Crimes Committed in Sudan by Rapid Support Forces, Allied Militias Undermining National, Regional, International Stability, Delegate Tells Security Council
An increasingly violent and unstable situation in Sudan demands immediate action, a senior United Nations official warned the Security Council today, as millions are displaced and the country spirals towards a humanitarian catastrophe.
Harold Agyeman (Ghana), briefing the 15-member organ in his capacity as Chair of the Security Council Committee pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan, detailed the work of the Committee covering the period from 16 June 2023 to today. During that reporting time frame, the Committee received the interim report of the Panel of Experts on the Sudan, pursuant to paragraph 2 of resolution 2676 (2023). He recalled that the Committee also met once in informal consultations, on 11 August, and heard a presentation by the Sudan Panel of Experts on its interim report — amid the escalation of violence in Khartoum and its quick spread to Darfur as a result of the fighting that has been ongoing between the Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese Armed Forces since 15 April 2023.
He noted that in its interim report, the Panel informed the Committee of the deteriorating security and humanitarian situation in Darfur, with intensified fighting — in particular in El Geneina — having displaced the civilian population to neighbouring countries. Schools, mosques and hospitals were also targeted, while homes, international non-governmental organizations and United Nations compounds were looted. The Panel is continuing its investigations and is expected to present the final report in January 2024, and the Committee would continue to be responsive to the needs of the Council as expressed in the relevant resolutions.
Al-Harith Idriss Al-Harith Mohamed (Sudan), stressing that Sudan’s armed forces are continuing their “just and defensive” war against the Rapid Support Forces — who have waged a war of aggression against his country — said that the Government is in control of political and security initiatives. Moreover, the Government’s position is supported by the Sudanese people, who reject the Rapid Support Forces’ presence, as well as any participation in a political equation and a security arrangement in the country. He welcomed sanctions, imposed by the United States, against the Second Commander of the insurgent militias and their leader in West Darfur for planning and overseeing the crimes against civilians and killings based on national grounds.
“These crimes have led to undermining national, as well as regional and international security,” he noted, also pointing to the systemic destruction of economy and markets and sabotaging sustainable development priorities. “The goal of the malicious is to destroy the country,” he underscored, calling for supporting the State in controlling the region and re-enforcing its military presence to fill the security vacuum. The insurgent forces and their mercenaries are opening new lines of fighting to exhaust the army, he said, adding that some religious leaders in the Sahel, supporting and justifying the fighting, are also imposing the doctrine of the “absent Imam”.
Therefore, the UN must change its narrative and coverage of this conflict, he stressed, adding: “Everyone is mobilizing, and Sudan is alone in facing this challenge.” Urging the international community to consider changes in the Sahel, he said that climate change has led to more droughts in the region. By 2050, 85 million Africans will have been internally displaced. More so, unemployment will make it more likely for youth to join armed groups. Further, he called on the Council to impose sanctions on those people, who were allowed by the Government to be represented but chose to join the violence, stating: “They have rejected all opportunities to take part in the political process and are now promoting the fighting.” The international community’s lack of participation in peacebuilding through disarmament, demobilization and reintegration is leading to Sudan paying a “huge price”.
Moreover, the current situation is leading to an exchange of interests and benefits through financial incentives, he added, noting that the violence is routinely exploited to increase the fighting parties’ gains. In this regard, he welcomed the additional $165 million for humanitarian work, announced by the United States. Pointing to the crimes committed against UN premises, including the looting of consumer products and other commodities, he reported 175 violations against the staff of international governmental and non-governmental organizations and other UN agencies. While the Rapid Support Forces occupy and control civilian homes, including UN offices, and convert them into operation centres, they have also looted 60 UN offices and 230 UN vehicles, he said, adding: “Are these not crimes against the international community?”
Noting that “the Sudanese revolution has become a form of civilian patriotism, and it is not the sole right of certain elite group”, he also said that in North Darfur, militias are in control of some parts, limiting the civilians’ movement and recruiting children. In West Darfur, the Rapid Support Forces have attacked police stations and hospitals, leading to displacement of people, while also exploiting young girls.