A Sudanese men who fled the conflict in Sudan's Darfur region, and was previously internally displaced in Sudan, walks past makeshift shelters near the border between Sudan and Chad, while taking refuge in Borota, Chad, May 13, 2023. © Zohra Bensemra, Reuters

Norway ‘concerned’ over conflict situation in Sudan

The government of Norway said it is deeply concerned about the situation in Sudan, six months after the war’s outbreak.

The government of Norway said it is deeply concerned about the situation in Sudan, six months after the war’s outbreak.

“More than 5 million people have been forced to flee, schools are still closed and children in particular are exposed to great danger,” Norway’s Minister of International Development Anne Beathe Tvinnereim said in a Sunday statement obtained by Radio Tamazuj.

“As always, the brutalities of war hit children the hardest. We now see a generation of Sudanese children caught in an unparalleled crisis. Not only do they have to live with the immediate consequences of conflict, displacement and insecurity, but they lack access to basic services such as healthcare and schooling,” Ms Tvinnereim added.

15 October marks six months since the war started in Sudan. Half of Sudan’s population, almost 25 million people, now require humanitarian assistance and protection, according to the United Nations.

More than 9,000 people have been killed in the conflict so far, according to a conservative estimate by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data project.

The fighting has displaced almost 4.3 million people within Sudan, while 1.2 million more have fled abroad, UN figures show.

“Hospitals in the country have been affected by the fighting and put out of operation. The shortage of medicines and medical equipment is acute. The rainy season makes the situation even worse, with heavy rainfall and flooding. Diseases such as cholera, dengue fever and malaria are now spreading fast,” said Ms Tvinnereim.

Hard to reach those most in need

 The Norwegian minister pointed out that the humanitarian organisations reach only a third of Sudan’s population, urging Sudanese authorities to respect humanitarian principles, remove bureaucratic barriers to humanitarian organisations and grant the necessary visas and permits,.

‘Local actors do an indispensable job in Sudan, often putting their lives at risk. For this they deserve recognition. They reach even the most challenging areas, where international organisations cannot. They too need our help,’ said Ms Tvinnereim.

Serious abuses

Norway said that the human rights situation in Sudan is critical, and that there have been credible claims that both parties in the conflict have committed serious offences and human rights violations.

“This war’s impact on the Sudanese civilian population has been extraordinary. Our stance remains that the fighting must stop immediately. All parties must fulfil their duties under international law, including international humanitarian law and human rights law. Civilians must be protected,” said Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.

Norway, the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany have recently submitted a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to set up a fact-finding mission and an investigation mechanism for human rights violations committed in Sudan since 15 April.

“We must ensure that the serious accusations of offenses are investigated in a credible and impartial manner. Holding to account those who are responsible and ending impunity are key steps forward. We are extremely pleased that the Human Rights Council has now voted to create the investigation mechanism. This is an important step for the Sudanese people,” said Ms Huitfeldt.

Alongside the international effort to institute a lasting ceasefire and humanitarian access, Norway says it is working to bolster civilian efforts to bring about a political process.

“The war must end. We actively support trying to establish an inclusive political process based on democratic principles and the wishes of the population. In this process it will be especially important that women and youth are heard and that all of Sudan is represented,” said Ms Huitfeldt.