Solidarity with Sudan
Speech by Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International UK, to the Solidarity with Sudan vigil held at Belfast City Hall on June 10 2023:
On behalf of Amnesty International, thank you for the invitation to speak today and to everyone who has organised this vigil.
The last few years have been atrocious for human rights in Sudan. And as ever, it is the ordinary people who have suffered – at the hands of the security forces and armed militia groups, particularly in West Darfur where hundreds of civilians have lost their lives, while many more have been subject to arbitrary detention and torture.
We know that women and girls who have been at the forefront of protests against the coup have faced sexual violence.
But since April, things have got even worse, with the war between the Sudan Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces causing massive destruction and loss of civilian life.
Sudan is now in the midst of a human rights disaster.
Hundreds of civilians have been killed, thousands injured and over a million people have become internally displaced within Sudan or forced to become refugees in neighbouring countries.
Residents trapped in Khartoum as well as people who have fled into neighbouring South Sudan have told human rights groups how civilians have been killed and injured from heavy fighting, airstrikes, and reckless shelling in residential areas.
The United Nations has documented dozens of attacks on healthcare facilities. People have been unable to access medical care due to the fighting.
Humanitarian organizations like Médecins Sans Frontières have been attacked and had their aid supplies looted.
People are living in fear for their lives and running for their lives.
Yet, sometimes it seems like the international community has barely noticed.
Amnesty International is calling on the UN Security Council and the African Union to step up to protect civilians in Darfur and across Sudan.
The UN Security Council needs to increase its pressure on the warring parties to end violations of international humanitarian law, stop the war crimes, and to cease the violence which is wrecking people’s lives.
UN member countries – including the UK - must take swift and concrete actions to prevent further atrocities and promote accountability for grave violations. We need an effective arms embargo throughout Sudan, credible investigations into ongoing abuses and those responsible must be brought to book.
And for those forced to flee, the warring parties must ensure safe passage, while neighbouring countries must keep their borders open to all those seeking safety, and the wider international community must share in the responsibility by ensuring asylum access in accordance with the UN Refugee Convention and providing humanitarian aid to those who desperately need of it.
So, our call from Belfast - and from people around the world - is for an end to the violence which is costing civilian lives and wrecking civilian lives.
To the people of Sudan, and to the Sudanese community gathered here today, we stand with you in solidarity.
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