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UNITAMS head tells UNSC: ‘Time is not on Sudan’s side’ 

March 29 – 2022 NEW YORK, The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (STSG) for Sudan, and head of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), Volker Perthes, briefed the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Sudan’s deteriorating economic, humanitarian, and security situation.

Perthes outlined a plan in joint effort with the UN, African Union, and Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), to support Sudan through the next phase of the political process.  The plan aims to restore constitutional order, implement the structure for a cabinet and Prime Minister, and roadmap the date and conditions needed for an election at the end of the transitional period.

In the briefing, Perthes pleaded the council that “the situation in Sudan has not improved”. He warned the UNSC, saying: “Time is not on Sudan’s side, and I speak to you today with a sense of urgency which is also increasingly felt by Sudanese stakeholders concerned about the stability and the very existence of their country.”

The country has been without a functioning government since the coup of 25 October, protests against the coup and the violent repression of such protests are continuing.

The Special Representative stated that since late December 2021, protestors have been killed and injured and “arrests have targeted protest leaders, resistance committee members as well as political leaders”. He added that many have been denied access from seeing their family or lawyers for weeks. He also raised the alarming statistic that 16 women have been reportedly raped during protests in Khartoum.

Perthes urgency was underpinned in his following statements to the UNSC, where he delineated the range of crises Sudan is facing at present. Firstly, Perthes stated that Sudan’s economy has seen the value of the Sudanese Pound (SDG) decrease drastically against the US Dollar. Adding that, Sudan has witnessed “dramatic price increases” for “bread, fuel, electricity, medicine, health care and public transport”. Perthes noted that the detreating state of the economy was now even permeating into the rhetoric of protests, which have taken on a socio-economic character as well as being anti-coup.

No foreign investment is coming in basically, and exports have dwindled

He also went on to say that Sudan is at risk of “losing out on billions of external support”, as donors such as the World Bank and IMF have paused their disbursements, due to their being “no functional government in place”.

Perthes stated that international humanitarian aid relief has continued and was never paused, and that “the number of Sudanese in need is growing”. He told the UNSC that the conflict, economic crisis, and poor harvests will see 18 million people suffer acute hunger.

…farmers have been dispossessed of their land through violent attacks, assets been looted, villages have been burnt.

On the matter of Sudan’s security situation, Perthes warned the council of the rising crime, lawlessness, and intercommunal conflict in Darfur. He pointed to the many incidents, in particular, Jebel Moon in West Darfur, which has seen at least 48 people killed, and more than 12,000 displaced this month. His plans to prevent further conflict in the region were reliant upon UNITAMS’s Darfur Permanent Ceasefire Committee (PCC), which according to Perthes, has contributed to stability and addressed “incidents between the signatories of the Juba Peace Agreement”.

Read the complete briefing as delivered by Special Representative of the UN Secretary General (STSG) for Sudan, and head of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), Volker Perthes, to the UN security council here: UNITAMS SRSG MR. VOLKER PERTHES REMARKS TO THE SECURITY COUNCIL.


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