USG Rosemary DiCarlo’s Opening Remarks at the
UNGA78 High-Level Ministerial Side Event “The Cost of Inaction in Sudan” on the
Humanitarian Response in Sudan and the Region
New York, 20 September 2023
I would like to thank the co-hosts for the opportunity to address the crisis in Sudan.
More than five months have passed since the outbreak of the conflict between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces. Neither warring party is close to victory, yet they continue their brutal fight. Civilians have paid a heavy price for this senseless violence.
Homes, businesses, and UN premises have been destroyed and looted. Over 5,000 women, men, and children have been killed, and millions displaced. Sudan is now home to the highest number of internally displaced people (IDPs) in the world, with at least 7.1 million people — including an estimated 3.3 million children — uprooted from their homes. More than 6 million Sudanese are one step away from famine. These numbers will keep growing, as long as the guns keep talking.
I strongly condemn the ethnic violence in Darfur. Warring parties continue to systematically violate international humanitarian and human rights law. Civilians and civilian infrastructure, including health facilities, places of worship, water and electricity installations have been targeted, damaged, and destroyed.
There have been shocking accounts of widespread rape and sexual violence. There must be accountability for these crimes, as well as medical and psychosocial support for survivors. The parties must also put in place mechanisms to prevent recurrence of such violence.
As the outbreak of fighting in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions shows, the conflict is spreading and leading to the increased fragmentation of the country.
The warring parties are not operating in a vacuum. The conflict is being fuelled by cross-border mobilization, including along tribal lines, as well as the movement of fighters and the flow of weapons and ammunition from outside the country. This risks plunging the region into wider conflict.
All communities and regional actors must refrain from taking sides. Instead, they must focus their efforts on preventing further escalation and ending the violence.
Despite the challenges of recent weeks and months, our special political mission, UNITAMS, has maintained a presence of national and international personnel in Sudan, and continues to carry out critical work. This includes field-based and remote human rights monitoring and verification, as well as support to de-escalation activities through the Darfur Permanent Ceasefire Committee.
The Mission has also continued its political efforts, in close coordination with the African Union, IGAD, the League of Arab States and other regional actors. It also provides support to civilian political actors in their efforts to coalesce around a common platform to resolve the conflict.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Political inaction on Sudan has already exacted a heavy cost, with thousands of civilians killed, injured, and displaced. In addition to essential humanitarian action, we also need an increase in effective diplomacy. The international community can — and must — do more to help stop the fighting and find a path to a political settlement.
Sudanese warring parties must end the fighting and return to Jeddah to advance a meaningful ceasefire that will lead to a durable cession of hostilities. This will require political will, a robust monitoring and verification mechanism, and the ability to hold the warring parties accountable. I also urge the sides to avoid taking unilateral actions that may intensify the fighting.
We must increase pressure on the warring parties to end attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, including heath centres and hospitals, and grant the safe and unfettered access of humanitarian actors to those in need.
The United Nations supports all efforts to end the fighting and advance a political solution.
The war in Sudan has shattered the hopes and aspirations of Sudanese women and men whose determination and sacrifices led to the December Revolution in 2018, which inspired all of us across the world. Many now worry that the conflict will take the country back to the dark days of the old regime. The international community – including all of us here today – must stand with the Sudanese people to prevent this from happening and end the war as a matter of urgency.