Press Release: Experts on Sudan urge the UN to appoint High-level Humanitarian Envoy.

Eminent experts and activists on Sudan, brought together by UAI, have written to Martin Griffiths, the outgoing UN Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC), urging him to ask the UN Secretary-General to appoint a High-level Humanitarian Envoy for Sudan.

UNHCR distributing WFP-provided-food in El-Fasher. Author: Hussein-Alzain.

The levels of brutality and inhumanity being suffered by people in Sudan, as a result of the conflict that broke out on 15 April 2023, are truly shocking. In spite of this, the attention of the world’s diplomats and media seems to be distracted by other conflicts.

The assessment of the experts is that, in the absence of serious pressure on the external supporters of the parties to the conflict to cease their financial and military support, the war is likely to become protracted, and will result in preventable mass starvation and further atrocities amounting to genocide. Urgent efforts to ramp up humanitarian assistance and access, and immediate civilian protection and atrocity prevention initiatives are now of paramount importance.

Currently, efforts to ensure access to humanitarian aid are being hampered by:

  • Unacceptable barriers put up by the parties to the conflict
  • Inadequate resources from donors
  • Poor coordination between international agencies and local groups involved in offering help

In these circumstances, the experts believe it is essential that humanitarian efforts be given a much higher profile, both with regard to local actors and among the international community.

They therefore strongly urge The Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) to ask the Secretary-General to immediately appoint a high-level Humanitarian Envoy.

This envoy needs to be a person with an international stature, extensive experience of humanitarian operations and easy access to international media.

Secondly, the experts and activists request the ERC to use his influence to ask the Secretary General to publicly condemn the ongoing genocide by the RSF in Darfur, to call out those who fuel the violence by supplying arms, stoking ethnic conflict through hate speech or by deliberately blocking delivery of humanitarian aid to populations facing famine, and to urgently activate UN Security Council Resolution 2719 by conducting a joint strategic assessment in partnership with the African Union (AU) Commission Chair as a first step towards establishing a protection force to prevent further atrocities.

At this crucial moment, when the ERC is stepping down and awaiting the appointment and induction of his successor, the experts believe it essential that the advocacy for the protection of, and assistance to, Sudanese civilians, as well as the arrangements for positioning the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the region, are given the highest possible priority.

The signatories to the letter include:

Paul AsquithDirector of Research and Advocacy, Shabaka
Martin BarberInternational Executive Committee, UAI 
Mark Bowden UAI Task Team on Sudan
Margie Buchanan-SmithIndependent policy researcher
Alex de Waal  Executive Director, The World Peace Foundation, Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, Tufts University
Antonio DoniniInternational Executive Committee, UAI 
Kate FergusonCo-Executive Director, Protection Approaches
Kholood KhairDirector, Confluence Advisory
Dame Rosalind MarsdenPolitical Analyst
Salem MezhoudUAI Task Team on Sudan 
Sorcha O’CallaghanDirector, Humanitarian Policy Group 
Sara PantulianoChief Executive, ODI 
Angela Raven-RobertsUAI Task Team on Sudan
Jean-Baptiste RichardierInternational Executive Committee, UAI 
Sylvie Robert UAI Task Team on Sudan 
Celestine von ScholemerInternational Executive Committee, UAI   
Lul SeyoumInternational Centre for Eritrean Refugees and Asylum-Seekers 
Helen YoungProfessor, Feinstein International Center, Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University

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About: UAI (United Against Inhumanity) has formed a Task Team on Sudan to bring together experts and activists to demand urgent action by states and international organisations to bring the conflict in Sudan to an end and to address the horrendous human suffering in Sudan.

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