Sudan’s opposing parties agree to allow humanitarian aid to resume


Sudan’s warring parties have agreed on a set of principles that would allow humanitarian aid to resume in the country.

The United States (US) Department confirmed an agreed framework called ‘The Declaration of Commitment’ to protect civilians and allow humanitarian operations to be respected.

While the agreement has been widely welcomed, US-Saudi hosted talks in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia have not, as yet, delivered on a permanent ceasefire.

In the absence of a ceasefire, the United Nations has been pressing parties to agree to a set of humanitarian principles that would allow for aid to flow to the millions living on the edge even before the latest fighting erupted.

The UN Secretary General’s Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, “The Secretary-General welcomes the signing by the parties to the conflict in Sudan of the Declaration of Commitment to protect civilians and guarantee the safe passage of humanitarian aid in the country. While humanitarian workers, most notably local partners, have continued to deliver in very difficult circumstances, the Secretary-General hopes this Declaration will ensure that the relief operation can scale up swiftly and safely to meet the needs of millions of people in Sudan. He reiterates his call for an immediate ceasefire and expanded discussions to achieve a permanent cessation of hostilities. The United Nations will spare no effort to assist in the Declaration’s implementation and will continue to deliver humanitarian aid, ceasefire or not. ”

Declaration of Commitment made to allow humanitarian access to Sudan:

The detailed Declaration of Commitment includes pledges from both sides to respect international humanitarian and human rights law including distinguishing between civilians and combatants and between civilian objects and military targets, to allow and facilitate unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief and personnel and observing the implementation of regular humanitarian pauses as needed – among other parameters.

Hoping to arrest violations by both military factions – as articulated by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk.

“I strongly condemn this wanton violence, in which both sides have trampled international humanitarian law, notably the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution. The Sudanese military has launched attacks in densely occupied civilian areas, including airstrikes. Last week one airstrike reportedly hit the vicinity of a hospital in the East Nile area of Khartoum, killing several civilians. The RSF, meanwhile, has allegedly taken over numerous buildings in Khartoum to use as operational bases, evicting residents and launching attacks from densely inhabited urban areas.”

More than 730 000 people have been internally displaced since the fighting between Sudan’s Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces began almost a month ago while the UN has warned that in the absence of a truce, more than 800 000 could flee the country.

Volker Perthes is the SG’s Special Representative and Head of the UN Political Mission in Sudan.

“This is the first time that we have a mutual declaration – this is not a ceasefire- but a mutual signed declaration of the two warring parties on respecting international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and some more concrete provisions like vacating hospitals and medical facilities, which is good. And of course, the aim is to have a ceasefire which is also mutually agreed which I hope would give more stability and more respect to a ceasefire than when it is only based on unilateral declarations.”

Evacuation underway in Sudan as conflict continues: Sophie Mokoena

The United States, which is co-hosting the talks in Saudi Arabia, says they will now focus on reaching an agreement on an effective ceasefire of up to approximately ten days to facilitate the humanitarian agreement.

Referring to a step-by-step approach agreed by the parties, subsequent discussions will be focused on a permanent cessation of hostilities that has to date been out of reach for the belligerents.

The UN has been clear that any notion of a military victory for either side would be a miscalculation.

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