian areas and RSF invading and occupying homes and businesses.
Both RSF and SAF have “honed their genocidal tactics over the past twenty years”; indeed, the RSF’s 2023 campaign bears a chilling resemblance to the atrocities committed by the janjaweed in Darfur since 2003. The international community’s delaying of punitive measures to respond to this war echoes the lack of accountability that has dominated Sudan for decades, however there is a strong opportunity for the prevention of genocide if stakeholders take concerted action today.
The statement calls for stakeholders to urgently act to:
- ensure the RSF and SAF adhere to obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law;
- to uphold the principles of Responsibility to Respect; to adopt an arms embargo that encompasses all of Sudan and targeted sanctions against parties who violate the current arms embargo on Darfur and fail to uphold obligations under international humanitarian law;
- to ensure that appropriate funding is allocated to the UN Fact Finding Mission (FFM);
- to provide technical, material, and financial support to Sudanese human rights documenters;
- and to address ongoing atrocities through clear and comprehensive strategies that meet the immediate and long-term needs of violence-affected communities, including accountability.
It is far beyond time for international stakeholders to act to prevent further atrocities against the people of Sudan – these horrific abuses are part of protracted patterns of violence that have persisted in Sudan for decades. Respect for human life and dignity are the underpinning of international human rights and humanitarian law, but these ideals demand more than words – they demand action. So the choice is stark for the international community, act today to prevent further atrocities or allow these ideals to only exist on paper.