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Norway concerned about continued fighting in Sudan

Press statement

April 15 marks one year since the outbreak of war in Sudan – an unimaginable tragedy for the Sudanese people. The very existence of the Sudanese state is in danger; the social fabric is crumbling. It will take years to recover, and maybe generations to heal.

We are appalled by the extreme human suffering. Thousands of civilians have been killed and maimed. More than one fifth of Sudan’s population is forcibly displaced – making it the world’s largest displacement crisis. We urge the warring parties to stop the fighting immediately and agree to a sustained ceasefire.

An increasing number of people are dying from hunger, malnutrition, and related diseases. 18 million people are facing acute food insecurity and 5 million of these are on the brink of famine. Urgent and significant measures are required by both parties to mitigate the increasing risk of famine and suffering. The parties must adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law, protect civilians, ensure full and unhindered humanitarian access, and fully respect international human rights law. Special attention needs to be given to the vulnerable and historically marginalized areas such as Darfur, the Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan (Nuba Mountains).

Recent reporting from the UN reveals that both parties to the conflict have allegedly committed gross violations and abuses of international human rights law, as well as serious violations of international humanitarian law, some of which may amount to war crimes. We are shocked by the reports on widespread conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV) and deeply concerned for especially women and children. Norway condemns all violations and abuses in the strongest possible terms and encourage all parties to cooperate with the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission for the Sudan. Those responsible must be held accountable. Victims deserve justice.

There is no military solution to this conflict. The only way to achieve a sustainable peace is through a representative and inclusive Sudanese process built on democratic principles. A civilian government must lead the country through a new transition period to elections. The region and the international community must support a political process in a coordinated effort, with meaningful and real participation of women and youth. Not only are the fates of the Sudanese people at stake, but the war is also a danger to regional and international peace and security.

Although the situation in Sudan can be described as a living nightmare, there are signs of hope. We are immensely impressed with the efforts made by Sudanese civil society and grassroot organisations mitigating the effects of the war. One example is the emergency response rooms and youth networks providing humanitarian services in their neighborhoods when international organisations are hindered. We salute their bravery.  The young people of Sudan have not given up. They demonstrate that change is possible. They represent the future.

Norway has been a long-standing friend to the Sudanese people. We share the basic aspirations for freedom, peace and justice, as it was expressed in the 2018-2019 Revolution, and we will reject the return of authoritarian rule. Our commitment is long-term. We believe a new and better Sudan can emerge from the horror of the current situation.

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