Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Sudan - UNITAMS
Statement28 March 2022
Thank you SRSG Perthes for your excellent briefing this morning. I have to say you paint a bleak picture of the situation in Sudan.
We deeply regret that the fallout from the coup last October continues to have such devastating effects on the lives of the people of Sudan. In this regard, I would like to make three points this morning.
First, we roundly condemn the continued use of violent tactics by the security forces against civilians, which we have seen have resulted in the death and injury of hundreds. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the sexual violence that has been used as a tool to intimidate and punish women and men in exercising their civil and political rights. And your remarks on that today Volker were particular shocking.
The horrific reports of the gang rape of a teenage girl in Khartoum two weeks ago, by a large group of uniformed Sudanese security forces as she was getting off a bus, starkly exemplify the situation faced by many women in Sudan. We know this is not an isolated incident. We have seen systematic terrorising of the civilian population by the security forces, and that has been facilitated by granting them new powers and immunities. I want to commend this young woman’s bravery in coming forward. We call on the Sudanese authorities to carry out an investigation into this heinous crime.
We are also very concerned by the continued detention of protestors, activists and leading political figures, which is impeding a political resolution to the crisis.
Across the country, we are seeing an upsurge in violence as parties seem to be leveraging the wider political crisis in order to consolidate their interests. The increase in attacks on civilians in regions such as Darfur and South Kordofan, have undoubted echoes of previous conflicts. This reinforces the urgent need to return to the path of transition, peace building and the implementation of the Juba Peace Agreement. The Sudanese authorities must also fulfil their JPA commitments on transitional justice, including their important and urgent obligation to cooperate with the International Criminal Court.
Second, we share the concerns you have outlined today Volker about the bleak economic picture.
Let me be clear, the economic catastrophe facing Sudan stems directly from the military coup. Hard won economic and governance reforms, which we had welcomed at this table, have been unwound by the coup before they had a chance to fully deliver for the very people they intended to help. This is deeply regrettable. Of course, there is no doubt that Sudan is vulnerable to the knock-on effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which is driving up the cost of basic food staples. WFP, FAO, and you this morning Volker, tell us that the number of people facing acute hunger in Sudan will likely double, to more than 18 million by September 2022. This is an exceptionally worrying state of affairs and we will continue to be vigilant.
The people of Sudan have borne enough. To effectively address the looming economic and humanitarian catastrophe there must be a return to constitutional order and a civilian-led democratic transition. Meanwhile, the EU and the international community will assume their obligations and ensure that humanitarian support continues to flow to those that need it most in Sudan.
Third, and finally, we fully support the work you are doing Volker on facilitating the political consultative process. And we welcome that you are working alongside the AU and IGAD. We call on all parties to engage with this process in good faith and with an openness to finding agreement on a way out of this crisis to a civilian-led transition. This process must continue to be inclusive. We believe that the intention of that word means the meaningful participation of women who will be critical to ensuring its lasting success. We cannot emphasise that enough and we are very glad that the Secretary General and you Volker are paying attention to that.
Lastly, Madam President, Ireland remains steadfast in our support of the people of Sudan in their demands for freedom, peace and justice. Thank you.