Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

London, 9 August 2023

Statement by Ambassador Barbara Woodward at the UN Security Council meeting on Sudan.

Thank you, President, and let me start by thanking ASG Pobee and Director Wosornu for your very helpful updates to the Council.

President, I want to start by echoing the alarms that we have heard today on the conflict’s catastrophic impact on civilians in Sudan, with an estimated 24.7 million in need of humanitarian assistance. The country, as we’ve heard, is now one of the worst in the world for humanitarian access.

The Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces continue to double down on fighting, while the Sudanese people face rolling blackouts and the horrifying daily reality of decomposing bodies in the streets.

The humanitarian impacts are made worse by credible evidence to suggest serious violations of International Humanitarian Law by both the SAF and RSF, which could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity. This includes, as we’ve heard, incidents of sexual violence and air strikes in populated areas resulting in heavy loss of civilian life.

There are also credible reports of the targeted killing of civilians and atrocities against specific ethnic groups in Darfur, with much of the bloodshed attributed to RSF units and allied militias.

We welcome the ICC Prosecutor’s decision to commence investigations into offences committed in the current conflict and also call on the Sudanese authorities to ensure full accountability.

President, we need to see the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces put the interests of their people first immediately to end hostilities and enter negotiations in good faith.

And in this context, we welcome the diplomatic efforts of regional partners, including the African Union, IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] and the League of Arab States to restore peace to Sudan.

Second, in the 11 May Jeddah Declaration, as we’ve heard, both parties committed to act in accordance with their international obligations and to enable and facilitate unhindered humanitarian access in line with International Humanitarian Law.

I congratulate OCHA on their extraordinary efforts to get humanitarian aid into Sudan but I also echo Ms Wosurnu’s calls.

As we’ve heard, attacks on humanitarian convoys in areas under RSF control, and we need to see the removal of bureaucratic obstacles, such as restrictive customs procedures causing delays in issuing visas and travel permits.

President, the people of Sudan have suffered far too long. Those who have the ability to end this suffering should spare no effort to bring an end to the conflict.

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