UN seeks end to ‘colossal’ humanitarian tragedy as Sudan’s military factions resume Saudi-hosted talks

People continue to be displaced by conflict in Sudan.
UN Photo/Albert González Farran
People continue to be displaced by conflict in Sudan.
  • UN News

The Jeddah talks cannot have started soon enough. More than six months since the start of the crisis in Sudan, the humanitarian tragedy in the country continues to unfold unabated,” UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths in a statement issued on Sunday.

While he welcomed the resumption of the talks and thanks Saudi Arabia for hosting them, Mr. Griffiths underscored the dire situation: “Thousands of people have been killed or injured. One in nine people has fled their homes. Nearly one-third of the population could soon become food insecure.”

Conflict broke out in Sudan in mid-April, when tensions between the Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Force erupted into open warfare in the capital, Khartoum, and elsewhere across the east African nation.

‘Colossal’ humanitarian crisis

The UN emergency relief chief went on to say that Sudan's health system is in tatters, with the specter of disease outbreaks, including cholera, looming. Moreover, a generation of Sudanese children risk missing out on a full education.

Mr. Griffiths stressed that the humanitarian community is doing everything possible to meet these ever-increasing needs.

“Since mid-April, we have provided assistance to 3.6 million people, but this represents only 20 p er cent of the people we hope to help,” he explained, noting that humanitarian workers “are paralyzed by fighting, insecurity and red tape, making the operating environment in Sudan extremely difficult.”

This is why these Jeddah talks are critical: We need the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces to break the bureaucrat“ic logjam,” he stated.

Mr. Griffiths, who is also the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, added: “We need them to fully adhere to international humanitarian law. We need them to secure safe, sustained and unhindered access to people in need, be it in Darfur, Khartoum or the Kordofans.”

In light of the “colossal humanitarian crisis”, Mr. Griffith said that the UN office he heads up, known as OCHA, will facilitate the humanitarian aspect of these negotiations.

Comprehensive ceasefire needed

Meanwhile, the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) also welcomed the resumption of talks in Jeddah, which are being facilitated by Saudi Arabia, as well as the United States, the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

In a press release, the Mission said that it hoped “this new round of negotiations results in the implementation of the Declaration of Commitment to Protect the Civilians of Sudan, signed on May 11, 2023, and in a comprehensive ceasefire, all of which are two crucial factors in alleviating the suffering of the Sudanese people.”

The mission also welcomed current initiatives from a wide range of civilian actors calling for an end to the war, emphasizing the urgent need for a solution that would lead to a resumption of the democratic political transition.

© UN News (2023) — All Rights ReservedOriginal source: UN News