Proposed UN resolution calls for ceasefire in conflict-torn Sudan during upcoming Muslim holy month

UNITED NATIONS –

Britain has circulated a draft UN resolution calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities in conflict-torn Sudan ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which begins soon.

The draft, obtained Wednesday night by The Associated Press, expresses “serious concern about the growing violence and the catastrophic and deteriorating humanitarian situation, including critical levels of acute food insecurity, particularly in Darfur.”

With Ramadan expected to begin around Sunday, depending on the sighting of the new moon, the council is expected to vote quickly on the resolution, likely on Friday.

Sudan descended into chaos last April, when long-simmering tensions between its army led by General Abdel Fattah Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces commanded by Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo erupted into street battles in the capital, Khartoum.

The fighting spread to other parts of the country, especially urban areas, but in Sudan’s western Darfur region it took a different form, with brutal attacks by the Arab-dominated Rapid Support Forces against ethnic civilians. African. Thousands of people have been killed.

Two decades ago, Darfur became synonymous with genocide and war crimes, particularly by the notorious Arab Janjaweed militias against populations identifying as Central or East African.

International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan said in late January that there is reason to believe that both sides in the current conflict are committing possible war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide in Darfur.

Meanwhile, France’s ambassador to the UN, Nicolas de Riviere, said: “It would be a shame if we had a Ramadan truce in Sudan and no Ramadan truce in Gaza.”

“We need both,” he said.

The United States vetoed a resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza on February 20, which had the support of nearly all 15 members of the Security Council.

The United States is negotiating its own proposed resolution on Gaza, with the latest draft calling for an “approximately six-week ceasefire in Gaza along with the release of all hostages” as soon as Israel and Hamas reach an agreement. The draft does not mention Ramadan.

The latest draft on a ceasefire in Sudan was distributed on the same day the head of the UN food agency warned that the conflict in Sudan “risks triggering the world’s biggest hunger crisis” as global attention focuses on the war between Israel and Hamas.

Cindy McCain, director of the World Food Programme, said the conflict in Sudan has shattered the lives of millions and called on warring parties to stop fighting and allow humanitarian agencies to provide life-saving assistance.

According to that UN agency, 18 million people across Sudan face acute hunger, and the most desperate are trapped behind the front lines. These include five million facing famine, he said.

The proposed UN resolution calls on all parties to remove obstructions and allow “full, rapid, secure and unimpeded humanitarian access”, including across Sudan’s borders and across conflict lines.

The draft also calls for strengthening the coordination of various regional and international efforts “to facilitate the end of the conflict and restore an inclusive and lasting civilian-led democratic transition.”

U.N. experts said in a report obtained by the AP on March 1 that Rapid Support Forces fighters and their allied militias carried out ethnic killings and widespread rape as they took control of much of Darfur, which may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The report to the Security Council painted a horrifying picture of the brutality of the Arab-dominated RSF against Africans in Darfur. It also detailed how the force managed to gain control of four of Darfur’s five states, including through complex financial networks involving dozens of companies.

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