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Africa

Sudan warring sides using starvation as weapon: UN experts

todayJune 26, 2024 7

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Saudi security officers stand guard onboard a Saudi vessel docked off the seaport of Port Sudan on April 30, 2023, during evacuations efforts from Sudan. – Heavy fighting again rocked Sudan’s capital as tens of thousands have fled the bloody turmoil and a former prime minister warned of the “nightmare” risk of a descent into full-scale civil war. Foreign nations have scrambled to evacuate thousands of their citizens by air, road and sea since the fighting plunged the poverty-stricken country into deadly turmoil on April 15. (Photo by Fayez Nureldine / AFP) (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

 

 

 

 

Both sides in Sudan’s brutal civil war are using starvation as a weapon of war, UN experts said Wednesday, charging that foreign governments providing them military support were “complicit” in war crimes.

War has raged for more than a year between the regular military (SAF) under army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) led by his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

The conflict, which began in April 2023, has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths and has provoked one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

Four independent UN rights experts pointed out that more than 25 million civilians have been left hungry and in urgent need of aid, amid warnings of a looming famine.

“Both the SAF and the RSF are using food as a weapon and starving civilians,” said the experts, including the special rapporteur on the right to food.

They highlighted the ongoing siege of El-Fasher, the last city in Darfur outside RSF control, which had left hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped and suffering from hunger and thirst amid a dire lack of food and water.

“The extent of hunger and displacement we see in Sudan today is unprecedented,” said the experts, who are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council but who do not speak on behalf of the United Nations.

In a press statement, they demanded that both sides “stop blocking, looting and exploiting humanitarian assistance”.

Local efforts to respond to the crisis were being hampered not only by unprecedented violence but also by targeted attacks on responders, they said.

“The deliberate targeting of humanitarian workers and local volunteers has undermined aid operations, putting millions of people at further risk of starvation,” they said.

The experts maintained that “foreign governments providing financial and military support to both parties in the conflict are complicit in starvation, crimes against humanity and war crimes”.

The experts did not name the countries, but they called on the parties to the conflict to agree to an immediate ceasefire and to inclusive political negotiations.

They also called on the international community to “accelerate humanitarian action”.

“It is imperative that the UN, international donors, and states accelerate efforts to alleviate the suffering of millions of Sudanese facing famine,” they said.

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AFP

(NAMPA / AFP)

Written by: Staff Writer

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