UK Holds Secret Talks with Sudan's Rapid Support Forces Amid Ongoing Atrocities

UK's secret talks with Sudan's notorious militia raise concerns over legitimizing atrocities, as the country's civil war rages on, displacing millions and fueling a humanitarian crisis.

Dil Bar Irshad
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UK Holds Secret Talks with Sudan's Rapid Support Forces Amid Ongoing Atrocities

UK Holds Secret Talks with Sudan's Rapid Support Forces Amid Ongoing Atrocities

The British government has been holding secret talks with Sudan's notorious Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group, despite the group's history of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity, according to a report in The Guardian newspaper. The talks, which took place on March 6, 2023, have sparked concerns that they could legitimize the RSF and undermine the UK's moral credibility in the region.

The RSF, led by Gen. Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, has been accused of widespread atrocities, including massacres, extrajudicial killings, and rape, particularly in the capital Khartoum and the Darfur region. The group has been engaged in a brutal conflict with the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) since a military coup in 2021, plunging the country into a devastating civil war that has claimed an estimated 14,000 lives and displaced nearly 10 million people.

The UK claims the talks are aimed at increasing access to humanitarian aid and ending the fighting, but experts warn that engaging with the RSF has only perpetuated violence and authoritarianism in Sudan. Maddie Crowther, co-director of a human rights organization, expressed shock at the revelations and said the move would be a "real slap in the face" for the Sudanese people, who would feel "completely let down" by the UK government.

Why this matters: The secret talks between the UK and the RSF raise serious questions about the international community's approach to the ongoing crisis in Sudan. The conflict has led to widespread human rights abuses, displacement, and an impending famine, with the UN warning that the world is "forgetting about the people of Sudan." The talks risk legitimizing a group responsible for atrocities and undermining efforts to hold perpetrators accountable.

The conflict in Sudan has entered its second year, with former Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok describing the situation as "extremely catastrophic, probably the most serious, disastrous situation in the world today." The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has also expressed alarm over the increase in ethnic violence since the outbreak of hostilities, urging Sudan to address and prevent further escalation of ethnic violence, incitement to racial hatred, and racist hate speech.

Despite the dire situation, the UK and other countries have pledged over $2.1 billion in humanitarian aid for Sudan at an international conference in Paris on Monday. However, the figure falls short of the UN's estimated $3.8 billion needed, and challenges remain in delivering aid due to attacks on humanitarian workers and the spillover of the crisis into neighboring countries.

In the face of the ongoing conflict in Sudan, with widespread destruction, displacement, and human rights abuses, the international community faces urgent calls to prevent further atrocities and address the growing humanitarian crisis. "The war is being waged on the Sudanese people," warned UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, emphasizing the need for a strong diplomatic push and coordinated international response to end the suffering of millions caught in the crossfire of Sudan's brutal civil war.

Key Takeaways

  • UK holds secret talks with Sudan's notorious RSF paramilitary group.
  • RSF accused of war crimes, atrocities in Darfur and Khartoum.
  • Talks risk legitimizing RSF, undermining UK's moral credibility in region.
  • Conflict in Sudan has caused 14,000 deaths, 10 million displaced.
  • UN calls for strong diplomatic push to end Sudan's brutal civil war.