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Sudan: One year of conflict

The war in Sudan broke out exactly one year ago. 12 months of fierce fighting and violence have caused a huge loss of life, the displacement of millions of people, acute hunger, and a tragic ongoing humanitarian crisis.

By Francesca Merlo

Exactly one year ago, on April 15th, the war erupted in Sudan, leaving behind deaths, much destruction, a devastating toll of rapes and murders, and fatal hunger. The scale of the tragedy is catastrophic: at least 15 thousand lives have been lost, eight million people have been displaced, and another 25 million are reliant on humanitarian aid just to survive. In the Northeast African country the streets are riddled with corpses, and as the crisis progresses and worsens, funding for NGOs and UN agencies is dwindling along with the hope of the people.

The conflict

The fighting between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) erupted in the capital, Khartoum, triggering a cycle of violence that has spread far beyond the city.

Nearly 18 million Sudanese now face acute hunger. Even before the war, Sudan’s living conditions were harsh and unjust due to economic instability and ethnic violence. Though humanitarian supplies are available, getting them to those in need remains an enormous challenge, and NGOs and aid organisations face looting, bureaucratic hurdles, and severe struggles with communication.

The suffering

As is often, if not always the case, women, children and displaced people bear the brunt of the suffering. Children born amidst the violence face a difficult future whilst malnourished mothers struggle to feed them.

In the face of continued disregard for International Humanitarian Law, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has underscored the necessity of a monitoring mechanism to hold the warring factions accountable.

The international community

World leaders are convening in Paris to mark the anniversary of Sudan’s war and address the crisis, highlighting the need for urgent action.  Amid widespread indifference, the first anniversary of the conflict serves as a reminder of the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe.

Members of Sudan’s civil society and local NGOs will be involved in the Paris meeting, but neither the Sudanese army nor the RSF will be represented. 

Pope’s prayers

Time and time Pope Francis has turned his thoughts to Sudan and prayed for the people and for an end to the war. His most recent appeal was launched on Sunday 18 February after praying the Angelus.

On that occasion, the Pope recalled that the conflict in Sudan has led to a serious humanitarian situation and appealed: “I once again ask the warring parties to stop this war, which causes so much harm to the people and the future of the country.” 

“Let us pray that paths to peace are soon found to build the future of beloved Sudan.”

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