After the coup against the transitional government of Sudan in 2021, allies became enemies. Rapid Support Forces (RSF, led by Hemedti) and Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF, led by Al-Burhan) have been battling against each other since 15 April 2023 which has led to one of the biggest humanitarian crises in 2023 and requires urgent international attention.
The war between RSF and SAF has been happening in the capital city Khartoum, Darfour area and extended to Wad Madani. Attacks between different Arab groups and targeting of non-Arab communities caused thousands of civilian casualties.
UK minister of Africa has described the situation in the Darfur area as “ethnic cleansing”, as villages of non-Arab communities are targeted and set fire. This is especially being targeted by RSF; women of minority non-Arab villages are also sexually assaulted and raped from young ages. Areas targeted can be seen by satellite images.
Access to necessities
Limited access to basic necessities for food and water has increased malnourished people to more than 19 million, which was predicted to be more than 21.5 million by the end of 2023. International aid has been difficult as calls for a ceasefire have been unsuccessful.
In addition, lack of access to clean water also increased cholera cases, overwhelming the health system that has already been damaged due to the war.
The access to electricity is decreasing, reducing communications within the country and internationally.
Not only internal communications are blocked by restricted electricity, but also targeting of journalists and the lack of freedom of the press through controlling the main source of media communications, the radio, limits the information the citizens receive about the news within the country.
International media has also been limited as the journalists in the area are targeted and need more electricity to deliver the information.
A Map of displacement of civilians in Sudan. Source: UNHCR, updated: December 2023.
Statistics show 6.9 million displaced people, including internal displacement. The war recently spreading to Wad Medani is expected to increase the numbers, as it is the second-largest city where many people from other conflict areas took refuge.
The displacement also puts pressure on neighbouring countries, as the lack of international attention and aid increases the risk of food insecurity and other needs to accommodate refugees’ needs.
These events that have been going on in Sudan break many humanitarian laws and affect every single civilian of Sudan: from fear of instability of the country; the risk of clashes between two forces; risk of persecution and torture of civilians, lack of absolute resources, gender-based and ethnic-based targeting.
We, as Rights Defenders, call for an immediate ceasefire that should also demanded by other international groups to prioritise the lives of civilians. The longevity of the war since April 2023 requires immediate attention and emergency aid with high pressure put on the parties that cause the war.