Mohamed Chande Othman, Chair of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission for the Sudan
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Statements | HRC

HRC56 - Fact-Finding Mission on Sudan

Opening statements:

  • Mohamed Chande Othman, Chair of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission for the Sudan
  • Bashir Elbukhari Suliman, Chief Prosecutor of Sudan
and over.
What is the button here?
Madam President
Excellencies, Distinguished delegates.
I'm honoured to present an update on the process on
the progress made by the independent International Fact finding mission
for the Sudan,
which I refer to as FFM Sudan
in accordance with the Human Rights Council resolution
uh, 54 slash two.
I present this briefing as the chairperson of the mission
and I'm joined by my two other colleagues, Mona Rishwa
and Joe Ngozi.
Sudan has been engulfed in a devastating conflict
for over a year now
characterised largely by its urban
widespread nature and its civilian population placed
at the centre of extreme violence.
Blatant disregard for fundamental human rights and
international humanitarian law has led to killings,
looting, mass displacement,
rape and other forms of sexual violence
and resulted in a grave humanitarian crisis.
With around 18 million people acutely food insecure
and 5 million facing starvation,
according to the W
World Food Programme,
my colleagues and I are deeply aware of the agency of the situation.
Since our appointment in December 2023 we have been
doing our utmost to fulfil the mandate of this council
as bestowed upon us the liquidity crisis
faced by the United Nations Secretariat and the hiring fees unfortunately
led to several months of delay in establishing an effective secretariat.
We are pleased that thanks to the special efforts
of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
and the Deputy High Commissioner last month,
the Secretariat has finally begun its work in Nairobi, Kenya.
We thank the government of Kenya for hosting this mandate. At
this point on board are about two thirds of the
staff contingent that were considered necessary by the General Assembly to
fulfil and to fully implement the mandate,
it is imperative for us
to have adequate resources in order to effectively deliver.
This does not mean that we're starting
the work only now first
with thanks to the flexibility and commitment of the
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
small number of experienced staff in Geneva
was allocated to us from the beginning
which enabled us to start operations.
Therefore, from the outset of the mandate,
we published a call for inviting individuals,
group and organisation to submit information
and documentation relevant to the mandate.
we have initiated contact with the government of Sudan
and with governments of neighbouring states Chad,
Egypt, Eritrea,
Ethiopia, south Sudan,
Central Africa Republic as well as Kenya and Uganda
requesting their cooperations
through their territories
in order to gather first hand information from victims of the conflict,
including those who have fled Sudan since the outbreak of violence,
Kenya has responded positively.
We have been able to carry out visits to Nairobi where we met with a number of victims,
witnesses and experts.
We are pleased to have received confirmation from the government
of Chad that they are also willing to receive us
soon for a visit.
This council's mechanism we are particularly keen to visit Sudan
and interact with the government
to hear
their perspectives.
We also note that the rapid support forces
as expressed through the president of the Council,
their willingness to co-operate with this mandate.
we have engaged with organisations and entities
involved in the situation in Sudan,
including the High Commissioner, his office,
his designated expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan,
the personal envoy of the UN Secretary General
in Sudan and other UN senior officials.
We also have
had a constructive dialogue with the Sudan Country,
rapporteur of the African Commission on human and people's
rights and have reached out to the African Union,
the League of Arab States,
the Intergovernmental Authority on Development with
the request for dialogue and Cooper
the main purpose being to coordinate our efforts and to ensure complementarity.
Fourthly, even without physical access to
the fact finding mission has been able to conduct about 80 direct interviews so far,
including with victims and eyewitnesses.
We also held meetings and consultations
with a considerable number of stakeholders,
including civil society
representative, human rights defenders, journalists, academics
and specialised experts on child rights
and sexual and gender based violence.
We thank all these individuals and organisations for their
constructive Cooper operation and submission of relevant information.
We are particularly grateful to the many Sudanese victim witnesses
and human rights defenders who have
courageously shared their experiences and insights,
sometimes at great significant risk for their safety and security.
We would like to remind the warring parties
that any act of intimidation or Reprisal
for co-operation with the United Nations is prohibited
and will be duly recorded in accordance with our mandate. Excellencies.
The information that we have gathered so far
indicates that the deadly conflict that began
in Sudan on 5 April 2023
mainly between the Sudan Armed Forces
and RSF,
is continuing unabated
on a massive scale.
It now involves multiple hectares within and outside Sudan
and has spread from Khartoum and Darfur to most of the countries.
We are deeply concerned that the fighting persists
with tragic consequences and enormous suffering of the civilian population.
We have received credible accounts of indiscriminate
attacks against civilians and civilian objects,
including through airstrikes and shelling
in heavily populated residential areas, and
ground attacks against civilians in their homes and villages
in the capital Khartoum
and its close vicinity, Omdurman
and Bahari.
The outbreak of the conflict, the intense clashes, airstrikes and heavy
arter shelling including residential areas and attacks on schools,
hospitals and medical facilities
resulted in killings and injuries of civilians, including women and Children,
and forced many to leave their homes and property to seek refuge in other locations.
Reports of looting and sexual violence
have added to this exodus.
We are particularly concerned about the situation in Darfur,
especially the siege of Al Fasher,
North Darfur by RSF
al Al Fasher, as you know,
is the capital of Darfur with about 1.5 million inhabitants.
It hosts approximately 800,000 internally displaced persons.
heavy fighting between the war infection in different parts of the city has led to
significant division
casualties, damaged homes and cause mass displacement.
The attack on one of the main and last functioning hospitals
in the city on 8 June led to its closure, leaving the civilian population
without access to life saving medical care.
We call our own parties to abide
by security resolution 27
36 2024
which demands that the RSF hold the siege of Al
and calls for an immediate halting to the fighting.
The security resolution also calls for the protection of all civilians and for war
parties to allow and
facilitate rapid, safe,
unhindered and sustained passage of humanitarian relief for civilians in need,
including by removing bureaucratic and other impediments.
We call on all parties to heed
the Security Council's call on the parties to reopen
border crossing for the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
We further call upon all states to abide by the Security Council arms embargo
imposed on Darfur
to resolution 1556 2004.
We also note the call of the prosecutor of the ICC
for information regarding this unfolding situation
and urge all parties to fully co-operate with his office.
Previous attacks on other areas compound our concern.
We are currently investigating earlier large scale attacks
against civilians based on their ethnicity
in other areas of Darfur
and that have included killings, rape and other forms of sexual violence, torture,
forced displacement
and looting, including in Guinea
and later in
Aldama between April and November last year.
Ethnic based attacks are also under investigation,
including in Zale,
Nyala and other areas of Darfur,
as well as in Kordofan, Al Jazeera and parts of greater Khartoum.
With regard to the situation in Al Jazeera, we are investigating attacks
on its capital, were maddening
in December 2023 and related killings, injury,
arbiter arrest and torture of civilians in mass displacement.
Recently. On fifth of June,
Noura village in Al Jazeera was reported to have been attacked with large and heavy
artillery, leading to hundreds of civilian deaths, including numerous Children.
In all these areas, massive looting
and extensive destruction of civilian homes and property continue.
Additionally, health facilities have been attacked,
pillaged and destroyed,
making it impossible for many injured civilians to get any medical attention.
Medical supplies have also been blocked from reaching critical areas.
There are reports that many civilians have died from injuries sustained in
the conflict due to the unavailability or inaccessibility of medical supplies.
The conflict has led to significant damage of essential infrastructure,
including electricity and water
supply lines as well as communication networks.
Attacks on medical personnel,
including those providing support to victims of social sexual violence,
are highly disturbing.
The conflict continues to cause mass displacement
of the civilian population
at unprecedented levels.
She is the breaking of the conflict.
Almost 9 million individuals have been forcefully displaced
from their homes, with more than 1.8 million
fleeing to neighbouring countries.
We heard from victims
how they had to take a long and perilous journey
from Khartoum all the way to Egypt, Kenya or Uganda,
sometimes crossing multiple countries
in an attempt to escape the brutal conflict.
Others were forcibly evicted from their homes by warring parties.
Most left nothing
and travelled for several weeks to seek safety.
We appreciate the efforts of the countries who, despite their limited resources,
continue to support the refugees who have fled the conflict in Sudan.
Nearly 18 million individuals are facing acute hunger
amidst looming famine. At least 5 million
civilians, including Children and pregnant women,
are at risk of starvation
with a minimum response as where infections
continue to obstruct humanitarian assets, attack humanitarian workers
and loot humanitarian supplies, thereby
curtailing delivery of life
and support to vulnerable population.
In face of this immense suffering,
the humanitarian response
which remains largely underfunded with only 16% of the
required funds having received required urgent international attention,
we have also received credible
of many cases of sexual violence being committed by war infections
parties across various parts of the country. Since the start of the conflict,
women and girls have been and continue to be subjected to rape
and gang rape, abduction
and forced marriage.
Victims and first line responders told us
of how women and girls not only endured violent rape,
including gang gang rape and denial of medical support, but also how
they were stigmatised
and subsequently abandoned by their families.
There are reports of sexual slavery
and sexualized torture in detention facilities,
including against men and boys, which we are investigating
the majority of survivors have not had access to adequate support due to lack of
access to or unavailability of health facilities
and the destruction of the health infrastructure.
Medical personnel and members of civil society are prevented
from or targeted for providing support to victims of social violence.
Widespread recruitment and use of Children at checkpoints
to gather intelligence as well as to perpetrate indirect combat
and commit violent crimes are also frequently reported,
placing the lives and future of many Children at risk.
In his report of third of June 2024 on Children and Armed Conflict,
the UN secretary general ranks Sudan among the countries with the highest
number of grave violations against Children
being reported committed by several warring,
including the Sudan Armed Forces and
There are also terrible reports of mass
arbitrary arrests of civilians based on suspicion
of supporting the other party to the conflict,
expressing dissent
or supporting human rights, and a return to democratic transition.
From the outset of the conflict, the Waring parties appear
to have been targeting resistance committee
members medical emergency from volunteers,
lawyers, journalists, civil society actors
and human rights activists and subjected them to threats,
attacks arbitrary arrest, torture,
detention and forced disappearances and killings excellence.
Our mandate also requires us to examine,
and this is unique the root causes of all alleged
violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law
and related crimes.
We have so far identified a number of structural and
systematic issues and whether those related to policies and conduct
These include continued arming of civilians without meaningful control,
the mobilisation
of militias and armed groups on an ethnic basis,
and the shielding from our accountability, those persons and entities
responsible for atrocious crimes.
Some of these practises are being revived
by the warring parties from past conflicts
and are laying the ground for current and future cycles of serious violation.
The national legal system appears unable to conduct prompt,
independent and credible investigation
or to
persons in a manner consistent with
international human rights norms and standards.
It is therefore crucial
to combat impunity.
Your Excellencies, it is hard to see human rights
and the humanitarian situation in Sudan improve
without an immediate ceasefire.
We note the Security Council's call on 8 May
by the Resolution 2724
for the immediate cessation of ourselves in Sudan during the month of Ramadan,
without avail.
the fighting never stopped and continues with full intensity until now.
Three months later,
while appealing for the fighting to stop immediately,
we need we need the commanders of warring parties to issue
instructions to the forces of militia under their control to strictly abide
by the international humanitarian law by their international obligation
and also as iterated
in the Jeddah Declaration,
civilians must be protected
and a guest
exam including killings, looting,
sexual violations and forced displacement, must be punished in conformity
with international humanitarian and human rights law.
We further call upon warring parties to refrain
from attacking humanitarian workers, stop obstructing the delivery of aid
and allow
unfettered humanitarian access to the millions of civilians
in need in every part of Sudan.
We also appeal to states with influence over any of the warring parties
to urgently step up efforts to hold the fighting and bring the parties back
to the negotiating table
in order to prevent fire
violations and abuses.
As this
update demonstrates,
the people of Sudan are crying for help
to restore their dignity and rights.
They need the support and the attention
of this council. Thank you very much