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Sudan: an international conference in Paris, one year after the start of the war

An international conference opens Monday in Paris on Sudan, a year after the start of the civil war, with the hope of reawakening mobilization on “a forgotten crisis» with catastrophic humanitarian consequences and major geopolitical risks.

The meeting, co-chaired in particular by Germany, will combine a political component in the morning, at ministerial level, to try to find ways out of the conflict, a humanitarian component to mobilize donations and massively bring aid into this devastated country in the Horn of Africa, as well as a meeting of around forty members of Sudanese civil society.

The idea is to bring the crisis to the top of the agenda», Estimated Christophe Lemoine, deputy spokesperson for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Sudan must not be allowed to become a forgotten crisis“, evoking a crisis “humanitarian but also geopolitical. The risk of breakup of Sudan and destabilization of the entire Horn is absolutely major“.

The war in Sudan was started on April 15, 2023 between forces loyal to army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhane and those of Mohamed Hamdane Daglo, his former deputy and commander of the paramilitary rapid support forces (RSF).

The conflict has left thousands dead and caused a humanitarian catastrophe. More than 3.4 million people have a need “urgent» of a humanitarian response in Chad, according to Action Against Hunger (ACF), consequence of the massive influx of refugees fleeing the war in Sudan.

Civilians suffer from starvation, mass sexual violence, large-scale ethnic massacres and executions. (…) Yet the world continues to look elsewhere“, despairs Will Carter, the director in Sudan of the Norwegian Refugee Council. The war has forced around 1.8 million people to leave the country and displaced at least 6.7 million internally.

The hope of an international “awakening”

While 25 million people, or half of the country’s population, need help, Jean Stowell, head of mission of Doctors Without Borders in Sudan, denounces for her part “an extremely worrying humanitarian void“.

In addition to violence-related deaths, we see children dying from malnutrition and lack of vaccines, women suffering complications after unsafe childbirth.», He lists in a press release.

The political meeting, behind closed doors, will notably bring together ministers from Sudan’s neighbors (Chad, Libya, Kenya, Djibouti, South Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia), the Gulf (United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia) and Western powers (States -United States, Great Britain, Norway). Regional organizations such as the African Union, the Arab League and Igad, the bloc of East African countries, will also be present alongside UN agencies.

The project is “to adopt a declaration of principle and take stock of the various peace initiatives», Specified the Quai d’Orsay.

At the same time, around forty actors from Sudanese civil society will gather at the Arab World Institute, in the French capital. Activists, trade unionists, researchers, journalists, representatives of the business world, traditional leaders, Sudanese political and religious leaders, many in exile, will have a “space to talk about the peace process and the post-war period“, we underlined from the same Source.

Deputy director of the Africa division of the NGO Human Rights Watch, Laetitia Bader calls for “a very harsh message» and international sanctions against the belligerents, who have “prevented humanitarian response“, “massively looted aid» and planned “killings of humanitarians», in addition to numerous abuses against civilians. “It is essential that this conference takes place, but it must not be an excuse” For “forget Sudan again“.

By Le360 (with AFP)

04/15/2024 at 7:52 a.m.

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