Martin Griffiths, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, has called on warring factions in Sudan to cease their targeting of aid workers and civilians. In a statement issued on Saturday, Griffiths emphasized that humanitarians cannot carry out their work under the constant threat of violence. He urged the warring parties to uphold international law, as the conflict in Sudan has reached a three-month mark.
The people of Sudan have endured immense suffering over the past three months, with violence tearing their country apart, Griffiths noted. As the conflict enters its fourth month, the battle lines are solidifying, making it increasingly challenging to reach the millions of people urgently needing humanitarian assistance.
Reports indicate that the conflict displaced over three million people within Sudan and across its borders. The fighting, which began in mid-April, has resulted in the deaths of over 1,100 people and injuries to more than 12,000, according to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Health workers and facilities have been targeted, severely restricting access to essential services.
With the onset of the rainy season, there is a heightened risk of water- and vector-borne disease outbreaks, compounded by waste management challenges and shortages of supplies. Children are among the most severely affected, with an estimated 13.6 million in urgent need of assistance, comprising roughly half of the remaining population in Sudan.
Griffiths described Sudan as one of the most challenging environments for humanitarian workers, emphasizing the collaboration between local organizations and international aid groups in delivering life-saving supplies. However, he stressed that such work cannot be carried out when relief workers themselves are in danger.
Ultimately, the suffering of the Sudanese people will only end when the fighting stops, Griffiths asserted. He called on the conflicting parties to adhere to the commitments outlined in the Declaration of Commitments they signed in Jeddah, including protecting civilians and respecting international humanitarian law.
Drawing attention to the discovery of mass graves in West Darfur, Griffiths highlighted concerns about a resurgence of ethnic killings in the region. He emphasized that with each passing day of continued fighting, the misery deepens for Sudanese civilians. Efforts must be redoubled to prevent the conflict in Sudan from spiraling into a brutal and protracted civil war, which would have grave consequences for the region. The people of Sudan cannot afford to wait, concluded the UN official.