The humanitarian coordinator for Sudan, Clementine Nkweta-Salami, has issued a warning that the violence against civilians in Sudan is “verging on pure evil.” The country has been in a brutal conflict for almost seven months, pitting Sudan’s military against a paramilitary group, the deadly conflict in Darfur two decades ago.
Since mid-April, Sudan has been in chaos, ignited by tensions between the military’s Gen. Abdel-Fattah Burhan and the commander of the paramilitary Support Forces, Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.
What began as a power struggle has escalated into open warfare, leaving destruction. The conflict has pushed Sudan to the brink, drawing parallels with the atrocities witnessed in Darfur in 2003.
Clementine Nkweta-Salami, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Sudan, painted a picture of the current situation during a news conference.
She expressed concern, stating that the ongoing crisis is “verging on pure evil” and addressed the severity of the humanitarian emergency.
Nkweta-Salami highlighted the challenges faced by aid workers, struggling to provide assistance amid escalating violence, outbreaks of deadly diseases, and the near-collapse of the health sector.
One of the most alarming aspects of the crisis is the severe impact on health infrastructure. More than 70% of health facilities in conflict areas are now out of service, leaving the population to outbreaks of cholera, dengue, malaria, and measles.
The health situation is further addressed by the escalating violence against civilians and the spread of the conflict into Sudan’s breadbasket, threatening food security.
The humanitarian coordinator pointed to a rising hunger crisis, with high levels of malnutrition among children.
The conflict has disrupted agricultural activities, leading to food shortages and creating a famine. As a response, the UN is targeting approximately 12 million people for aid, constituting half of those in need.
However, the funding gap remains significant, with only a third of the required $2.6 billion for the 2023 humanitarian response secured.
Despite peace talks in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where warring parties pledged to protect civilians and ensure humanitarian access, the violence continues.
Nkweta-Salami expressed frustration with the lack of implementation of commitments made during these talks.
The establishment of a Humanitarian Forum, with UN participation, has been promised, and its launch on Monday is awaited with cautious optimism.
As fears mount over a resurgence of the horrors witnessed in Darfur 20 years ago, Nkweta-Salami addressed concerns about ethnic-based violence in Sudan’s western Darfur region.
The scars of the Darfur conflict, where rebels launched an insurgency against the Arab-dominated government in Khartoum, leading to mass killings and displacement.
Reports from Darfur indicate widespread killings, rapes, and the destruction of villages, worrying about the repetition of the Darfur conflict.
Nkweta-Salami conveyed the UN’s deep concern about the situation in Darfur, addressing the organization’s ongoing efforts to engage warring parties and uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians.
One particularly distressing aspect highlighted by the UN official is the violence against women, including cases of young girls being raped in front of their mothers.
Such violations of human rights underscore the urgent need for decisive action to prevent a further descent into chaos and brutality.
The UN has received reports of crimes against Darfur’s Masalit ethnic community, describing them as “really egregious violations of human rights” that must be halted.
The echoes of past atrocities in Darfur serve as a reminder of the potential for ethnic-based violence and the urgent need for international intervention to prevent a recurrence of history.
The response to the crisis has been inadequate, with the UN’s appeal for $2.6 billion for the 2023 humanitarian response falling short.
Nkweta-Salami urged donors to provide additional funds urgently, addressing the critical need for financial support to address the humanitarian needs.
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