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UN Security Council To Vote On Demand For Halt To Siege Of Sudanese City

UN Security Coincil draft resolution demands a halt to the siege of al-Fashir in Sudan's North Darfur region by the paramilitary RSF.
sudan, UN Security Council, Darfur, war crimes, RSF
Sudanese Army soldiers on street/ File/ Reuters screen grab/ April 2024

UNSC On Sudan Darfur

The United Nations Security Council is likely to vote on Thursday on a British-drafted resolution that demands a halt to the siege of al-Fashir in Sudan’s North Darfur region by the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), diplomats said on Wednesday. The draft text also calls for an immediate halt to the fighting and for de-escalation in and around the city. And the withdrawal of all fighters that threaten the safety and security of civilians.

Britain requested a vote on the draft by the 15-member council this Thursday afternoon. The resolution requires at least nine approvals from the council members and no vetoes to pass. The P-5 )(Permanent 5 members) Russia, China, the United States, Britain or France can veto the resolution.

War erupted in Sudan in April last year. The conflict between the Sudanese army (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) has created the world’s largest displacement crisis. Al-Fashir is the last major city in the vast, western Darfur region not under control of the RSF. The RSF and its allies swept through four other Darfur state capitals last year. The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and allied militias were blamed for a campaign of ethnically driven killings against non-Arab groups and other abuses in West Darfur.

Top U.N. officials warned the Security Council in April that 800,000 people in al-Fashir were in “extreme and immediate danger”. They said the worsening violence advances and threatens to “unleash bloody intercommunal strife throughout Darfur.” The draft Security Council resolution “demands that all parties to the conflict ensure the protection of civilians. Including by allowing civilians wishing to move within and out of Al-Fashir to safer areas to do so.”

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The draft resolution also calls on countries “to refrain from external interference which seeks to foment conflict and instability. It asks instead to support efforts for a durable peace. It also reminds all parties to the conflict and member states who facilitate the transfers of arms and military material to Darfur of their obligations to comply with the arms embargo measures.”

The U.S. says the warring parties have committed war crimes. It also says the RSF and allied militias have also committed crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. The U.N. says that nearly 25 million people – half Sudan‘s population – need aid and some eight million have fled their homes and hunger is rising. The RSF and allied Arab militia killed between 10,000 and 15,000 people in one city alone in Sudan’s West Darfur region last year in ethnic violence. This is according to a U.N. sanctions monitors report in January.

The draft text to be voted on by the Security Council “calls on the parties to the conflict to seek an immediate cessation of hostilities, leading to a sustainable resolution to the conflict, through dialogue.”

(With inputs from Reuters)