Photo Source: © -/AFP via Getty Images
Photo Source: © -/AFP via Getty Images

Civil Society Sounds Alarm: Take Immediate Action on Sudan or Be Complicit in Future Atrocities

15 November 2023

We, the undersigned Sudanese and international civil society groups have come together to sound the alarm on future atrocities being committed in Sudan, based on the patterns of atrocities that have occurred in the previous seven months of war. We call on the international community to take decisive preventative action to prevent further atrocities from being perpetrated. The Rapid Support Forces (RSF) have captured major Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) garrisons in south, west, and central Darfur, with evidence of crimes against humanity, war crimes, ethnic cleansing, and conflict related sexual violence (CRSV) being perpetrated against civilians.

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Sudanese grassroots human rights monitors, we have extensive documentation of atrocity crimes over almost seven months of war. However, the history of civilians being subjected to serious human rights abuses in Darfur extends at least as far as 2003. A culture of impunity has emboldened perpetrators of extreme violence to commit a campaign of atrocities in Darfur today. Instead of facing accountability for their role in perpetrating the genocide in Darfur, Generals Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo “Hemedti” have accrued further power and legitimacy culminating in their roles as Head of State and Deputy Head of State following the October 2021 coup.

In the past six months alone, RSF and allied militias have systematically perpetrated abuses against civilian populations. In West Darfur, RSF conducted summary executions of ethnic Massalit, killing and injuring those who were fleeing including children, and burning towns as they swept through. The conflicting parties honed their genocidal tactics over the past twenty years. SAF has failed to provide protection for civilians, rather continuing to carry out indiscriminate attacks. The lack of accountability for previous wrongdoing has emboldened the RSF and SAF to perpetrate further atrocities, including the June 2019 massacre of Sudanese youth in Khartoum.

There are strong opportunities for prevention. Concerted action could prevent the further commission of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and CRSV. We must not wait for the further commissioning of atrocities before acting, to do so would be negligent, if not complicit in what comes next.

These opportunities for prevention of further atrocities should not be missed. We, the undersigned, call on stakeholders to

        • urgently act to ensure the RSF and SAF adhere to obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL) including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and other treaties which Sudan is party to, commitments reflected in the Constitutional Declaration of 2019 and the Juba Peace Agreement of 2020 and commitments both parties made under the Jeddah Declaration of Commitment to Protect the Civilians of Sudan.
        • To uphold the principles of Responsibility to Respect and honor obligations of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the 1949 Geneva Conventions, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and other international human rights law treaties to prevent atrocity crimes.

International stakeholders including UN bodies and member states, the African Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development:

      • to adopt an arms embargo that encompasses all of Sudan and targeted sanctions against parties who violate international humanitarian law;
      • to ensure that appropriate funding is allocated to the Fact Finding Mission in Sudan so it meets the mandate’s requirements to investigate, document, and report on the situation in Sudan since 15 April, 2023, as requested by the Human Rights Council;
      • to engage with neighbouring countries and those hosting Sudanese refugee populations to fulfill their obligations under international law to allow refugees to cross international borders; allow operation of UN agencies and non-governmental organisations to assist new arrivals from Sudan, as well as existing Sudanese refugee populations; and not forcibly return those seeking refuge;
      • Establish humanitarian corridors to allow for the safe evacuation of civilians from conflict areas and the delivery of humanitarian assistance in partnership with local actors.

Jeddah Facilitators:

      • to ensure neither RSF or SAF use the peace talks to legitimise themselves or to pursue military solutions to end the conflict;
      • facilitators must publicly condemn human rights violations committed during the talks and hold the perpetrators accountable;
      • to ensure SAF and RSF uphold their obligations under IHL and IHRL, secure the establishment of full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access, and support an independent ceasefire monitoring mechanism.

US, UK and other donor countries:

      • to address ongoing atrocities through clear and comprehensive strategies that meet the immediate and long-term needs of violence-affected communities, including accountability;
      • to provide technical, material, and financial support to Sudanese human rights documenters;
      • to apply pressure to allies that don’t honour existing sanctions or arms embargo;
      • to allow for flexible funding to support local humanitarian efforts, including Resistance Committees and Emergency Response Rooms in the humanitarian response;
      • to designate Special Envoys on Sudan to lead robust diplomacy aimed at supporting an end to the conflict and supporting the full, equal and meaningful inclusion of marginalised communities in peaceful solutions in Sudan;
      • to support the full, equal and meaningful participation of civilians, especially youth and women at all levels of the political process.


Act for Sudan
Africa Centre for Human Rights
Africans for the Horn of Africa Initiative
Alliance for Peacebuilding
American Friends Service Committee
Atrocities Watch Africa
AWAFY Sudanese Organization
Darfur and Beyond
Darfur Interfaith Network
Darfur Network for Human Rights
DT Institute
East Sudan Civil Society Coalition
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ
Group Against Torture in Sudan (GATS)
Institute for the Study of Genocide
International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute
International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN)
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
International Refugee Rights Initiative
Jewish World Watch
Justice Africa
Justice Africa Sudan
Justice Centre for Advocacy and Legal Consultations
Never Again Coalition
New York Coalition for Sudan
No Business With Genocide
NoirUnited International
Nuba Mountain Union Lawyers
Pan African Lawyers Union
Refugees International
Regional Centre for Training and Development of Civil Society (RCDCS)
Rights for Peace
SIHA Network
Stop Genocide Now
Sudan and South Sudan Forum e. V.
Sudan Cries Hope
Sudan Unlimited
Sudanese Archive
Sudanese Community of Pittsburgh, PA
Sudanese Women Rights Action
The Duty Legacy
The Sentry
The Sudanese Lawyers Democratic Front
United Church of Christ, Justice & Local Church Ministries
US-Educated Sudanese Association (USESA)
Waging Peace

Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and other NGOs


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