Sudan – International Humanitarian Conference for Sudan and its Neighbors – Key Asks on Humanitarian Access (15 April 2024, Paris)

After one year of conflict, Sudan is experiencing a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions. Half the population – 25 million people – need humanitarian assistance, and more than 8 million people have been forced to flee within the country or across Sudan’s borders into neighbouring countries. More than one-third of the population is facing acute food insecurity, and there is now a growing risk of famine in parts of Khartoum and Darfur as the lean season quickly approaches. Women and girls are particularly impacted by this crisis, including by horrific levels of conflict-related sexual violence. There are widespread reports of other serious violations of international humanitarian law and gross violations and abuses of human rights taking place. A telecommunications blackout that started in early February continues to affect large parts of the country, including Darfur, Khartoum and Kordofan, cutting off civilians’ access to financial services and lifesaving information, and impeding humanitarian activities.

The humanitarian community is working hard to mitigate this rising suffering, having reached more than 8 million people last year with lifesaving assistance. But we face three persistent challenges in these efforts: (1) impediments to humanitarian access; (2) major funding gaps for the aid operation; and (3) insufficient international attention on the crisis in Sudan.

As part of an informal meeting held on 14 April in the margins of the International Humanitarian Conference for Sudan and its Neighbours in Paris, chaired by the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator, the following key asks were discussed to facilitate rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access and strengthen the ongoing humanitarian response, which should be pursued along a no-regrets approach. As co-chairs of the humanitarian Conference, the European Union, France and Germany support and endorse these requests and key asks:

1. We call on the warring parties to end their senseless fighting, for which the people of Sudan and neighboring countries bear the brunt. An end to the hostilities can ensure people in need can be reached with humanitarian assistance. In particular, urgent action must be taken to de-escalate the situation in El Fasher, given the imminent and serious risk to civilians residing in and around the town.

2. The parties must take immediate steps to protect civilians and civilian objects. This requires never directing attacks against them and taking constant care to spare them throughout military operations. It also requires protecting food sources and other objects indispensable for civilians’ survival, as well as treating all persons in their power humanely and strictly prohibiting any kind of sexual violence.

3. The parties must immediately and unreservedly abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law, as reflected in their commitments made at Jeddah. This includes facilitating principled humanitarian assistance, with clear instructions issued through all of their relevant military command and other decision-making structures. Actions to politicise, impede, attack, loot or otherwise interfere with humanitarian operations are unacceptable and must stop immediately.

4. Safe, rapid, unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access is needed to reach people in need wherever they are located through all possible routes. This includes cross-border access through Chad (including Adre and Tine crossings) and South Sudan (Renk, Aweil and Panakuach crossings), as well as crossline access (including routes into and out of El Fasher and Khartoum, and the southern route to Darfur and Kordofan via Kosti and El Obeid).

5. Bureaucratic and administrative impediments must be lifted, including the rapid issuance of visas for humanitarian workers, particularly NGOs, to bolster the technical expertise needed to respond to the crisis.

6. A substantial and immediate increase in resources is needed for the 2024 Humanitarian Response Plan, including the Sudan Famine Prevention Plan (FPP) launched on 12 April. Under the FPP, $400 million is needed now so that humanitarian organisations can quickly preposition supplies and increase cash and vouchers before the rainy season starts. Sufficient funding is also required to provide adequate security capacity so that humanitarian organisations can establish the seven operational hubs as planned in the FPP.

Originally published at https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/en/country-files/sudan/news/article/sudan-international-humanitarian-conference-for-sudan-and-its-neighbors-key

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