UN condemns 'horrific violations' by Sudan's warring parties

UN condemns 'horrific violations' by Sudan's warring parties
The UN has condemned the horrors it says are taking place in war-torn Sudan, from the use of explosives in densely populated areas to reports of sexual abuse.
2 min read
23 February, 2024
Thousands have been killed and millions have been displaced by Sudan's brutal civil war [Getty]

The UN's top human rights body on Friday condemned the "horrific violations and abuses" being committed during the war in Sudan between the army and a powerful paramilitary group.

Since April last year a devastating war between army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan and his former deputy Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, commander of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), has killed thousands and sparked a humanitarian disaster.

Fighting has spread from the capital of Khartoum to the south and west of Sudan, leaving thousands dead and nearly eight million people displaced, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

"For nearly a year now, accounts coming out of Sudan have been of death, suffering and despair, as the senseless conflict and human rights violations and abuses have persisted with no end in sight," said UN rights chief Volker Turk on Friday, releasing a new report that documents abuses by the two warring parties.

The report says the army and RSF have "used explosive weapons with wide area effects, such as missiles fired from fighter jets, unmanned aerial vehicles, anti-aircraft weapons and artillery shells in densely populated areas."

A dozen UN experts warned in November last year that widespread sexual violence, ethnically-motivated at times, was being used as an "instrument of war".

The new report documents at least 118 cases of sexual violence, "including rape, gang rape and attempted rape", with 19 children among the victims.

It adds that "many rapes were committed by the RSF", whom activists have accused for months of raping women and girls.

"Some of these violations would amount to war crimes," warned Turk, calling for a thorough, independent investigation into all allegations of human rights abuse.

According to the report, "credible" video evidence reviewed by the UN this week shows that several students travelling by road in North Kordofan state may have been beheaded by men in army uniforms because they were seen as being RSF supporters because of their perceived ethnicity.

Video footage posted on social media in mid-February shows troops marching with decapitated heads while chanting ethnic insults, according to the UN.