The Rt Hon James Cleverly MP
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Date: 28 April 2023
Whilst the FCDO has, understandably, been focussed in recent days on the evacuation of British citizens from Sudan, I hope you will share my view that there’s much more the international community should be doing, and in particular to call for all parties to ensure the protection of civilians and the safe passage of humanitarian aid. I am deeply worried by what will happen when the evacuations have been completed and the world’s media is no longer focussed on the conflict. Countries like the UK have a responsibility to mediate between the parties to de-escalate the situation. We can’t simply evacuate British citizens then turn away.
You will know that civilians in Darfur continue to suffer due to the country’s authorities failure to provide security, and their inability to deliver justice and accountability for war crimes and other violations 20 years after the Darfur conflict began. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, and millions more displaced as the war between rebel forces and the military continued. It’s deeply concerning that, following attacks by armed opposition groups, Sudanese government forces have responded by targeting not only the fighters, but also the civilian populations of certain ethnic groups that the government accuses of supporting the insurgents. Longstanding impunity has allowed those suspected of war crimes in Darfur to remain in leadership positions today, contributing to the current violence in Sudan. This is an intolerable situation and I am therefore calling on you to:
1. Work with UN Special Representative Volker Perthe to negotiate a further immediate ceasefire which will be honoured by both parties.
2. Urge General Burhan and General Hamdan Dagalo to stop the conflict around civilian areas and accept civic mediation for peacekeeping.
3. Commit to delivering food and medical aid to the Sudanese people through organisations such as the UN World Food Programme and the Red Crescent.
4. Guarantee that the UK will meet its obligations under international law to offer sanctuary to people fleeing the violence.
I look forward to hearing from you.