‘Shared interests of Sudanese people must come first,’ says Volker Turk
The UN human rights chief on Tuesday called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Sudan and urged the warring military and paramilitary to return to the negotiating table.
“Sudan has already endured so much pain and suffering. The fighting is born out of power games and personal interests that only serve to alienate the democratic aspirations of the population,” Volker Turk said in a statement.
“Do those responsible not understand that the civilian population now only craves a peaceful life?” Turk questioned.
Stressing that much of the violence has taken place in densely populated regions of the capital Khartoum, as well as in residential areas of cities throughout the country, he said that air strikes and artillery shelling have put civilians in danger.
“Thousands upon thousands of civilians are trapped in their homes, shielding from the fighting, with no electricity, unable to venture out and worried about running out of food, drinking water and medicine,” Turk said, adding that both parties must remind their fighters of their obligations under international law to ensure the protection of civilians and civilian infrastructure.
Saying that he was particularly horrified by reports of attempted rape, the human rights chief demanded swift, thorough, and impartial investigations into the killings of civilians, including three World Food Programme employees, as well as other reported violations.
“Only a few weeks ago, Sudan appeared to be on the right path towards an agreement that would restore civilian rule,” he said. “Common sense must prevail, and all parties must act to de-escalate tensions. The shared interests of the Sudanese people must come first.”
Also, the director at UN Information Services said on Tuesday’s UN bi-weekly briefing, following Anadolu’s question, that to stop fighting “a coordinated effort by the international community” is needed.
Alessandra Vellucci underlined that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has put “a very strong and intense diplomatic activity” since the conflict began as he spoke immediately to the leaders of both parties as well as the head of the African Union.
“We called on both parties to ceasefire and return to negotiating table,” Seif Magango, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said for his part and added that there is “no better option” than solving the issue.
Fighting erupted on Saturday between the Sudanese army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces in the capital Khartoum and its surroundings.
Since then at least 185 people have been killed and 1,800 injured in armed clashes between the military rivals, according to the OHCHR.