Ahead of a critical vote at the UN Security Council on Saturday that will consider the restructuring and downsizing of the joint African Union-United Nations mission in Darfur (UNAMID), Amnesty International is releasing exclusive satellite and photo images showing extensive damage caused by ongoing attacks on villages in the region.
The images show at least 18 villages in the eastern parts of the Jebel Marra area of Darfur were burnt by government and allied militia forces over the past three months. These images corroborate witness accounts, earlier collected by Amnesty International, from at least 13 affected villages.
“The UN Security Council must not and cannot abandon the people of Darfur by downsizing UNAMID, their only source of security and safety,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
“For hundreds of thousands of displaced Darfuris, the ongoing looting and burning of their homes makes the prospect of returning to their villages unthinkable.”
Between March and May 2018, government forces and pro-government militias, especially the Rapid Support Force, attacked and burned villages in south-east Jebel Marra during military operations against the Sudan Liberation Army Al-Waahid (SLA/AW).
Between 12,000 and 20,000 people were displaced as a result of these attacks and are currently living in caves in the Jebel Marra Mountains in extreme hardship and with no access to humanitarian assistance.
“The Sudanese government has clearly failed to protect its own citizens, and this must not be allowed to continue. On its part, the UN Security Council must continue the mandate of UNAMID to protect and safeguard the lives and human rights of the people of Darfur,” said Joan Nyanyuki.
More than 1.5 million displaced people in the Darfur region of Sudan are unable to return home, 15 years after the start of the conflict.