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Statement calling for protection of civilians in El Fasher

May 28, 2024

We the undersigned human rights defenders, organizations and activists are issuing an urgent call to the international community to take urgent and decisive action to protect civilians in Sudan and particularly to respond to the ongoing siege and bombardment of El Fasher and the risks that this poses to civilians.

There are reportedly as many as 28,000 Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia besieging El Fasher, the last major city free from RSF control in the region. Although the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and Darfur armed movements are currently holding the city, an estimated 1.8 million residents and displaced persons are caught in the crossfire. MSF reports that at least 85 civilians were killed and 700 injured in just 10 days from May 10-20. IDP leaders report that about 60,000 IDPs, about 60% of the population, have fled once again from Abu Shouk camp toward the city after fighting there. Civilians are suffering due to indiscriminate aerial bombardment, shelling and systematic attack.

Numerous international voices have called out in alarm. Alice Nderitu, the UN special adviser on the prevention of genocide told the Security Council on 21 May that “The risk of genocide exists in Sudan, it is real and it is growing, every single day.” The UK has condemned the violence and the UN Security Council has convened to discuss it.

Yet no substantive action to protect civilians has been taken. The international community cannot claim not to have been warned. The current siege has been going on for about five weeks, with substantive reporting on the destruction of neighborhoods and targeting of civilians being reported from very early on. This current siege takes place against the backdrop of just over a year of war that has devastated the region. The issues that led to the previous crisis in Darfur in 2003 have not been addressed and the withdrawal of UNAMID created a security vacuum that allowed these dynamics to develop.

Millions of Darfuri and other Sudanese victims are dismayed by the failure of the UN Security Council, the African Union and other international and regional institutions to respond forcefully consistent with the principles of, responsibility to protect, early warning in the context of preventing acts of genocide crimes against humanity.

The UN, AU, and other international actors must take urgent action to ensure the protection of civilians in El Fasher. Such action should include using all possible measure to pressure the parties to agree to a ceasefire. Urgent action should also be taken to more forcefully enforce the arms embargo already imposed on Darfur by the UN Security Council. This could include sanctions on violators of this embargo. It could include the deployment of peacekeepers, reinforcing sanctions against those most responsible, and supporting investigations of international crimes.



Dr. Adeeb Yousif, Conflict Resolution Scholar and Practitioner

Amgad Fareid Eltayeb, Political activist

Andrea Tracy, activist

Elmuez Nur Eldeen, Human Rights Defender

El-Sadig Ali Hassan, Sudan Institute for Democracy

Hafiz Mohamed, Justice Africa for Rights & Development

José Ribeiro e Castro, lawyer and politician, Former Member of the European Parliament, Portugal

Professor Lutz Oette, SOAS Centre for Human Rights Law

Mariam Almansoura Alsadig Almahdi, Vice President of the Umma National Party, and Sudan Former Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mariana Goetz, Rights for Peace

Mohaned El Nour, human rights lawyer

Dr. Mutaal Girshab, Human Rights Education Expert, MENA Region

Najlaa Ahmed, human rights defender

Dr. Salwa Ahmed, human rights defender 

Samia Ishag, human rights defender

Salih Mahmoud Osman, human rights defender


Act for Sudan

African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS)

Africa Initiative for Media and Journalists Safety (AIM – Journalists Safety) 

Anataban South Sudan

AWAFY Sudanese Organization

Darfur Civil Society Platform

Fikra for Studies and Development

Hagiga Initiative

Gisa Group

International Justice Project

Justice Africa Sudan

PAEMA (Preventing and Ending Mass Atrocities) 

Peace Catalysts Organization

Rural Extension Education and Development Organization

Sabah Jedid-South Sudan

Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA) Network

Sudan Transparency and Policy Tracker

Sudanese Organization for Justice and Human Rights (SOJHR)

Sustainable Dialogue Centre

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