UN Security Council calls for Ramadan ceasefire in Sudan

According to the UN, 18 million people across Sudan are facing acute hunger

Supporters of the Sudanese armed popular resistance, which backs the army, wave weapons in the air during a rally in Gedaref. AFP
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The UN Security Council adopted on Friday a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Sudan to coincide with the beginning of Ramadan as the situation in the North African continues to deteriorate.

The UK-drafted resolution, which calls on all parties to remove obstructions and allow “full, rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access” to those in need, received 14 votes in favour and one abstention from Russia.

Britain’s deputy ambassador to the UN James Kariuki urged the Sudanese armed forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces to “silence the guns”.

“We further urged the warring parties to build trust and seek a sustainable resolution to the conflict through dialogue,” he said.

Ahead of the vote, Russia’s deputy ambassador Anna Evstigneeva said: “It is surprising that in the case of Sudan, our western colleagues, referring to the need for an urgent solution to the humanitarian situation, have proposed rushing to adopt in the Security Council, a resolution with a precise call for a cessation of hostilities.”

She pointed out the “double standards”, noting the stark contrast in how the “same countries” are prolonging the process of adopting a ceasefire agreement in the Gaza Strip, where a “genuine” massacre is unfolding.

Life in Sudan amid conflict – in pictures

The fighting in Sudan has been raging since mid-April last year and has pitted the army, Gen Abdel Fattah Al Burhan, against RSF leader Gen Mohamed Dagalo, the former number two in the military establishment.

Slovenia's permanent UN representative Samuel Zbogar reminded both sides in the conflict of the commitments they agreed to in the Jeddah Declaration to protect civilians and enable humanitarian access and assistance as well as carrying out confidence-building measures.

“It is crucial to respect and implement this agreement,” he stressed.

According to the UN, 18 million people across Sudan are facing acute hunger, with the most desperate trapped behind the front lines.

About five million are facing starvation, it said.

UN aid chief Martin Griffiths underscored to reporters on Friday the urgent need to enhance humanitarian access in Sudan, regardless of a ceasefire declaration.

He highlighted the “quite extraordinary problems of access” his team has encountered in affected areas and urged all parties involved to engage in dialogue.

Louis Charbonneau, UN director at Human Rights Watch, called the UN adoption "a very belated but important step".

“Council members should now also act to ensure that the arms embargo is respected and those responsible for grave abuses including war crimes are held to account,” he said.

Updated: March 08, 2024, 9:20 PM