The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission), through Honourable Commissioner Hatem Essaiem the Country Rapporteur for Sudan, and Honourable Commissioner Solomon Ayele Dersso, Focal Point of the African Commission on Human Rights in Conflict Situation, is following with deep concern the grave unfolding situation in Sudan.
Reports reaching the African Commission reveal that since the outbreak of fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces on 15 April various human and peoples’ rights of the people of Sudan are put in great peril with the violence worsening by the day.
The African Commission expresses its outrage in the strongest terms possible regarding the indiscriminate conduct of hostilities including bombings and shelling of sites in civilian residential areas causing the death and maiming of an increasing number of people inflicting enormous suffering and pain and destruction of civilian infrastructure; as well as the attack on hospitals which has repeatedly led to the destruction of 12 hospitals and health facilities.
The African Commission is concerned about the fighting and the violence it continues to inflict on the people in the various parts of the country where hostilities are being conducted constituting grave threats to the lives, bodily security, liberty, and property of peoples and the right of peoples to peace and security.
The African Commission also notes the complete disregard of the principles of international humanitarian law and the lack of humanitarian access for the sick and wounded and for people stranded in places with no amenities and access to basic needs including food and water.
The African Commission decries the reports of emerging involvement of foreign parties in supporting the different sides to the conflict in Sudan.
In light of the foregoing the African Commission
1) strongly condemns the lack of regard of the conflict parties to minimum standards on the Protection of civilians including those under the African Charter and international humanitarian law;
2) deplores the various violations the fighting is occasioning to civilians and civilian infrastructure including loss of lives, bodily injuries, psychological trauma, destruction of homes, obstruction of access to health care for the wounded and the sick, access to basic necessitates for families stranded in their homes and other places of safety, sexual violence against women and girls including rape by personnel of the conflict parties;
2) reminds the conflict parties that they bear responsibility for all the violations, pain and suffering that their actions are inflicting on civilians and will be held accountable for these violations;
3) calls for immediate, unconditional cessation of hostilities and the urgent establishment of humanitarian access for people in need;
4) draws the conflict parties’ attention that they have an obligation under Article 23 of the African Charter to collaborate with mediation and peace-making processes and in this regard the imperative for them to unconditionally heed the call from the Peace and Security Council and the regional body IGAD for silencing the guns and to allow the deployment of the designated leaders of the AU Commission and leaders of IGAD member states;
5) calls on the AU Commission to initiate in collaboration with the African Commission a mechanism for the documentation and reporting on the human rights issues in the ongoing fighting in Sudan including through the assignments of an investigation mission by the PSC.