From Atrocities Watch Monitor No. 3
April 2022. Read full newsletter here
During March, conflict in Jebel Moon, West Darfur, cost the lives of at least 48 people and more than 12,000 were displaced.217 Clashes broke out on 10 March and at least 35 people were killed during the second week of the month. Insecurity has increased in the region since the signing of the Juba Peace Agreement, and further still since the military coup d’état of 25 October.218 Around the same time, three human rights activists were killed when their vehicle came under fire.219 An organised protest took place in El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, condemning the violence.220 Adam Rijal, spokesperson for the General Coordination for Displaced Persons in Darfur, argues that the recent violence is not ethnic in nature but rather revolves around access to gold and other mineral resources as well as land suitable for husbandry.221 Others point to ethnic mobilisation and lack of rule of law as factors leading to the violence.222 The humanitarian situation in the area is worrying, about 68,500 people live in Jebel Moon locality, and more than 46,600 of them are in need of assistance.223
Violence has also erupted in South Darfur. Clashes between the Fellata and Rizeigat in Gereida and Tulus started on 26 March when a Rapid Support Forces (RSF) soldier from one of the tribes was killed by unknown perpetrators, leading to tribal mobilisation and attacks on villages during the following days. On 29 March, over 20 combatants from both tribes were reportedly killed during the clashes and it is estimated that over 100 people have been killed since then. Staff of Nyala teaching hospital confirmed that 56 people wounded in the conflict were treated on 31 March.224
The national committee set up to investigate the violations of the 3 June 2019 massacre225 was forced to stop its activities after security forces seized the committee’s main office at the beginning of March.226
At the national level, protests against the military government are ongoing and the government continues to respond with repressive tactics. Two protesters were killed by security forces during the Marches of the Millions, including an 11-year-old boy, on 10 March.227 The Sudanese Doctors Association reported that 104 people were injured with tear gas, stun grenades and live ammunition in protests on 14 March 2022.228 On 21 March 2022, a 13-year-old succumbed to a gunshot wound to the head on 17 March.229 On 23 March, protesters stalled traffic in the capital by construction barricades and burning tires.230 On 31 March, a 23 year old was shot in the chest and killed bringing the total number of deaths recorded in mass protests since the November coup to 93,231 including 15 children.232 A trend of sexual violence against women at protests has been recorded since the coup took place five months ago,233 so far, 16 women have been reportedly raped during protests in Khartoum alone.234 On 14 March, the gang rape of a 19-year-old woman by five police officers was recorded, a number of protesters rallied the following day to object the assault.235
The country’s economy is quickly worsening. During March, the value of the Sudanese Pound has fallen by over 35% against the US Dollar and prices for basic necessities have increased steeply. This situation is exacerbated by obstacles to international support since October’s military takeover.236 On 17 March, protesters blaming the military takeover for the increase in prices and poor living conditions took to the streets.237
It is expected more than 18 million people will be facing acute hunger by September 2022, due to the combined effects of conflict, economic crisis, and poor harvests, according to estimations by the UN World Food Programme and Food and Agriculture Organization238
Sudan has been the site of numerous atrocities. The north-south civil war raged from 1955- 2001 with a brief respite following the signing of the Addis Ababa agreement in 1972. An estimated four million were displaced.239 The war was characterised by brutal attacks on civilians and ethnically charged rhetoric. A Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in 2001, eventually leading to the secession of South Sudan in 2011.
Shortly after the signing of the CPA, violence broke out in Darfur, with rebels taking up arms in response to the marginalisation of the region. Once again, ethnically charged rhetoric was deployed and groups associated with the rebels were subjected to massive human rights violations. Whole villages were razed, and women were systematically raped. A series of peace agreements signed in 2006, 2011 and 2020 have failed to end the violence.
On 21 March 2022, the US government sanctioned the Sudan Central Reserve Police (CRP), a police unit responsible for much of the violence committed against protesters, for serious human rights abuses.240
After the incidents in Jebel Moon in West Darfur, UNITAMS Head, Volker Perthes, called for the de-escalation of the violence across the country. He called on the parties to work together to find a solution to the current political and economic situation241 and towards a civilian protection plan that they could support.242
On 25 February, UNITAMS indicated they would be working alongside the AU and IGAD “to push the political process forward with the participation of all Sudanese actors in order to restore the path of civil and democratic transformation in Sudan.”243 On 10 March 2022, UNITAMS Volker Perthes and AU Envoy Mohamed El Hacen Labatt announced that they would be working together on mediation.244
On 28 March, Perthes briefed the Security Council on the ongoing situation, on the Consultations on a Political Process for Sudan a consensus was reached on key aspects such as “the need for an end to violence, for a technocratic government or a government of experts, for a transitional legislative council.” Despite this, Perthes indicated the country is heading for an “economic and security collapse” unless the political situation is addressed.245
217 UNITAMS, “SRSG Mr. Volker Perthes Remarks to the Security Council,” 28 March 2022, https://unitams.unmissions.org/en/unitams-srsg-mr-volker-perthes-remarks-security-council
218 “Protest in El Geneina demands stop to West Darfur violence,” Radio Dabanga, 14 March 2022, https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/protest-in-el-geneina-demands-stop-to-west-darfur- violence
219 “Three Human Rights Activists Shot Dead in West Darfur,” Radio Dabanga, 17 March 2022, https://allafrica.com/stories/202203180279.html?utm_campaign=daily- headlines&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=aans-view-link
220 “Protest in El Geneina demands stop to West Darfur violence,” Radio Dabanga, 14 March 2022, https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/protest-in-el-geneina-demands-stop-to-west-darfur- violence
221 Nabeel Biajo, “Sudan: Security Situation Uncertain After Deadly Violence in West Darfur,” 15 March 2022, https://allafrica.com/stories/202203150844.html?utm_campaign=daily- headlines&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=aans-view-link
222 Framework Mechanism for Conflict Transformation, “Violations in Jebel Moon have been re-ignited, posing a possible danger alert 2022,” March 2022.
223 Norwegian Refugee Council, “Sudan: Outcry over increasing violence in Darfur as villages are burnt to the ground,” 18 March 2022, https://www.nrc.no/news/2022/march/sudan-increasing-violence-in-darfur/
224 OCHA, Sudan: Inter-communal conflict – Gereida & Tulus, South Darfur Flash Update No. 01, 6 April 2022, https://reliefweb.int/report/sudan/sudan-inter-communal-conflict-gereida-tulus-south-darfur-flash- update-no-01-6-april; Framework mechanism document, on file with author.
225 On June 3, 2019, a sit-in in front of the army command, was broken up with excessive violence. More than 186 protesters were reportedly killed, more than 700 others sustained injuries, and at least 100 people went missing.
226 Dabanga Sudan, “June 3 Massacre investigation committee forced to stop work after office seizure,” 8 March 2022, https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/june-3-massacre-investigation-committee- forced-to-stop-work-after-office-seizure
227 Dabanga, “UNITAMS and AU: Sudan may ‘plunge into the abyss’ if no solution is found soon,” 11 March 2022, https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/unitams-and-au-sudan-may-plunge-into- the-abyss-if-no-solution-is-found-soon
228 “Sudan Doctors – 104 Injured in March of the Millions,” Radio Dabanga, 15 March 2022, https://allafrica.com/stories/202203160068.html?utm_campaign=daily- headlines&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=aans-view-link
229 “Sudan Doctors – 13-Year-Old Protester Dead After Shot to Head,” Radio Dabanga, 21 March 2022.
230 “‘Day of the Barricades’ – Sudan Capital Paralysed,” Radio Dabanga, 23 March 2022, https://allafrica.com/stories/202203240178.html?utm_campaign=daily- headlines&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=aans-view-link
231 Al Jazeera, “Protester killed as Sudanese rally against coup, economic crisis,” 31 March 2022,
232 Alarabiya News, “Sudan riot police fire tear gas at protesters in Khartoum,” 24 March 2022, https://english.alarabiya.net/News/middle-east/2022/03/24/Sudan-riot-police-fire-tear-gas-at-protesters-in- Khartoum
233 BBC, “Sudan: BBC investigation shows abuse of female demonstrators,” 21 March 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-africa-60514266
234 UNITAMS, SRSG MR. VOLKER PERTHES REMARKS TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL, 28 March 2022, https://unitams.unmissions.org/en/unitams-srsg-mr-volker-perthes-remarks-security-council
235 “Sudan: Report of Gang-Rape After Demo Prompts Anger Across Sudan,” Radio Dabanga, 16 March 2022, https://allafrica.com/stories/202203170082.html?utm_campaign=daily- headlines&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=aans-view-link
236 UNITAMS, “SRSG Mr. Volker Perthes Remarks to the Security Council,” 28 March 2022, https://unitams.unmissions.org/en/unitams-srsg-mr-volker-perthes-remarks-security-council
238 WFP, “Worsening food crisis looming in Sudan amid economic downturn, displacement, and ruined crops,” 23 March 2022, https://www.wfp.org/news/worsening-food-crisis-looming-sudan-amid-economic- downturn-displacement-and-ruined-crops
239 US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, “At Four Million, Sudan Leads the World in Internally Displaced Persons,” 13 July 1998, https://reliefweb.int/report/sudan/four-million-sudan-leads-world- internally-displaced-persons
240 US Department of the Treasury, “Treasury Sanctions Sudanese Central Reserve Police for Serious Human Rights Abuse,” 21 March 2022, https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0668
241 “UNITAMS head calls to deescalate violence in Darfur and across Sudan,” Dabanga, 13 March 2022, https://www.dabangasudan.org/en/all-news/article/unitams-head-calls-to-deescalate-violence-in-darfur- and-across-sudan
242 Sudan Research and Consultancy Group, “Weekly Brief,” 20 March 2022.
243 UNITAMS, “Statement on the Release of UNITAMS Summary Report on its Consultations for a Political Process for Sudan,” 28 February 2022, https://unitams.unmissions.org/en/statement-release- unitams-summary-report-its-consultations-political-process-sudan
244 “African Union, UN agree to partner on Sudan’s dialogue process,” Sudan Tribune, 10 March 2022, https://sudantribune.com/article256218/
245 UNITAMS, SRSG Mr. Volker Perthes Remarks to the Security Council, 28 March 2022, https://unitams.unmissions.org/en/unitams-srsg-mr-volker-perthes-remarks-security-council