Editorial: Eritrean Organizations Call on UN to Address the Crisis in Sudan

Erigazette May 18, 2023
Eritrean organizations advocating for democracy and the rule of law in their home nation have reached out to the United Nations (UN), expressing grave concern about the unfolding conflict in Sudan and its broader implications for the Horn of Africa.

In a letter dated May 3, 2023, the groups appealed to UN Secretary General, António Guterres, highlighting the dire humanitarian impact of recent fighting between the Rapid Support Forces and the Sudanese Armed Forces. The clashes have led to enormous suffering among the Sudanese population, affecting hundreds of thousands of refugees and threatening to destabilize the entire region further.

In a plea for immediate and concerted international intervention, the signatories warned that Sudan is on the precipice of collapse and urgently requires the UN’s full attention. The following were presented as specific calls to action:

  1. Facilitate dialogue between conflicting parties to reach a peaceful resolution. The Eritrean organizations emphasized the necessity of negotiations to end the ongoing hostilities.

  2. Protect civilians from harm. The groups drew attention to the catastrophic impact of the conflict on Sudan’s civilian population, underlining the UN’s role in ensuring their safety.

  3. Ensure humanitarian aid reaches those in need. In the context of a growing crisis, the organizations highlighted the imperative of expedient and efficient delivery of humanitarian assistance.

  4. Guarantee safe exit and assistance for refugees and other vulnerable populations from the conflict zone. In light of the escalating violence, the Eritrean groups stressed the importance of robust measures to protect these populations and provide the necessary aid.

  5. Prevent neighboring countries and other third parties from interfering in Sudan’s internal affairs. The signatories voiced their concern about potential exacerbation of the crisis by external actors, urging the UN to deter any such interference.

Notably, the organizations also expressed deep concern regarding reports of potential forced repatriation of Eritrean refugees, an action that they regard as a severe violation of human rights that could put countless lives at risk. They implored the UN to take all necessary steps to ensure these refugees’ protection and close monitoring.

The signatories included the Eritrean Research Institute for Policy and Strategy (ERIPS), Facilitating Smooth Transition in Eritrea (FAST), Focus Eritrea, Global Yiakl Eritrean Movement, and Sinit Eritrawyean.

These organizations’ call to action underscores the dire need for an international response to the Sudan crisis, which is not only a national catastrophe but also a potentially destabilizing factor for the whole Horn of Africa region.

The gravity of this crisis cannot be overstated, and it is vital that their pleas for assistance do not go unheard.

Sudan’s tumultuous political landscape has long been a subject of concern. The present conflict, escalating into what is essentially a civil war, has humanitarian implications that ripple far beyond the country’s borders. Refugee flows are increasing, with many fleeing to neighboring countries, and sparking concerns about a more extensive regional crisis.

The Eritrean organizations’ advocacy highlights the fundamental principle of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security. They assert that it is the UN’s responsibility to ensure the protection of all civilians in conflict areas, prevent external interferences that may escalate the situation, and facilitate peaceful dialogue for conflict resolution.

Moreover, their emphasis on the potential forced return of Eritrean refugees is deeply concerning. Such an action would be a violation of the principle of non-refoulement, a cornerstone of international refugee law, which prohibits returning refugees to places where their lives or freedoms could be threatened.

In their letter, these groups have effectively underlined the urgency of the situation in Sudan. Their call to action seeks not only to bring about the resolution of this conflict but also to uphold the international principles of human rights, refugee protection, and peace promotion.

In this time of crisis, the world’s eyes are on the United Nations and Secretary General Guterres. Their response to this call to action will be a testament to the UN’s commitment to its founding principles and to the people it is mandated to protect.

In conclusion, it is vital that the international community, led by the United Nations, respond urgently and effectively to this crisis. The urgency of the situation cannot be overstated: Sudan is on the verge of collapse, and this has severe implications for regional stability in the Horn of Africa. Protecting human rights, preventing further conflict, and ensuring the safety of vulnerable populations must be the primary focus as we navigate this unfolding crisis.

meskerem May 18, 2023