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Ramaphosa Voices “Grave Concern” Over Escalating Conflict in Sudan

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Ramaphosa Voices “Grave Concern” Over Escalating Conflict in Sudan


Ramaphosa on Sudan

In a recent statement, President Cyril Ramaphosa articulated his “grave concern” about the ongoing armed conflict in Sudan, which has led to a significant loss of life, extensive destruction of infrastructure, and the displacement of millions. The conflict, which has persisted for over a year, has particularly affected women and children, making the current human rights situation in the region dire.

“We express our grave concern at the outbreak of major fighting in El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur, and the plight faced by many civilians, especially women and children. The reported use of heavy artillery by the fighting parties in populated places continues to place the lives of civilians in danger,” President Ramaphosa stated.

Highlighting a poignant warning from the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, President Ramaphosa reiterated that “intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population and wilfully impeding humanitarian relief for civilians in need may constitute war crimes”.

Rising Human Rights Concerns

The attacks on El Fasher have come in the wake of a Human Rights Watch Report detailing severe human rights abuses in Sudan. The report documented cases of ethnically motivated killings and gender-based violence, adding to the already grim picture of the region.

In response, South Africa has urged all parties involved in the conflict to adhere to international laws and ensure the protection of civilians. “We urge the combatants to respect international law, including international humanitarian law, protect civilians, especially women and children, and not to hinder in any manner the distribution of humanitarian assistance as well as the provision of medical support,” the Presidency said.

An Urgent Call for Ceasefire and Mediation

President Ramaphosa’s statement echoed the need for immediate action to halt the ongoing violence. “There is a need to urgently put an end to impunity in this senseless conflict. The dire human rights situation arising from the ongoing conflict cannot be ignored, nor can the role of relevant multilateral and regional bodies and initiatives.”

South Africa has expressed its unwavering support for efforts by the UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy to Sudan, Ramtane Lamamra, along with the African Union and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), to foster mediation and dialogue in hope of a peaceful resolution.

Solidarity with Sudanese Civilians

In closing, President Ramaphosa reiterated South Africa’s solidarity with the suffering people of Sudan, particularly highlighting the devastating impact since the outbreak of hostilities on 15 April 2023, involving the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

“South Africa stands in solidarity with the innocent people of Sudan, who have been subjected to untold suffering since the outbreak of hostilities. We reiterate our call for an immediate end to the conflict and a resumption of genuine and sincere talks to bring an end to the human suffering that the people of Sudan have endured for a long time,” the statement concluded.

WATCH | President Cyril Ramaphosa signs laws advancing the fight against Gender-Based Violence and Corruption
WATCH | President Cyril Ramaphosa signs laws advancing the fight against Gender-Based Violence and Corruption

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