UN Warns Of Risk Of Increased Ethnic Violence In Sudan

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As fighting in Sudan between the army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces rages on, the United Nations has warned of the risk of increased ethnic violence in the country, adding that the world is in a race against time to avert a massive loss of life.

This was made known on Wednesday, by the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Africa, Martha Ama Akyaa Pobee.

He said: “Without swift action, Sudan risks becoming engulfed in more ethnic violence and fragmenting even further. The risk of a conflict spillover remains high.”

She added that between 16 April and 9 June, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights documented at least 192 civilian deaths in El Fasher.

“Since then, dozens more civilians, including women and children, have reportedly been killed. Civilians are in the line of fire. Nowhere is safe for them.”

The UN said that with famine impending, human rights violations are on the rise, and fighting escalating, the international community must work towards an immediate ceasefire in Sudan.

Sudan’s permanent representative to the UN, Al-Harith Idriss al-Harith Mohamed stressed his government’s commitment to resolve the situation.

“The government of Sudan is committed to international humanitarian law, including during military operations. The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) are committed to the rules of engagement,” he said.

He said the army “prioritises the protection of civilians” and the “non-targeting of their properties or civilian infrastructure”.

Mohamed added that the SAF had issued warnings through social media so that citizens leave any areas that are under the control of the rebels, where “they would be considered as legitimate targets”.

The UN is calling for the protection of civilians and the infrastructure they need for survival, unimpeded and expanded humanitarian access to people in need, and increased funding for aid operations.