Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) is alarmed and enraged by the brutal violence innocent civilians are facing in the Blue Nile region. We are extremely dismayed by the inaction in the face of fear and bloodshed that have become commonplace for men, women, and children in Sudan; the international community has failed to live up to its obligations.
Since July 2022, violence has been endemic in the Blue Nile. Fighting in Wad El Mahi, southeast of El Roseires, erupted when members of the El Funj, El Hamaj, Berta, and other indigenous groups attacked Hausa families for ostensibly political motives. Fierce assaults rocked the Blue Nile again in September, and especially vicious attacks followed soon after in October, killing more than 230 people till the present day and displacing thousands.
The violence continued on a smaller scale, with assailants launching an ‘ethnically-motivated’ attack that killed five people in November in El Azaza, El Roseires, while five others went missing. Even to this day, the rule of law remains absent and the authorities negligent, with ordinary civilians facing the consequences. In light of this situation, the Darfur Bar Association (DBA) announced that it would be sending a delegation to the Blue Nile region this week to visit those affected by violence, with the goal of understanding and properly addressing the root causes of conflict, as well as restoring rule of law in the region.
Ethnic conflict in the Blue Nile, as well as the collapse of civil rule and order in the region, have occurred because of the 2021 military coup and overthrow of the civilian-led transitional government, which created a security vacuum. The actions of the coup generals undermined foundations and institutions of governance in the Blue Nile and the rest of Sudan, leading to political instability and, in turn, leaving communities vulnerable to attack.
In the face of this continuing carnage and chaos, the international community has a duty to act and protect civilians, as well as ensure assailants do not escape justice for their crimes. While national negotiations on the restoration of democracy and civilian governance in Sudan are currently underway, democracy and civilian governance will not become a reality as long as institutions of governance fail to protect people from harm, while those responsible for weakening these institutions or exploiting their weaknesses continue to go unpunished.
Accordingly, we call on the Biden Administration and the member states of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to make the protection of civilians and human rights in Sudan – including across the Blue Nile, Darfur, South Kordofan, and all other conflict-affected regions – a top priority. We further urge the US and the member states of the UNSC to undertake the following steps to ensure that civilians impacted by violence are protected:
We call on our supporters to speak up for the people of Sudan who have been suffering from brutal violence for far too long. We must all speak in one voice and tell our leaders that silence in the face of monstrous crimes is complicity. We must continue urging the international community to end impunity for the gross human rights violations that innocent civilians throughout the country continue to face – including ethnically motivated attacks and killings. Silence will only aid the perpetrator. With our collective effort, we can make a difference.
Niemat Ahmadi, President and Founder, DWAG