UN rights chief cautions Sudan commanders of escalating violence in city of El-Fasher News
RomanDeckert, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
UN rights chief cautions Sudan commanders of escalating violence in city of El-Fasher

The UN human rights chief expressed Friday serious concerns regarding increasing violence near the Sudanese city of El-Fasher. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk recently held discussions with commanders from both sides of the conflict, stressing the potential for a humanitarian catastrophe in the event of an attack on the city.

Toby Harward, the UN’s deputy humanitarian coordinator for Sudan, told UN News:

The humanitarian situation in El Fasher and in localities surrounding in North Darfur’s capital is catastrophic. During the last weeks, there has been a significant deterioration in the security situation, including increasing arbitrary killings, theft of livestock, systematic burning of entire villages in rural areas, escalating air bombardments of parts of the city and a tightening siege around El Fasher, which has halted humanitarian aid convoys and choked off commercial trade.

Conflict engulfed Sudan in mid-April 2023 as tensions between General Abdel Fattah Burhan’s military and Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo’s paramilitary Rapid Support Forces escalated into street battles in the capital, Khartoum. One of the primary sources of tension arose from the inclusion of the RSF in the armed forces.

The conflict has spread to various parts of the country, mainly urban areas and the expansive western Darfur region. According to reports, there has been a significant increase in casualties in El-Fasher, with at least 58 civilians killed and 213 others injured in the recent surge of fighting in the North Darfur town.

Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for High Commissioner Volker Türk, stated that the High Commissioner warns the commanders about the catastrophic impact on civilians and the potential for further intercommunal conflict, leading to disastrous humanitarian consequences.

The conflict in Sudan has persisted for the past thirteen months. According to estimates, around 25 million people, including 14 million children, need support as a result of the war. Despite donors pledging $2.1 billion in humanitarian aid for Sudan on April 15, 2024, the UN’s appeal for $2.7 billion to assist nearly 15 million out of the country’s 58 million people, has only received 12 percent of the required funding, according to Nkweta-Salami.

According to estimates by the UN, the number of casualties in Sudan has reached 15,000 since the conflict began in April 2023. In addition, the conflict has forced 8.8 million individuals from their homes.