Grave concern over the situation in Sudan

‘I am deeply concerned about the situation in Sudan, six months after the war’s outbreak. More than 5 million people have been forced to flee, schools are still closed and children in particular are exposed to great danger,’ Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim said.

‘As always, the brutalities of war hit children the hardest. We now see a generation of Sudanese children caught in an unparalleled crisis. Not only do they have to live with the immediate consequences of conflict, displacement and insecurity, but they lack access to basic services such as healthcare and schooling,’ Ms Tvinnereim said.

15 October marks six months since the war started in Sudan. Half of Sudan’s population, almost 25 million people, now require humanitarian assistance and protection, according to the United Nations.

‘Hospitals in the country have been affected by the fighting and put out of operation. The shortage of medicines and medical equipment is acute. The rainy season makes the situation even worse, with heavy rainfall and flooding. Diseases such as cholera, dengue fever and malaria are now spreading fast,’ said Ms Tvinnereim.

Hard to reach those most in need

Most schools in the country have been closed since 15 April. There are reports that children in Sudan are being subjected to killings, forcible recruitment, violence and abuse. The continuing battles and major obstacles to crossing the border and travelling in the country make the work difficult.

‘The humanitarian organisations reach only a third of Sudan’s population. That makes it very hard to get help to those who need it most. Norway has repeatedly urged Sudanese authorities to respect humanitarian principles, remove bureaucratic barriers to humanitarian organisations and grant the necessary visas and permits,’ Ms Tvinnereim said.

It is crucial to support and cooperate with local actors.

‘Local actors do an indispensable job in Sudan, often putting their lives at risk. For this they deserve recognition. They reach even the most challenging areas, where international organisations cannot. They too need our help,’ said Ms Tvinnereim.

Serious abuses and human rights violations

The human rights situation in Sudan is critical, and there have been credible claims that both parties in the conflict have committed serious offences and human rights violations.

‘This war’s impact on the Sudanese civilian population has been extraordinary. Our stance remains that the fighting must stop immediately. All parties must fulfil their duties under international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law. Civilians must be protected,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.

Norway, the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany have submitted a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to set up a fact-finding mission and an investigation mechanism for human rights violations committed in Sudan since 15 April.

‘We must ensure that the serious accusations of offenses are investigated in a credible and impartial manner. Holding to account those who are responsible and ending impunity are key steps forward. We are extremely pleased that the Human Rights Council has now voted to create the investigation mechanism. This is an important step for the Sudanese people,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.

Alongside the international effort to institute a lasting cease-fire and humanitarian access, Norway is working to bolster civilian efforts to bring about a political process.

‘The war must end. We actively support trying to establish an inclusive political process based on democratic principles and the wishes of the population. In this process it will be especially important that women and youth are heard and that all of Sudan is represented,’ said Ms Huitfeldt.