UN calls for ceasefire in Sudan to pave way for aid assistance

UN calls for ceasefire in Sudan to pave way for aid assistance

Mohamed Chande Othman, Chairperson of United Nations’ Independent International Fact-Finding mission [Photo: Courtesy]

A United Nations fact-finding mission appealed to the Sudanese warring parties to urgently cease-fire to ensure humanitarian aid reaches civilians nationwide.

The chairperson of the Independent International Fact-Finding mission for Sudan, Mohamed Othman, noted in a statement on Friday that the two rival forces should put an end to the devastating war to prevent further atrocities.

“It is beyond time for this devastating war to stop. The warring parties must bring an immediate end to all violence, including sexual and gender-based violence, and hold the perpetrators of serious human rights violations accountable for their acts,” Othman said.

He stated that the Sudanese warring parties are legally required to safeguard civilians but have demonstrated little care for doing so.

Othman noted that the mission is working on finding reports of attacks on civilians.

“We are now investigating alarming reports of repeated attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, including hospitals and schools,” he stressed.

He added, “The warring parties must find a path for peace and respect for human rights in Sudan.”

Mona Rishmawi, a fact-finding mission expert, emphasised that relief convoys and infrastructure have been recorded in apparent violations of international humanitarian law.

“Aid agencies are persevering even though there have been attacks and looting of humanitarian convoys, personnel and warehouses,” she said.

She said the mission is also investigating the deliberate blockade of humanitarian assistance destined for civilians living in areas controlled by the opposite side.

“The parties to the conflict must ensure and facilitate safe, free and unimpeded humanitarian access to civilian populations in grave need,” she explained.

The fact-finding mission believes that the enormous shortage in donor money, which has so far only covered 6 per cent of the estimated $2.7 billion, should be addressed immediately.

 The mission experts also emphasised their determination to carry out their mandate of determining the facts, circumstances, and fundamental causes of all conflict-related violations, as well as identifying persons and institutions accountable.

The Human Rights Council established the fact-finding mission in October 2023, and one of its key tasks was “to investigate and establish the facts, circumstances, and root causes of all alleged human rights violations and abuses and violations of international humanitarian law.”

Such include crime “committed against refugees, and related crimes in the context of the ongoing armed conflict that began on April 15, 2023, between the Sudanese Armed Forces, Rapid Support Forces, and other parties.

The fighting, which broke out between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces on April 15, 2024, has killed thousands of civilians and displaced over six million other people in the country.

According to the UN, almost two million refugees have fled to neighbouring countries, and nearly 24 million people require humanitarian aid.