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Children ‘piled up and slaughtered’ in Sudan, says UN envoy, world cannot ignore this ‘silent war and famine’

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has warned that genocide is likely to have been committed in Sudan, with the UN special envoy to the country saying global indifference to the civil war had led to conflict “silent” and starvation.

Tom Perriello said The independent that the world “simply won’t engage” with Sudan, despite the fact that it is in the grip of a brutal, year-long civil war. Last April, simmering tensions between his army, led by General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commanded by Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, degenerated into street fighting in the capital, Khartoum.

Fierce fighting has spread to other parts of the country, including urban areas and the Darfur region. The World Food Program (WFP) warned that people were living on grass and peanut shells and at least 1.7 million people were experiencing emergency levels of hunger. HRW called for sanctions over the situation in West Darfur in a new report released Thursday, saying RSF and its allied militias are committing crimes against humanity and widespread war crimes “in the context of a campaign of ethnic cleansing “.

Mr Perriolo said that despite the massive humanitarian crisis, rising death tolls and horrific violence, there was only a “brief moment” of global attention around the anniversary of the conflict last month. Otherwise, interest died out, with devastating effect.

“Please pay more attention to Sudan so that we do not lose the momentum of the last few weeks, which is the first we have had in a long time,” he said.

“Many people are currently facing acute hunger and other horrific conditions.

Malnourished Sudanese children are treated at a clinic in Metche camp, Chad, near the Sudanese border. (P.A.)

“We need you to be the ones…to start calling attention to this silent war and this silent famine.”

The warnings come as HRW called on the United Nations and the African Union to impose sanctions on those held responsible for serious crimes in West Darfur, after releasing a damning 218-page report documenting ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in El Geneina, the State. capital.

In one particularly horrific incident, a 17-year-old witness described seeing RSF forces murder children after killing their parents in front of them.

“Two RSF forces…took the children away from their parents and, as the parents began to scream, two other RSF forces shot at the parents, killing them. Then they rounded up the children and shot them. They threw their bodies in the river and their belongings after them,” he said.

HRW claimed that the RSF, along with its allies, mainly Arab militias, were targeting the Masalit people and other non-Arab communities in a wave of attacks, which could indicate that a genocide is being committed .

Tirana Hassan, executive director of HRW, said governments, the African Union and the United Nations “must act now to protect civilians.”

Global inaction in the face of atrocities of this magnitude is inexcusable

Tirana Hassan, Human Rights Watch

“Global inaction in the face of atrocities of this scale is inexcusable,” she said. “Governments should ensure that those responsible are held accountable, including through targeted sanctions and by stepping up cooperation with the ICC (International Criminal Court). »

Sudan was plunged into devastating conflict last April, when growing tensions between its army and the RSF erupted into violent street fighting in the capital, Khartoum, later engulfing other parts of the country, including Darfur. .

Since then, the RSF have taken control of most of Darfur and are besieging El Fasher, in the north of the region, where some 500,000 civilians had taken refuge.

The WPF warned last week that there is a serious risk of widespread famine and death in Darfur, where at least 1.7 million people are experiencing emergency levels of hunger.

Leni Kinzli, WFP regional spokesperson, said the situation in El Fasher, in particular, is “extremely dire.”

Devastation in Sudan last year (P.A.)

She received photos of severely malnourished children in an internally displaced persons camp in Central Darfur, as well as elderly people “who are nothing but skin and bones.”

“People are turning to eating weed and peanut shells,” she added. “Recent reports from our partners indicate that 20 children have died in recent weeks from malnutrition in this… camp. »

In West Darfur, HRW said the RSF and militias killed thousands of people and left hundreds of thousands refugees as they pursued, rounded up and shot dead men, women and children running in the streets or were trying to swim across the rapids. flows the Kaja River – report says many people drowned. The elderly and the injured were not spared.

The macabre investigation also details rape, torture and looting committed by forces who “methodically” burned, bombed and razed neighborhoods. The violence culminated in a large-scale massacre on June 15, during which the global human rights organization said RSF and its affiliated forces fired on kilometers-long convoys of civilians desperately trying to flee.