The UN human rights chief said he was appalled by Sudan’s escalation as famine approached

According to the United Nations human rights office, OHCHRHigh Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk held separate phone calls on Tuesday with Lieutenant General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, Commander of the Sudanese Armed Forces, and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, who leads the rival Rapid Support Forces.

Diplomatic approach

Mr. Türk called on both to take immediate – and public – action to ease the situation, said OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani, who noted that the UN human rights chief had previously approached the generals. opponents in November 2022.

“He warned both commanders that fighting in El-Fasher, which has more than 1.8 million residents, and internal displaced people are currently under siege and facing the imminent threat of faminewill have a catastrophic impact on civilians and it will deepen inter-communal conflicts with dire humanitarian consequences,” Ms. Shamdasani told journalists in Geneva.

“He reminded commanders of their obligations under international humanitarian law to ensure strict adherence to the principles of distinction, proportionality and prevention, and to end all ongoing violations, as well as ensuring accountability for violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights.” the law of rights committed by the forces and their respective allies.”

13 months of fierce fighting

Thirteen months of war in Sudan have left half the population in need of humanitarian assistance – a staggering 25 million people, including 14 million children. Millions of people have been repeatedly displaced, becoming more vulnerable each time, and aid groups have repeatedly warned that famine is approaching as the rainy season approaches.

The United Nations human rights office expressed concern about the ongoing and long-term impact of the conflict across Sudan, and highlighted the serious situation affecting civilians caught up in the escalating violence. in and around El Fryer in Darfur.

At least 58 civilians are believed to have been killed and 213 others have died since fighting escalated sharply in North Darfur town last week, OHCHR said.

Disease and famine are near

Reiterating concerns about the emergency situation, the United Nations aid coordination office, OCHAwarned that an epidemic was coming and people were “looking straight at famine”.

The UN-coordinated response plan aims to reach and support the 15 million most affected people, but $2.7 billion is urgently needed to do so.

Today, humanitarian organizations receive only 12% of the total and do not receive immediate injections, with OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke warning that aid groups “will not be able to scale up in time.” to avert famine and prevent further deprivation.”

He added that the funding will be used to “deliver more food, health services, shelter, water and sanitation, but also to prevent sexual and gender-based violence, helping victims and support school reopening for schools.” children drop out of school”.

Women fetch water in the Nakivale refugee settlement in Uganda.

© UNHCR/Esther Ruth Mbabazi

Women fetch water in the Nakivale refugee settlement in Uganda.

Flee to Uganda

United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCRalso emphasized the need for adequate funding as there are more and more Sudanese fled to neighboring Uganda.

There are currently more than 33,000 people in the country, 19,000 of whom have arrived in the capital Kampala since January.

Uganda is home to the highest number of refugees and asylum seekers in Africa, 1.7 million. An average of 2,500 people arrive in the country each week, mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

Despite this, UNHCR said Uganda remained among the top 13 underfunded operations globally.

Serious funding shortage

Humanitarian organizations are seeking $858 million this year to assist 1.6 million refugees in the country and 2.7 million in host communities, but have received only 13% of the amount needed.

UNHCR warns that the continuous flow of people fleeing conflict, combined with funding shortfalls, is putting pressure on protection and support services provided to both refugees and host local communities Surname.

The health sector has been hit hard, with staff numbers reduced and supplies insufficient to meet critical needs. Schools are also overcrowded and do not have enough teachers or educational materials, making it difficult for refugee children to learn.

Furthermore, vital protection services are also affected, as refugee registration is facing long delays due to a lack of materials and equipment needed to make the process run more smoothly .

Last week, UNHCR and senior Ugandan officials visited key partners including the Governments of Denmark, the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as European Union institutions, to highlight the impact of cut funding and lobby for more resources.


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