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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
News article1 March 2024Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)1 min read

Sudan: Joint Statement by High Representative Josep Borrell and Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič on the ban on cross-border assistance from Chad

Josep Borrell Fontelles, on the left, and Janez Lenarčič
Josep Borrell Fontelles, Vice-President of the European Commission, on the left, and Janez Lenarčič, European Commissioner for Crisis management
© European Union

High Representative Josep Borrell and Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, have issued the following statement:

"We strongly condemn the recent ban by the Sudanese de facto authorities on the delivery of cross-border humanitarian assistance from Chad to Sudan to the civilians suffering at the hands of both the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). This is a flagrant violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

In the context of widespread hostilities, cross-border assistance is the lifeline to the people of Darfur. Denying access to vital aid for people in need, especially in conflict-affected regions, is exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation in what is now the largest displacement and protection crisis globally. We remind all parties to the conflict that the denial of humanitarian assistance can amount to a war crime under international law.

This ban directly contradicts commitments made by the parties to the conflict in Sudan in the Jeddah Declaration to protect civilians and to facilitate increased humanitarian assistance. These commitments are essential for mitigating the impact of the conflict on civilian populations and ensuring their basic needs are met.

We reaffirm the immediate need to guarantee safe, unimpeded, and uninterrupted humanitarian access within the country as well as across international borders. The ten months long conflict seriously deteriorated the food security outlook, disrupted the harvest season and destroyed livelihoods and health infrastructures. The massive looting of humanitarian supplies by the RSF and affiliated militias, prohibited by IHL, also contributed to this dire situation.

The window to avert the worst is closing rapidly. Sudan is on a verge of a large-scale famine."