Türk expresses grave concern at escalating violence in El-Fasher: Sudan


UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk is gravely concerned by the escalating violence in and around El-Fasher city, North Darfur, where dozens of people have been killed in the past two weeks as hostilities between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have intensified. Reports indicate that both parties have launched indiscriminate attacks using explosive weapons with wide-area effects, such as mortar shells and rockets fired from fighter jets, in residential districts.

At least 43 people, among them women and children, were killed as fighting was taking place between the SAF and RSF – backed by their respective allied militia – since 14 April, when the RSF began its push into El-Fasher.

Civilians are trapped in the city, the only one in Darfur still in the hands of the SAF, afraid of being killed should they attempt to flee. This dire situation is compounded by a severe shortage of essential supplies as deliveries of commercial goods and humanitarian aid have been heavily constrained by the fighting, and delivery trucks are unable to freely transit through RSF-controlled territory.

Since early April, the RSF has conducted several large-scale attacks on the villages in western El-Fasher mostly inhabited by the African Zaghawa ethnic community. RSF has burned down some of the villages, including Durma, Umoshosh, Sarafaya, and Ozbani. Such attacks raise the spectre of further ethnically motivated violence in Darfur, including mass killings. Last year fighting and attacks between the Rizeigat and the African Masalit in West Darfur left hundreds of civilians dead or injured, and thousands displaced from their homes.

The High Commissioner calls for an immediate de-escalation of this catastrophic situation, and an end to the conflict that has ravaged the country for more than a year now. He also calls for an investigation into all alleged violations and abuses of international human rights law and international humanitarian law with a view to ensuring accountability and victims’ rights to truth, justice and reparations. He urges both parties to the conflict and their allies to grant civilians safe passage to other areas, ensure the protection of civilians and civilian objects, and facilitate safe and unhindered humanitarian access.

/Public Release. View in full here.