UN Security Council demands end to Darfur city’s siegeThu, 13 Jun 2024 20:04:05 GMT

The UN Security Council on Thursday demanded an end to the siege of El-Fasher in Sudan’s Darfur region, where fighting between government and paramilitary forces has provoked a humanitarian crisis.War has raged for more than a year between the regular military under army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces led by his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.The Security Council resolution, which was prepared by Britain and received 14 votes in favor with Russia abstaining, “demands that the Rapid Support Forces halt the siege of El-Fasher.”It calls for “an immediate halt to the fighting” and “withdrawal of all fighters that threaten the safety and security of civilians.”El-Fasher in North Darfur is the only state capital in the vast western region not under RSF control, and was previously a key humanitarian hub for an area now on the brink of famine.”The adoption of this resolution sends a clear message,” said Britain’s UN ambassador Barbara Woodward.It aims to help “secure a localized ceasefire around El-Fasher — and create the wider conditions to support de-escalation across the country and ultimately, save lives,” she said.The resolution calls on all parties to allow civilians who wish to leave El-Fasher to do so.The text also asks UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to make recommendations for improvements in the protection of civilians.Earlier in June, Guterres urged a ceasefire in the wake of a paramilitary attack on a village that reportedly left more than 100 people dead.Welcoming the resolution’s adoption, Louis Charbonneau of Human Rights Watch called on Guterres to “urgently work with African Union member states to deploy a mission mandated to protect civilians.””Today’s resolution puts the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces on notice that the world is watching,” he said.Thursday’s resolution calls on all parties to agree on an immediate ceasefire and to remove obstacles to humanitarian access. It also highlights in particular the need for the reopening of the Adre border crossing, between Chad and Sudan.It also calls on member states to “refrain from external interference,” and demands compliance with the arms embargo on the country.Last month, the UN committee that coordinates humanitarian aid, representing 19 different organizations, demanded access to Sudan in a joint statement, warning of a “nightmare scenario.””A famine will take hold in large parts of the country. More people will flee to neighboring countries in search of sustenance and safety. More children will succumb to disease and malnutrition,” the Inter-Agency Standing Committee said.The UN Security Council already demanded a ceasefire in March to mark the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, but with no effect.