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  • Clara Giaminardi

Can we prevent the spread of renewed atrocities in Sudan?

Updated: May 25, 2022

New Report - May 2022

Rights for Peace is alarmed by escalating atrocities in Darfur and continued violence against the pro-democracy movement since the military coup in October 2021. Building on our report Discrimination and Hate Speech Fuel Violence in Sudan (March 2021), this report addresses the ongoing crisis as it develops on interconnected fronts, fuelled by racism, structural discrimination, hate speech and incitement to violence.

The report highlights increasingly violent repression against the pro-democracy movement, including cases of sexual violence, harassment and rape against women human rights defenders (WHRDs). These abuses are allegedly perpetrated by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), headed by General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo (better known as Hemeti, and former military leader of the Janjaweed), as well as other security forces including the the Central Reserve Police (CRP) and Sudan Armed Forces (SAF).

Racism and discrimination are also reigniting inter-communal tensions and clashes in conflict regions such as Darfur, which has spiralled into a new cycle of violence with alarming escalations in April 2022. Intensified violence since the October 2021 coup has seen the RSF backing of ethnic ‘Arab’ disputes over the ethnic ‘black’ communities, reminiscent of the 2003 genocide.

In conflict areas such as Darfur and South Kordofan, whole communities are labelled as the ‘enemy’ – suspected to be affiliated with or loyal to armed groups – based on their ethnic identity.

The instability in the Darfur and South Kordofan regions are also being driven by the conflicts over control of the regions’ rich gold mines. It has seen international players with financial interests in the region, such as the Kremlin-backed Wagner Group, operating to support factions implicated in the violence, further stoking regional tensions. Conflicts for control of resources such as water and land are being exacerbated by climate change impact.

Reported incidents in West Darfur, November 2021 to May 2022. Source: UN OCHA Humanitarian Updates and Flash Reports 2021-2022

Sudan has been listed as of “serious concern” in the Global Centre for R2P’s monitoring of the risk of further escalations in violence and mass atrocities. Action is now required by both national bodies and the international community to de-escalate current conflicts and address the root causes of the tensions.

Our recommendations raise key concerns, including:

  • Increased monitoring and investigation of ongoing atrocities and abuses by the RSF and CRP;

  • Greater committment from the UN and international bodies to ensure protection of civilians and support disarmament, demobilisation and rehabilitation,

  • Further pressure on the Sudanese regime in the form of targeted sanctions towards the leader of the coup, General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the head of the RSF, General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo.

  • The necessity of widespread and comprehensive reform to dismantle the existing discriminatory structures and safeguard human rights.

The findings of our report are based on a series of meetings in South Kordofan, North Darfur and Khartoum, where civil society organisations and policy shapers addressed racism, structural discrimination and necessary reforms.

Read the full report and recommendations here.

Internally displaced person inspects burned home, Darfur 2014. © UNAMID Licence CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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