UK draft pushes ceasefire in conflict-torn Sudan ceasefire during Ramadan

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

The draft, obtained late Wednesday by The Associated Press, expresses “grave concern over the spreading violence and the catastrophic and deteriorating humanitarian situation, including crisis 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 plunged into chaos last April, when long-simmering tensions between its military led by Gen. Abdel Fattah al Burhan and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces commanded by Mohammed Hamdan Daglo broke out into street battles in the capital, Khartoum.

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

World’s largest hunger crisis

Two decades ago, Darfur became synonymous with genocide and war crimes, particularly by the Popular Defence Forces, a government-backed/linked militia known as the Janjaweed, against populations that identify as Central or East African.

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

The latest draft on a Sudan ceasefire was circulated on the same day the head of the UN food agency warned that the Sudan conflict “risks triggering the world’s largest hunger crisis” as global attention is focused on the Israeli war on Gaza.

Allowing unhindered humanitarian access

According to that UN agency, 18 million people across Sudan are facing acute hunger, with the most desperate trapped behind the front lines. They include 5 million who face starvation, it said.

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

The draft also urges strengthened coordination of several regional and international efforts “to facilitate an end to the conflict and to restore a lasting inclusive civilian-led democratic transition.”

UN experts said in a report obtained by AP on March 1 that fighters for the Rapid Support Forces and their allied militias carried out widespread ethnic killings and rapes while taking control of much of Darfur that may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.



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