Sudan: UN Committee urges end to ethnic violence and hate speech, calls for immediate ceasefire

GENEVA (16 April 2024) — Alarmed by the increase of ethnic violence in Sudan since the outbreak of hostilities on 15 April 2023 between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) today urged Sudan to address and prevent further escalation of ethnic violence, incitement to racial hatred and racist hate speech.

In a decision published today under its Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedures, the Committee called on the SAF, the RSF, and their allied forces to immediately cease hostilities and stop further violations and abuses of international human rights and humanitarian law, notably violent acts targeting people on the basis of their ethnic origin.

The Committee was shocked by reports of ethnically motivated attacks committed principally by the RSF and allied militia targeting members of the Masalit, Fur and Zaghawa communities, in particular killing of people fleeing the conflict zones, attacks on camps and sites for internally displaced people, forced displacement, looting, burning and destruction of villages and towns. These include attacks which took place in El Geneina, West Darfur, that were primarily against the Masalit community and resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, including Masalit leaders, lawyers and human rights defenders. There were also reports of rape of women and girls, some as young as 14 years old, and of racial slurs towards Masalit and other women and girls of African ethnicity.

The Committee was also alarmed at reports of arbitrary detentions, torture and extrajudicial killings allegedly perpetrated by the SAF and allied militia, targeting mainly members of Arab tribes from Darfur and Kordofan based on their perceived ethnic or tribal origin. The Committee also raised red flags on reportedly recruitment and use of children by the warring parties along ethnic lines, in particular in Darfur and Kordofan regions as well as in Khartoum and other northern states.

Mindful that similar events have preceded previous atrocities in Sudan in the past and gravely concerned at the escalation of inter-ethnic tensions, violence and hate speech in Sudan, the Committee urged Sudan to ensure that such acts are investigated and adequately and robustly punished and to promote dialogue between different ethnic communities to foster tolerance and achieving peace.

The Committee also called upon all States parties to the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) to fully respect their international obligations, in particular those arising from ICERD and the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and to cooperate to bring to an end the violations that are taking place in Sudan and to prevent atrocity crimes.

The full decision is available online.

For more information and media requests in Geneva, please contact

Vivian Kwok at,
UN Human Rights Office Media Section at


The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination monitors States parties’ adherence to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which, to date has 182 States parties. The Committee is made up of 18 members who are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties.

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