Statement by Ambassador Michèle Taylor
at the General Debate on the Human Rights Situation in the Sudan
HRC Special Session #36
Thank you, Mr. President.
And I thank you the High Commissioner for his sobering remarks. They are a stark reminder of the terrible human toll this latest conflict has had on the people of Sudan.
Hundreds of civilians are dead, and thousands wounded. Countless more have been suffering for weeks, unable to leave their homes for food, water, fuel, medicine, treatment, or to check on loved ones. They live in constant fear: fear of the next bomb dropped, the next bullet fired, the next knock on the door.
To the people of Sudan, I say: we stand with you and for you; we will not give up on you nor will we turn away.
We cannot let the people of Sudan lose hope. It was this hope that inspired us in 2019, when the people rose to reclaim the destiny of Sudan, after decades of misrule. The people of Sudan deserve better. It is our responsibility to listen, to amplify their voices, and to push for peace.
At the same time, we must demand full respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law and that parties to the conflict respect and protect civilians, including humanitarian personnel. We certainly should all agree that any attack or threat against humanitarian and health workers is unacceptable.
I am horrified and deeply concerned by reports of: targeting of hospitals and health care providers; forced recruitment of children; and gender-based violence, including conflict-related sexual violence.
We acknowledge those who say the world should wait longer to address the human rights and humanitarian aspects of this tragedy. However, the United States is of the clear view that negotiations to establish a ceasefire and to get desperately needed humanitarian assistance flowing to the people of Sudan can and must happen at the same time that our Council fulfills its role and mandate in addressing the dire human-rights situation.
In fact, this is the moment to send a clear message to the parties to the conflict that the world is watching and expects them to deliver for the people of Sudan. Parties to the conflict need to ensure safe humanitarian access and the protection of civilians, and here at the HRC we have a duty to make that more likely.
I would like to ask the panel, what can be done to strengthen protection of civilians, to include members of vulnerable groups? I thank you.