For three months now, the people of Sudan have endured unspeakable suffering amid violence that is tearing their country apart. As the conflict enters its fourth month, the battle lines are hardening, making it ever more difficult to reach the millions of people who need urgent humanitarian assistance.
Sudan is now one of the world’s most difficult places for humanitarian workers to operate. Hand-in-hand with local organizations, we are doing all we can to deliver life-saving supplies. But we cannot work under the barrel of a gun. We cannot replenish stores of food, water and medicine if brazen looting of these stocks continues. We cannot deliver if our staff are prevented from reaching people in need.
Ultimately, Sudan’s suffering will end only when the fighting ends. In the meantime, we need predictable commitments from the parties to the conflict that allow us to safely deliver humanitarian assistance to people in need, wherever they are. Both sides must abide by the Declaration of Commitments they signed in Jeddah to protect civilians and respect international humanitarian law.
Since the conflict began, more than 3 million people in Sudan – half of them children – have fled the violence, both inside and outside the country. Half of the children remaining in Sudan, numbering some 13.6 million, urgently need humanitarian assistance.
Each day the fighting continues, the misery deepens for Sudanese civilians. The recent discovery of a mass grave outside West Darfur’s capital, El Geneina, is only the latest evidence pointing to a resurgence in ethnic killings in the region. The international community cannot ignore this harsh echo of history in Darfur.
We must all redouble our efforts to ensure that the conflict in Sudan does not spiral into a brutal and interminable civil war with grave consequences for the region. The people of Sudan cannot afford to wait.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).