Washington/Geneva: Calling on all external actors to avoid fueling the conflict in Sudan, the United States today imposed visa restrictions on the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) General and West Darfur Sector Commander, Abdul Rahman Juma, and his immediate family members, for Juma’s involvement in a “gross violation of human rights”.
“According to credible sources, on June 15, 2023, RSF forces led by General Juma kidnapped and killed the Governor of West Darfur, Khamis Abbakar, and his brother. This act came just hours after Abbakar’s public statements condemning the actions of the RSF,” the US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said today. Concurrently, the US Department of the Treasury also imposed sanctions on senior commander Abdelrahim Hamdan Dagalo for his leadership of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), an entity whose members, the US said, have engaged in acts of violence and human rights abuses, including the massacre of civilians, ethnic killings, and use of sexual violence.
“We will not hesitate to use the tools at our disposal to hinder the ability of the RSF and Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) to further prolong this war, and we will also use such tools to deter any actor from undermining the Sudanese people’s aspiration for peace and civilian, democratic rule. We will act to promote accountability for those responsible for atrocities and to pursue justice for the victims,” Blinken said.
Abdelrahim is a high-ranking leader in the RSF and the brother of RSF Commander Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of Abdelrahim that are in the United States or in the possession or control of US persons are blocked and must be reported to the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 per cent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.
Since the beginning of the conflict between the RSF and Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) on April 15, 2023, both sides have failed to implement a ceasefire, and the US claimed that the RSF and allied militias “have been credibly accused of extensive human rights abuses in Darfur and elsewhere”.
The World Health Organization (WHO) today stated that the humanitarian situation is continuing to deteriorate in Sudan where about 65% of the population has no access to health services and more than 70% of health facilities in conflict areas are not functioning. The implications are horrific. Every day, nine patients with renal dialysis die, and dialysis centres in four states have closed due to a lack of supplies. As attacks on health have continued to increase, so far, WHO has verified 56 attacks on health care, leading to 11 deaths and 38 injuries.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that internal displacement from the conflict in Sudan has now topped four million people. It further notes that in just the last week, more than 274,000 people have been displaced inside the country. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 992,000 people have fled across Sudan’s borders. This brings the total displaced by the fighting to more than five million people.
Under Secretary of the US Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian E. Nelson said that today’s action demonstrated its commitment to hold accountable those responsible for serious and extensive human rights abuses in Sudan. “The United States urges both sides of the conflict to cease the hostilities and violence perpetuating Sudan’s dire humanitarian crisis,” Nelson added.
A Department of the Treasury press release stated that the United States “stands in solidarity with the people of Sudan and against those who commit human rights abuses and destabilize the region”. It added that its actions “further demonstrate the United States’ commitment to promoting accountability for perpetrators of sexual violence in conflict, consistent with the Presidential Memorandum signed by President Biden in November 2022”.
Blinken called on all external actors to avoid fueling the conflict. “The parties must comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians, hold accountable those responsible for atrocities or other abuses, allow unhindered humanitarian access, and negotiate an end to the conflict,” he said.
– global bihari bureau