Without Strong Global Support, Sudan Could Quickly Become ‘a Locus of Lawlessness, Radiating Insecurity across Region’, Secretary-General Tells Pledging Event

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks to the high-level pledging event on Sudan and the region, taking place online and in Geneva today:

Thank you for coming together today in support of the people of Sudan.

The scale and speed of Sudan’s descent into death and destruction is unprecedented.  Without strong international support, Sudan could quickly become a locus of lawlessness, radiating insecurity across the region.

Hundreds of civilians have been killed and many thousands more injured.  These numbers grow by the day.

The situation in Darfur and Khartoum is catastrophic.  Fighting is raging with people attacked in their homes and on the street.  Entire neighborhoods have no running water and limited electricity supplies, and more than two thirds of hospitals near areas of conflict cannot function.

I am particularly concerned by reports of gender-based and sexual violence, and by the ethnic dimension of the violence in Geneina.  Targeted attacks against civilians based on their ethnic identities could amount to crimes against humanity.

In little more than two months, 2 million people have been forced from their homes, seeking refuge in safer parts of Sudan or across borders.  Close to half a million people have already crossed borders into neighbouring countries. I thank these countries for their hospitality and urge them to do everything possible to keep their borders open to people fleeing the fierce fighting in Sudan.

Before this conflict erupted, Sudan was already grappling with a humanitarian crisis.  This has now escalated into a catastrophe affecting more than half the country’s people.

Deadly violence against aid workers and the looting of humanitarian property and supplies have made aid operations even more difficult and dangerous.

Despite the challenges, United Nations agencies and our partners reached 1.8 million people with lifesaving aid in April and May.  Convoys of trucks have delivered food, water, health care and education supplies across frontlines in eight states, including Khartoum.  We are making significant efforts to scale up our operations.

I urge the parties to the conflict to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law, to protect civilians and enable humanitarian action.

Violence against aid workers and attacks on civilian infrastructure and humanitarian supplies must stop.

I appeal to the parties to the conflict and the Governments of neighbouring countries to do everything possible to enable humanitarian aid workers to reach all people in need, both within Sudan and across borders.

The people of Sudan and those of neighbouring countries are shouldering the burden of this terrible crisis.  We must do everything we can to support them. This is not only our duty as members of the international community — it is crucial to preventing the situation from deteriorating even further.

Our humanitarian agencies and their partners on the ground are ready to step up their efforts.  But funding for the Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan and the Regional Refugee Response Plan do not meet the scale of this emergency.  Of the $3 billion needed, less than 17 per cent has been funded so far.

I appeal to you all today to provide funding to deliver lifesaving humanitarian aid and support to people living in the most difficult and dangerous conditions.

The only way to end this crisis is through a return to peace and the restoration of civilian rule through the transition to democracy.  The Sudanese people have made their wishes very clear.

I am a true advocate for African initiatives.  The United Nations is fully committed to support the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in their joint efforts to restore hope for a peaceful solution to this crisis.

As High Commissioner for Refugees, I witnessed the enormous generosity of the Sudanese people towards hundreds of thousands of Eritreans, South Sudanese and others seeking refuge in Sudan.  And I was always deeply impressed by the resilience of the Sudanese refugees I met in Chad.

The United Nations stands with the courageous Sudanese people and their wishes and hopes for a better future.

For information media. Not an official record.