The United States condemns in the strongest terms the ongoing human rights violations and abuses and horrific violence in Sudan, especially reports of widespread sexual violence and killings based on ethnicity in West Darfur by the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and allied militias. Local groups estimate that up to 1,100 civilians have been killed in El Geneina alone, and the UN has reported more than 273,000 people are displaced in West Darfur state. The Sudan Conflict Observatory and media outlets have documented satellite imagery of sections of El Geneina and whole settlements in West, South and North Darfur states razed to the ground by marauding forces, which credible Sudanese voices claim is part of an emerging pattern of targeted ethnic violence against non-Arab populations. Women are bearing the brunt of this violence, and victims and human rights groups have credibly accused soldiers of the RSF and allied militias of rape and other forms of conflict-related sexual violence.
The atrocities occurring today in West Darfur and other areas are an ominous reminder of the horrific events that led the United States to determine in 2004 that genocide had been committed in Darfur. We specifically condemn the killing of West Darfur Governor Khamis Abbakar on June 14 after he accused the RSF and other forces of perpetrating genocide. We also express our concern over reports that the brother of the sultan of the Masalit tribe and 16 others were killed in El Geneina on June 12.
While the atrocities taking place in Darfur are primarily attributable to the RSF and affiliated militia, both sides have been responsible for abuses. In Darfur, the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) has failed to protect civilians and has reportedly stoked conflict by encouraging mobilization of tribes. SAF attacks by military aircraft or drones have also impeded humanitarian efforts. Both sides must cease fighting in the area, control their forces, and hold accountable those responsible for violence or abuses, and enable delivery of desperately needed humanitarian assistance.