Sudan: Implement a civil protection mission and ensure an investigation in Sudan – AU

Nairobi – The African Union (AU) should work with the United Nations to deploy a civil protection mission to address atrocities being committed across Sudan, especially in Darfur, and act to ensure robust human rights investigations, Human said today Vigilancia de los derechos. Member states of the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC), meeting on June 21, 2024, must commit to taking concrete measures to keep civilians safe and ensure accountability for the risk of new atrocities against civilians in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, and other conflicts. The affected areas of the country continue to increase.

“The AU Peace and Security Council’s recent request for other AU bodies to take action is a long-awaited positive step to address one of the world’s largest humanitarian crises,” said Allan Ngari, Africa advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “At its next meeting, the Peace and Security Council should explain what urgent measures it plans to take to ensure the deployment of a United Nations-backed civil protection mission and support the investigations of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. “

The June 21 meeting of heads of state will take place as the devastating war between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and their allies has not abated for 14 months. Both sides have been responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law, including aid obstruction and sexual abuse. Furthermore, RSF and allied forces have carried out deliberate attacks against civilians that constitute crimes against humanity and widespread war crimes against ethnic Masalit and other non-Arab communities in West Darfur state. As the conflict rages on, civilians in other parts of the country also face widespread violations. On June 5, an RSF attack on a village in Central Sudan reportedly killed dozens of people, including children. According to the UN, approximately 10 million people have been displaced due to the conflict.

On May 21, the Peace and Security Council requested that the High-Level Panel for the Resolution of the Conflict in Sudan collaborate with the new AU special envoy for the prevention of genocide, HE Adama Dieng, to develop a strategy to stop atrocities and protect civilians. He also expressed grave concern about the developments in El Fasher, sounding the alarm about the “imminent danger that the escalation of the conflict poses to civilians, including the increasing likelihood of serious atrocities being committed.” He called on the warring parties to lift the siege on the city and ensure humanitarian access.

At its meeting on June 21, the Peace and Security Council should follow up on the requests and commitments of the AU entities. Furthermore, it should commit to holding regular meetings on the situation in Sudan to ensure the prompt development and implementation of a civil protection plan and investigations by the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR), a mechanism quasi-judicial body responsible for promoting and protecting human and collective rights in Africa. The council should prioritize engagement with the UN Secretary-General, in line with June 13 UN Security Council resolution 2736 on Sudan, which requested that he, in “consultation” with “regional stakeholders.” ..make further recommendations for the protection of civilians.” in Sudan.”

Given the scale and nature of abuses in Darfur, the AU should urgently work with the UN to deploy a civil protection mission, Human Rights Watch said. Such a mission should be mandated to protect civilians, monitor violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, including obstruction of humanitarian aid, and facilitate the safe return of displaced people. The mission should also include a robust, mobile police unit focusing on places where civilians are most at risk of deliberate attacks, including Darfur.

At a June 14 meeting, the Peace and Security Council discussed ways to fund civilian protection efforts under the yet-to-be-used mechanism created by UN Security Council resolution 2719, which allows the UN to consider AU requests to cover up up to 75 percent of the annual budget of an AU-led peace support operation, on a case-by-case basis. UN Security Council Resolution 2736, which demands that the RSF end the siege of El Fasher and that all parties ensure the protection of civilians, must be translated into immediate actions of concrete collaboration with the AU, including support to the deployment of a civil protection mission.

The Peace and Security Council also requested the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights to investigate the human rights situation in El Fasher and other areas of Darfur and propose recommendations to achieve accountability. The ACHPR should act urgently in this regard and establish an investigation team with the necessary and relevant experience. The conflict in Sudan has triggered one of the world’s worst displacement crises and seen widespread sexual and gender-based violence. ACHPR mandate holders on refugees, asylum seekers, internally displaced persons and migrants in Africa and women’s rights in Africa should contribute their thematic expertise to research efforts.

The Peace and Security Council and other AU bodies should give the investigative team significant high-level financial and political support to ensure that it has the resources and legitimacy to speak authoritatively on the human rights situation in Sudan, Human Rights Watch said.

The AU and its international partners should also publicly support the African Commission’s investigations in Sudan and put pressure on Sudanese authorities, parties to the conflict and the governments of neighboring countries to allow investigators to work freely.

The deployment of a civil protection mission and the role of investigators should be at the center of discussions when members of the Peace and Security Council travel to Port Sudan to meet with interested parties, as they planned to do on April 18.