UN calls for cessation of hostilities in Sudan

UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths on Sunday called for the protection of civilians and an end to hostilities six months into the military conflict in Sudan.

“It is time for parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law. It is time for them to honour the commitments they made in Jeddah to protect civilians and allow humanitarian aid. It is time for them to recommit to dialogue at the highest levels to end this conflict, once and for all,” said Griffiths in a statement.

He said donors must step up their support, noting that the international community cannot desert the people of Sudan.

Half a year of war has plunged Sudan into one of the worst humanitarian nightmares in recent history. With up to 9,000 people reportedly killed, more than 5.6 million driven from their homes and 25 million people in need of aid, the impact of this conflict on Sudan and the region cannot be overstated, said Griffiths.

Aid workers are hindered in reaching people in need due to insecurity and red tape. At least 45 aid workers have been killed or detained since the outbreak of the conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces on Apr. 15 — almost all of them are national staff.

Even in inaccessible areas, humanitarians are hamstrung by underfunding as only a third of the 2.6 billion U.S. dollars required to help those in need in Sudan this year has been received, said Griffiths.

Cholera is already stalking the country, with more than 1,000 suspected cases in Gedaref, Khartoum and Kordofan. Basic services are crumbling. More than 70 per cent of healthcare facilities in conflict areas are out of service. Griffiths said the fighting is keeping 19 million children out of school. “This cannot go on,” he said.

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