The Darfur Consortium

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CIHRS calls on Arab governments to bring an end to the humanitarian crisis in Darfur

(CAIRO, January 23, 2023) On the occasion of a summit between the presidents and leaders of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Sudan and Algeria being held in Libya today, in preparation for the African Union Summit that will be held at the end of this month, The Cairo Institute of Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) calls on Arab governments to play a more active role in resolving the humanitarian crisis in Darfur to ensure protection of civilians and bring an end to violence in the region.

As such, CIHRS strongly urges the government of Sudan to respect its obligations under international humanitarian law and relevant United Nations (U.N.) Resolutions, and for the governments of Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, and all members of the Arab League, to pressure the government of Sudan to conform to these obligations and take all necessary steps to resolve the Darfur crisis: in particular, to immediately begin providing protection for all civilians, including Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) and aid workers, within Darfur, to accept the deployment of a joint African Union (A.U.)-U.N. peacekeeping force in furtherance of this purpose as provided for in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1706 (2006), and to act in good-faith concerning the implementation of the Darfur Peace Agreement (Abuja) signed by the government of Sudan and the Menawi faction of the Sudan Liberation Movement on 5 May 2006.

It is with disappointment and concern that CIHRS notes that no progress has been achieved in the peace process between the government of Sudan and rebel groups in Darfur since the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement. Indeed, relations between rebels groups in Darfur and the government of Sudan have actually deteriorated over the last nine months. Violent conflict between government forces and rebel factions has increased; and continued support of cross-border rebel operations by Sudan and Chad, is causing interstate hostility, thus endangering the peace and security of the entire region. As such, CIHRS calls on the signatories of the Darfur Peace Agreement to conform to this agreement in good-faith, and in an accountable and transparent manner; and to reinvigorate the Darfur peace process by attempting to renegotiate the terms and/or conditions of the Darfur Peace Agreement in order to find a compromise suitable to a larger percentage of rebel groups operating in Darfur; and for governments who are members of the Arab League to push for and facilitate such a process. Furthermore, CIHRS calls on the governments of Sudan and Chad to refrain from any and all support for cross-border rebel activities.

CIHRS would also like to call attention to the dramatic deterioration of humanitarian services and aid to millions of displaced peoples within and surrounding the Darfur region. In a statement released on 17 January 2007, U.N. bodies operating in the Darfur region said that insecurity caused by increased violence, including the targeting of aid workers, has disrupted aid to large segments of IDPs within Darfur, and humanitarian access is the worst it has been in almost a year, noting that 12 relief workers have been killed in the past six months, more than in the previous two years combined. According to the U.N. "If this situation continues, the humanitarian operation and welfare of the population it aims to support will be irreversibly jeopardized." CIHRS strongly urges the government of Sudan and rebel groups in Darfur to refrain from attacking U.N. and other international aid workers operating in Darfur, and to facilitate the safe-passage of humanitarian supplies and personnel as required by international law. Furthermore, CIHRS calls on governments who are members of the Arab League to denounce any and all attacks on aid workers in Darfur, and to provide any assistance they can to ensure that the IDPs within Darfur receive humanitarian assistance.

Since 2003, fighting in Darfur between rebel and government forces has caused the death of at least 200,000 people and forced another 2.5 million from their homes, some into neighboring Chad. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) more than 250,000 people have been displaced in the nine months following the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement. Prominent INGOs and NGOs have identified the Sudanese government's support of militia groups, such as the Janjaweed, that perpetrate violent assaults against civilians, and the government's frequent use of indiscriminate and arbitrary aerial bombardments of civilian areas, as two of the main causes of civilian deaths and internal displacement within the Darfur region.

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