Addressing Security Council 1591 Committee, Sudan’s representative urges lifting sanctions, cites concerns over COVID-19’s impact on displaced population


Sudan’s representative urged the Security Council during a videoconference meeting* on 9 June to begin lifting the sanctions that it imposed on Khartoum over the conflict in Darfur, as the 15-member organ took up the latest report of its Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) amid concerns over COVID-19’s impact on internally displaced persons in the country.

Briefing the Council on the Committee’s latest 90-day report, the representative of Estonia, speaking in his capacity as its Chair, noted that due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the Panel of Experts on Sudan is only able to collect and verify information remotely.

Despite many hampering factors, including the novel coronavirus pandemic, peace talks between the new Government authorities and the Sudanese Revolutionary Front in Juba continued, with 20 June set as the last date for negotiations, he said.

While clashes between Government forces and the Sudan Liberation Army-Abdul Wahid have lessened since late 2019 due to a reciprocal ceasefire, that armed group continues to recruit and train new fighters thanks to its exploitation of the Torroye gold mine in south-eastern Jebel Marra, he added.

He cited the Panel of Experts as saying that supporters of Musa Hilal Abdalla Alnsiem, a sanctioned individual, have been mobilizing in support for his release from custody in Sudan. The Panel also reported on the possible formation of a new armed group by communities that fear losing land seized during the Darfur conflict. He went on to say that almost all Darfuri armed groups still maintain a presence in Libya, an important source of financing.

Returning to the COVID-19 pandemic, he underscored the Panel of Experts’ concern that certain factors — including more than 1.8 million internally displaced persons living in camps and porous borders with neighbouring countries — may have a serious impact on the spread of the virus.

“The common social distancing measures against COVID-19 have been difficult to implement in IDP [internally displaced persons] camps due to the difficult living conditions, in particular overpopulation and scarcity of water,” he said.

He concluded by emphasizing that the sanctions regime was set up solely to help bring peace to Darfur. “It is not to punish Sudan, but to support and achieve sustainable peace,” he said, adding that the Committee is committed to working with Khartoum and all relevant stakeholders to make that goal a reality.

Sudan’s representative, taking note of the 90-day report, said that, one year after they overthrew President Omar al-Bashir’s regime, Sudanese people are marching towards building a prosperous, democratic and stable country — one that is at peace with itself and its neighbours.

“The situation in Sudan has drastically changed over the past year and Sudan expects no less than a positive reaction to these developments by the Council,” he said, emphasizing that the ongoing sanctions regime “sends a discouraging signal” to his country’s people and to their Government.

“The lifting of sanctions would be a significant step towards improving the economic, social and cultural conditions in the country during the transitional period (and) further enhance the positive gains that have been achieved in Sudan over the last few months,” he stated, calling on the Council to establish clear, well-identified and measurable benchmarks for lifting the sanctions, as it said it would when it adopted resolution 2508 (2020) extending the mandate of the Panel of Experts.

*Based on information received from the Security Council Affairs Division.

For information media. Not an official record.