USUN Press Release #135
June 12, 2014
Statement by Ambassador Samantha Power, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the Government of Sudan’s Targeted Attacks on Civilians, June 12, 2014
The United Sates condemns in the strongest possible terms attacks by the Government of Sudan and its Rapid Support Forces (RSF) against civilians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Since April, not only have ground attacks on, and the shelling of, civilian populations increased, but the Government of Sudan has intensified its air campaign, dropping hundreds of barrel bombs and other ordinance on Sudanese towns and villages, deliberately targeting hospitals and schools. We are also disturbed by recent reports of aerial bombings targeting civilian humanitarian assistance workers – which, if accurate, would be a serious violation of international law and would compound the impediments that the government has already placed on the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those in need.
The uptick in violence in South Kordofan and Blue Nile has displaced or severely affected approximately 1.2 million people; it has increased the population’s vulnerability to disease and malnutrition; and it has disrupted planting cycles, which will only compound food insecurity in the regions. Non-governmental organizations operating in Sudan report that the RSF has looted and destroyed food and water supplies in areas recaptured from opposition forces; the Government of Sudan has denied humanitarian access to rebel-held areas since the conflict began nearly three years ago. We have also seen these tactics used recently in Darfur, displacing over 300,000 people this year.
The United States calls on all armed groups in Sudan to cease all violence against civilians and comply with international law. We note the Government of Sudan has a special responsibility in this regard as it is charged with the protection of its citizens. We urge the international community and the UN Security Council to ensure that those responsible for these attacks on civilians are held accountable and that all available mechanisms for doing so are effectively utilized.