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Asia and the Pacific
Western Asia

Sudan - June 2023

Ethnic violence escalates in West Darfur
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In June, senior UN officials warned of escalating ethnic violence in West Darfur State, after reports emerged of large-scale and targeted attacks by Arab militiamen on non-Arab civilians living in the state’s capital El Geneina, a contested location in Sudan’s ongoing conflict. Prior to the conflict, both sides (the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF)) had recruited fighters from rival ethnic communities. When fighting broke out in El Geneina in April 2023, it took on an ethnic dimension, establishing a pattern of violence in which the RSF and their local Arab militia are alleged to have systematically killed, raped and forcefully expelled members of the non-Arab Masalit community, whose fighters were allied to the SAF. The violence in El-Geneina is thought to have peaked in mid-June, when thousands were killed (including West Darfur’s Governor) or fled. Similar attacks have been reported elsewhere in West Darfur. The UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide stated that, if confirmed, the attacks could amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.       

Note: This report was updated on 15 September for accuracy and comprehensiveness.           

Sources: United Nations (1), The Economist, Reuters, Human Rights Watch, Radio DabangaAfrica Confidential, Cable News Network, United Nations (2), World Health Organisation   

Primary categories and factors
Rights -1 Rights  (-1)
Political Equality
Gender Equality
Social Group Equality
Rule of Law -1 Rule of Law  (-1)
Personal Integrity and Security