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    Jeddah Declaration: Sudan’s warring rivals agree to protect civilians


    May 12, 2023

    Saudi Gazette report

    JEDDAH — Sudan’s warring factions have committed to protecting civilians and allowing the movement of humanitarian aid.

    The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and its rival Rapid Support Forces (RSF) signed a document titled “Jeddah Declaration of Commitment to Protect the Civilians of Sudan” early Friday.

    They reaffirmed their core obligations under International Humanitarian Law to facilitate humanitarian action to meet the needs of civilians.

    “We affirm our unwavering commitment to the sovereignty of Sudan and to maintaining its unity and territorial integrity,” according to the joint declaration.

    They welcomed the efforts exerted by Sudan’s friends who can use their relationships and good offices to ensure respect for International Humanitarian Law and for international human rights law, including by committing to this Declaration and immediately implementing it.

    “We agree that the interests and well-being of the Sudanese people are our top priority and affirm our commitment to ensure that civilians are protected at all times. This includes allowing safe passage for civilians to leave areas of active hostilities on a voluntary basis, in the direction they choose,” the declaration read.

    They are committed to exert all efforts to ensure that these commitments—and all obligations of International Humanitarian Law—are fully disseminated within their ranks and appoint focal points to engage with humanitarian actors to facilitate their activities.

    “We will enable responsible humanitarian actors, such as the Sudanese Red Crescent and/or the International Committee of the Red Cross to collect, register, and bury the deceased in coordination with competent authorities,” the declaration read.

    “We will take all necessary measures to ensure that all persons acting on our instructions, direction or control abide by International Humanitarian Law, and in particular the commitments provided for in this Declaration of Commitment.”

    They agreed to prioritize discussions to achieve a short-term ceasefire to facilitate the delivery of emergency humanitarian assistance and restoration of essential services, and announced their commitment to scheduling subsequent expanded discussions to achieve a permanent cessation of hostilities.

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