The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has warned that the ongoing battles in Sudan are claiming the lives of children in “terrifyingly large numbers”.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, Thursday deplored “unjustified violence” in Sudan, and called on countries to apply pressure “by all possible means” to resolve the crisis.
Turk said at the opening of a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on the situation in Sudan: The fighting that broke out on April 15 left this country in a “disaster.”
He continued, “I take this opportunity to urge all countries with influence in the region to push for a solution to this crisis, by all possible means.”
This emergency meeting of the UN Human Rights Council was convened at the joint request of the United Kingdom, Norway, the United States and Germany, and was supported by dozens of countries.
The battles between the army led by Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and the Rapid Support Forces led by Muhammad Hamdan Dagalo, known as “Hemedti”, resulted in more than 750 dead and five thousand wounded, according to non-governmental organizations and the authorities.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that the ongoing battles in Sudan are claiming the lives of children in “terrifyingly large numbers,” noting reports that seven children fall between dead and wounded every hour.
Türk strongly condemned “this unjustified violence, in which both sides violated international humanitarian law, in particular the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution.”
He said that the Sudanese army “launched attacks on crowded civilian areas, including air strikes,” and “last week, an air strike apparently hit the vicinity of a hospital in the East Nile district of Khartoum, killing a number of civilians.”
An immediate cease-fire
“The Rapid Support Forces appear to have seized several buildings in Khartoum to use as bases of operations, expelled residents and launched attacks from densely populated residential areas,” he added.
He stated that his office had received several reports of sexual violence committed by men in military uniform, as well as “allegations of illegal executions and enforced disappearances”.
At the end of the meeting, the 47 member states of the Human Rights Council will vote on a draft resolution calling for an “immediate cessation of violence by all parties, without preconditions.”
The text condemns all violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, but it does not establish an investigation mechanism, leaving the High Commissioner and the United Nations expert on human rights in Sudan the task of documenting it.
As of May 9, more than 160,000 people have sought refuge in neighboring countries, while the number of displaced Sudanese inside the country has exceeded 700,000, according to the United Nations.