The Sudanese people have had enough of the devastating conflict raging inside the country, UN investigators said on Thursday as the fighting rolls on into a second year. Sudan’s warring parties must commit to an immediate ceasefire, end attacks on civilians and ensure unimpeded access to humanitarian aid, the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission for the Sudan insisted.
“It’s beyond time for this devastating war to stop,” said Mohamed Chande Othman, the mission’s chair. “The Sudanese people have endured enough. The warring parties must find a path for peace and respect for human rights.” Fighting in Sudan erupted on April 15 last year between the regular army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.
The conflict has killed thousands and sparked a humanitarian disaster. In October, the UN Human Rights Council established a fact-finding mission to probe all alleged human rights and international humanitarian law violations in the conflict. Othman, a former chief justice of Tanzania, said the Sudanese army and the paramilitaries had shown little regard for protecting civilians, and the mission was investigating reports of repeated attacks on non-combatants, schools and hospitals.
Attacks on aid convoys have also been reported, the mission said in a statement. “Aid agencies are persevering even though there have been attacks and looting of humanitarian convoys, personnel and warehouses,” said Mona Rishmawi, one of the mission’s three investigators.
“We are also investigating the deliberate blocking of humanitarian assistance destined for civilians living in areas controlled by the opposite side,” she said. The mission also raised concerns about poor harvests, soaring grain prices and the risk of a food catastrophe. They called on the two sides to commit to a comprehensive peace process.
The mission will submit a comprehensive report to the Human Rights Council at its September-October session. More than 8.5mn people have fled their homes since the fighting broke out, with nearly 1.8 million having escaped across the country’s borders.
The UN refugee agency said Tuesday that thousands of people were still fleeing the country daily.