Deploy AU Civilian Protection Mission and Ensure Investigation into Sudan

Deploy AU Civilian Protection Mission and Ensure Investigation into Sudan
The African Union logo outside the AU headquarters building in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. © 2021 REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Human Rights Watch has called on the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) to work together to send a civilian protection mission to Sudan in order to alleviate the dire humanitarian situation there, especially in Darfur. The call is being made in the wake of increasing horrors and breaches of human rights, with serious questions being raised over the safety of residents in war areas such as El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur.

The AU Peace and Security Council (PSC), which will meet on June 21, 2024, is at a pivotal point in terms of implementing tangible measures to safeguard civilians and guarantee responsibility for transgressions. Human Rights Watch highlights how crucial it is that the African Union (AU) set out clear guidelines for the deployment of a civilian protection mission supported by the UN and for assisting the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) in its investigations.

The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), along with their allies, are involved in the conflict that has been going on in Sudan for more than 14 months. Numerous breaches of international humanitarian law, such as obstructing humanitarian aid and committing sexual abuse, have been brought about by this protracted battle. Notably, intentional attacks against civilians by the RSF and its allies have been linked to war crimes and crimes against humanity against a number of ethnic groups, including the Massalit community in West Darfur.

According to recent reports, the continued conflict in Sudan has resulted in about 10 million people being displaced, creating a catastrophic humanitarian scenario. The latest directives from the AU Peace and Security Council to other AU entities are a step in the right direction in resolving this humanitarian disaster. To prevent other crimes and protect civilian lives, however, prompt and decisive action is required.

The AU Special Envoy for the Prevention of Genocide, H.E. Adama Dieng, and the High-Level Panel on the Resolution of the Conflict in Sudan have been urged to work together to develop strategies aimed at stopping atrocities and safeguarding civilians in response to the rising tensions. The council has also voiced serious concerns about what is happening in El Fasher and emphasized how urgently sieges must be lifted in order to allow unrestricted humanitarian access.

Looking ahead, the forthcoming meeting of the AU Peace and Security Council has to expand on the commitments made by AU bodies already in place. A framework for ongoing consultations on Sudan must be established in order to facilitate the prompt implementation of an action plan for civilian protection and investigations headed by the ACHPR. As stated in UN Security Council Resolution 2736, cooperation with the UN Secretary-General is essential to developing coordinated efforts to safeguard civilians in Sudan.

Human Rights Watch emphasizes how crucial it is that the AU and UN work together to deploy a civilian protection mission that is entrusted with keeping an eye out for abuses of human rights, guaranteeing humanitarian access, and facilitating the safe return of displaced people. A strong police component centered on places with a higher risk of assaults, especially in Darfur, should be a part of such a mission.

at addition, the UN Security Council Resolution 2719’s financing channels for AU-led peace operations have been discussed at the Peace and Security Council. The orders of Resolution 2736 to end hostilities and safeguard civilians must be implemented in real ways, such as strong backing for the civilian protection mission.

Simultaneously, the Peace and Security Council has recommended that the ACHPR open investigations into violations of human rights throughout Darfur and suggest procedures for responsibility. This involves using subject-matter expertise on women’s rights, internally displaced people, refugees, and asylum seekers to support investigative operations.

In order to guarantee unimpeded access for investigators, collaboration from warring factions, surrounding nations, and Sudanese authorities is necessary for the public backing of ACHPR’s investigations in Sudan. The AU must show its steadfast dedication to stopping new crimes by taking decisive action and providing strong political support for inquiries.

In order to maximize investigative resources and improve reporting on human rights breaches, continuous collaboration with the UN-mandated Independent International Fact-Finding Mission for Sudan is essential as the AU Peace and Security Council gets ready to meet with stakeholders in Port Sudan. In September 2024, the UN Human Rights Council shall hear updates from the African Union (AU), with a particular emphasis on recommendations based on ongoing investigations.

To preserve trust and guarantee accountability, investigative procedures must be transparent, including regular public reporting to the Peace and Security Council. Working together with human rights advocates and Sudanese civil society will enhance the quality of the investigation’s findings and provide thorough suggestions for combating impunity and advancing justice.

Finally, Human Rights Watch calls on the leadership of the AU to match the seriousness of the situation in Sudan with the AU’s response by launching a civilian protection mission as soon as possible and endorsing thorough human rights inquiries. In order to prevent additional harm to civilians and protect human rights in the area, the AU must take a proactive approach.


Related Posts

Illuminating the Promise of Africa.

Receive captivating stories direct to your inbox that reveal the cultures, innovations, and changemakers shaping the continent.