Sudan: UNHCR warns of increasing violence and human rights violations against civilians in Darfur
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is gravely concerned at the latest developments in Sudan as fighting escalates in the Darfur region.
Those who have managed to escape across borders are arriving in droves. More than 8,000 people have fled into neighbouring Chad in the last week alone – a figure likely to be an underestimate due to challenges registering new arrivals. UNHCR, with the government and partners on the ground in Chad, is preparing for more arrivals of refugees as the conflict in Sudan rages on.
More than 800 people have been reportedly killed by armed groups in Ardamata, West Darfur, an area so far less affected by the conflict. Ardamata also housed a camp for internally displaced people, where close to 100 shelters have been razed to the ground. Extensive looting – including of UNHCR relief items – has taken place in the area.
Reports of continued sexual violence, torture, arbitrary killings, extortion of civilians and targeting of specific ethnic groups are deeply alarming. Other reports also indicate that thousands of internally displaced people had to flee a camp in El Geneina.
“Twenty years ago, the world was shocked by the terrible atrocities and human rights violations in Darfur. We fear a similar dynamic might be developing. An immediate end to the fighting and unconditional respect for the civilian population by all parties are crucial to avoid another catastrophe,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi.
UNHCR calls for an end to the fighting and for all parties to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law, including allowing the safe passage of civilians as they move in search of safety.
The conflict in Sudan has, since April 2023, displaced more than 4.8 million people inside the country and a further 1.2 million to neighbouring countries.