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Elders Statements

The Elders voice grave concern at worsening atrocity risks in Sudan

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Statement: The Elders voice grave concern at worsening atrocity risks in Sudan and urge immediate international action for a ceasefire and humanitarian support.

The Elders today express their grave concern at the worsening risk of atrocity crimes in Sudan as troops from the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) encircle the North Darfuri capital of El Fasher.

They note with alarm the reports of fierce fighting in and around the city between the RSF and the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and its allies, prompting thousands of civilians to flee their homes and exacerbating the shortage of humanitarian supplies.

The international community must take decisive action to avert a potential massacre by securing an immediate ceasefire and compelling the warring parties and their foreign backers to return to dialogue.

In March, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2724 calling for an “immediate cessation of hostilities” in Sudan during the month of Ramadan. This was not respected by any side and the bloodshed, atrocities and rights violations have intensified. States with influence over the protagonists need to push them back to the table. Action is needed now, before even more innocent civilians are killed.

The Elders reiterate their outrage at the prevalence of conflict-related sexual violence in Sudan, and demand that all perpetrators be held accountable for their crimes.

The conflict in Sudan needs urgent and sustained attention, including at the most senior levels. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports 24.8 million people in need across the country, with only 10% of its funding appeal currently being met. To ignore Sudan’s plight is to deny the humanity of its people, who have been continually betrayed by men of violence in both the SAF and RSF, their foreign sponsors, and other armed groups in the conflict-wracked country.

The international community must engage urgently, and regional powers must act responsibly to try to stop rather than stoke the fighting. Crucial to this is giving space and support to Sudanese women’s groups and civil society, who play a crucial role in humanitarian response and without whose contributions peacemaking efforts will always remain incomplete and unrepresentative. They must be empowered and defended so Sudan can chart a path back to a just and lasting peace.


Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and Chair of The Elders

Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General and Deputy Chair of The Elders

Graça Machel, Founder of the Graça Machel Trust, Co-founder and Deputy Chair of The Elders 

Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and former Director-General of the WHO

Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and former head of the UN Development Programme

Elbegdorj Tsakhia, former President and Prime Minister of Mongolia

Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

Hina Jilani, Advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan and co-chair of the Taskforce on Justice

Denis Mukwege, physician and human rights advocate, Nobel Peace Laureate

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of Liberia and Nobel Peace Laureate

Juan Manuel Santos, former President of Colombia and Nobel Peace Laureate

Ernesto Zedillo, former President of Mexico

For media inquiries, please contact William French, Head of Communications (+44 7795 693 903) or email: [email protected]


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