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António Guterres (UN Secretary-General) on Sudan…

António Guterres (UN Secretary-General) on Sudan - Security Council Media Stakeout

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Comments to the media by António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General, on Sudan.
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"Over the last 48 hours, much of the world has been focused on the crisis that was generated in the Middle East.

As concerning as those developments are, other dramatic life-and-death emergencies are being pushed into the shadows.    

The world is forgetting about the people of Sudan.

Today marks a heartbreaking milestone — one year since the start of fighting between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces.

This is more than a conflict between two warring parties.

It is a war being waged on the Sudanese people.

It is a war on the many thousands of civilians who have been killed, and tens of thousands maimed for life.

It is a war on the 18 million people facing acute hunger, and the communities now staring down the terrifying threat of famine in the months ahead.

It is a war on villages, homes, hospitals, schools and vital systems that have been reduced to rubble in conflict hotspots.

And it is a war on human rights and international humanitarian law.

Indiscriminate attacks that are killing, injuring and terrorizing civilians could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Aid convoys have been targeted. Humanitarian personnel and warehouses have been attacked.

Women and girls are subject to rampant sexual violence.

Meanwhile, the impact of the conflict is spilling across borders.

Over 8 million people have fled their homes in search of safety — 1.8 million to neighbouring countries.

One year on – some 25 million people — half of Sudan's population – need lifesaving assistance.

The latest reports of escalating hostilities in El Fasher – the capital of North Darfur -- are a fresh cause for deep alarm.

Over the weekend, RSF-affiliated militias attacked and burnt villages west of the city – leading to widespread new displacement and fears of a takeover of El Fasher's [only water source nearby.]

Fighting continued today on the outskirts of El Fasher.

Counter attacks have led to more deaths and injuries. 

Let me be clear:  Any attack on El Fasher would be devastating for civilians and could lead to full-blown intercommunal conflict across Darfur. 

It would also upend aid operations in an area already on the brink of famine, since El Fasher has always been a critical UN humanitarian hub.

All parties must facilitate the safe, rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian personnel and supplies through all available routes into El Fasher.

This includes the timely approval of convoys and avoiding any measures that could delay or otherwise obstruct humanitarian movements.

We must do all we can to ensure maximum humanitarian assistance in Darfur and elsewhere. 

Today, the International Humanitarian Conference for Sudan and its Neighbors was hosted by the governments of France, Germany and the European Union.

The Sudanese people desperately need the support and generosity of the global community to help them through this nightmare.

The $2.7 billion Humanitarian Response Plan for Sudan was only 6 per cent funded before the conference.

And the $1.4 billion Regional Refugee Response Plan for the Sudan Crisis - only 7 per cent.

At the same time, as reflected in their commitments made in Jeddah, all parties must ensure full humanitarian access – across borders and battle lines – so vital aid can get to where it's needed most.

They must heed the UN Security Council's call to ensure rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access, and to protect civilians.

But the Sudanese people need more than humanitarian support.

They need an end to the bloodshed.

They need peace.

The only path out of this horror is a political solution.

At this critical moment, in addition to global support for aid, we need a concerted global push for a ceasefire in Sudan followed by a comprehensive peace process.

My Personal Envoy, Mr. Ramtane Lamamra, is working tirelessly with scaled-up mediation efforts.

This includes meeting with the leaders of the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces, as well as leaders across the Horn of Africa and the Gulf Region.

And it includes efforts with the African Union; IGAD -- the Intergovernmental Authority on Development; the League of Arab States and key member states.

Coordinated international efforts will be essential to amplify joint action.

This push for peace also means continuing our work on Sudan's democratic transition – by supporting and empowering civilians — including women's rights groups, young people and others.

This must be an inclusive process that reflects all voices.

The future of Sudan requires the contributions, participation and vision of all Sudanese.

I will not relent in my calls for all parties to silence the guns, and meet the aspirations of the Sudanese people for a peaceful and secure future.

Thank you".

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