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16 Apr, 2024 13:30

World donors pledge billions in aid for war-torn Sudan

The donations on the first anniversary of the armed conflict will help to prevent starvation in the African nation, says France
World donors pledge billions in aid for war-torn Sudan

France and its allies have pledged more than 2 billion euros ($2.13 billion) to support relief efforts in Sudan, where the UN says nearly 18 million people including children are facing acute food insecurity due to a deadly conflict raging since last April.

The funds were raised at a donor conference in Paris on Monday, attended by representatives from 58 countries, the French foreign ministry said in a statement.

“International donors have today announced that they will provide more than 2 billion [euros], including nearly €900 million from the European Union and its Member States, to support civilian populations in Sudan and those who sought refuge in neighboring countries in 2024,” the ministry said.

The northeast African country descended into chaos on April 15 of last year, when clashes erupted between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF), following months of feuding over the planned integration of the militia into the national armed forces. At least 14,600 people have been killed and 26,000 injured in the year-long fighting across Sudan, according to UN statistics.

“The Sudanese people have been subjected to untold suffering during the conflict which has been marked by indiscriminate attacks in densely populated areas, ethnically-motivated attacks, and a high incidence of conflict-related sexual violence,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk said on Monday.

He warned that the violence could worsen as the warring factions have reportedly recruited and armed civilians, with three militarized groups joining the SAF in fighting the RSF.

Addressing the Paris donor conference via video, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the world should not allow the situation in Sudan, which he called a “nightmare,” to go unnoticed.

Guterres appealed to the “generosity of donors to step up their contributions” to the Humanitarian Response Plan for Sudan, which requires $2.7 billion but had received only about 6% of the funding prior to the Paris meeting.

The UN plan fund “has now been brought to over 50%” as a result of the $2.13 billion donations, French Foreign Minister Stephane Sejourne wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

French President Emmanuel Macron, however, said the amount pledged “is still probably less than was mobilized by several powers since the start of the war to help one or the other side [rival forces] kill each other.”

On Friday, Sudan’s Foreign Ministry criticized France and its allies for convening the conference “without consultation or coordination” with the Sudanese government and “without its participation.”

“We must remind the organizers that the international guardianship system has been abolished for decades,” it said in a statement, adding that “the Sudanese people alone have the right to manage their public affairs... without guardianship or interference from external forces.”