The Forgotten War: Alarm Bells Ring in Darfur, Daily Brief February 7, 2024

Daily Brief, February 7, 2024.


A new UN report on Darfur hasn’t been officially published yet, but it’s already ringing alarm bells. Rightly so.

Regular Daily Brief readers will be familiar with the deteriorating situation in this western region of Sudan. We’ve highlighted Darfur’s downward spiral, detailed the ethnic killings and other atrocities, and called for greater international action, many times last year.

Now, a report from the UN Security Council Panel of Experts of Sudan is adding to the world’s knowledge of the horrors taking place there. Not yet published but widely shared with the media, it makes for disturbing reading.

The report describes waves of devastating attacks by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and their allied militias in West Darfur’s capital of El Geneina. The RSF killed between 10,000 and 15,000 people in and around the city last year, according to the UN report.

The report confirms the RSF and its allies have been targeting ethnic Massalit civilians in attacks that “may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.” HRW has similarly documented how the RSF and allied militias carried out widespread ethnically targeted killings, sexual violence, and torture against predominantly ethnic Massalit civilians. The fresh atrocities have forced more than half a million of people to flee across the border to Chad, part of the 10.7 million people who have been uprooted from their homes across Sudan, most since the conflict broke out in April. Sudan’s level of internal displacement – nine million people – is the highest in the world.

The UN panel’s report names key individuals within the RSF and militias who oversaw atrocities in Darfur.

It also presents credible allegations against the United Arab Emirates for shipping arms and ammunition to the RSF in Darfur in violation of the UN arms embargo.

The UN Security Council should act on these findings.

So far, it has condemned abuses in Darfur, but the Security Council has not yet taken action to rein in those responsible for atrocities nor explicitly condemned violations of its own arms embargo. The Security Council needs to move on both fronts. It should add the names of perpetrators of serious crimes to their general sanctions list, and it should follow up on all allegations of illicit arms transfers. Other governments should do the same, using the evidence in the new UN report to take action under their own sanction regimes.

This update today is grim, I know. Atrocities are continuing in Darfur, and the world is not doing enough to stop them. And the former won’t likely change until the latter does.