September 16, 2019
 In 2023-Situation in Sudan

Country: Malta
Delegate Name: Sophie Roberts

Sophie Roberts
United Nations Security Council
The Situation in Haiti
Mattawan High School

Before the current crisis, Sudan was already facing many conflicts and humanitarian challenges. In 2019, the Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir, a dictator who has been charged with genocide, was overthrown. His government was replaced by a combination of military and civilian groups. However, in 2021, the military fully took control of Sudan’s government, with General Abdel-Fattah Burhan becoming Chairman of the Sovereign Council and Mohammed Hamdan Dagalo, a member of the Rapid Support Forces, serving as vice-Chairman. The Rapid Support Forces are a paramilitary group that was originally used by al-Bashir to enforce his regime in Darfur, but they later turned against al-Bashir and allied with the Sudanese Armed Forces to depose of al-Bashir. However, tensions arose between the two leaders. A plan had been created to integrate the RSF into Sudan’s military over the next decade, but Burhan accelerated the timeline to the next two years, opening up the question of who would hold more power in the nation’s new hierarchy and leaving Burhan and Dagalo at odds. On April 15, fighting broke out between Dagalo and Burhan and their followers.

In addition to political strife, Sudan had been facing issues with refugees and displacement, which the current crisis has only exacerbated. Before the fighting broke out, Sudan had already been home to over one million refugees including South Sudanese, Ethiopians fleeing violence in Tigray, and 93,000 Syrians. Now, many of these refugees are once again displaced, in addition to many Sudanese. In total, 3.3 million people have been internally displaced or fled to neighboring countries. In addition to displacement, many Sudanese are facing resource scarcity. Food, water, fuel, and medicine are scarce, and prices for necessities have skyrocketed. The situation only threatens to worsen since the fighting is creeping closer to Jazira, Sudan’s center of food production, and conflict blocks many of the routes that aid agencies use to distribute resources. In May 2023, the two sides signed a Declaration of Commitment in Saudi Arabia guaranteeing that they would allow safe passage of aid into Sudan; however, despite this agreement, pathways to assistance continue to be blocked.

Following the overthrow of al-Bashir in 2019, the UN Integrated Transition Mission Sudan (UNITAMS) was established to help aid the country’s transition to democratic governance. The mission’s mandate has been renewed several times, most recently in February 2023, so that it may continue to address Sudan’s political and social challenges. UNITAMS has urged peace talks between the two sides, and has helped de-escalate smaller, regional conflicts between the RSF and SAF by cooperating with local leaders and regional politicians. UNITAMS has also helped address some humanitarian issues in Sudan by meeting with survivors of sexual violence, negotiating for the release of child soldiers, and providing local education on safety with mines and unexploded ordinance. However, the mission acknowledges that pathways to distribute resources continue to be blocked, and that the best solution is a “humanitarian pause” to allow for the transportation of vital aid.

Malta has “strongly condemn[ed]” the violence in Sudan, especially the impact that it has on civilians, women, and children, and called for a return to civilian governance. The delegation to Malta voted in favor of extending the mandate for UNITAMS and commends the mission’s efforts to hold peace talks. In a statement, Malta’s delegate to the United Nations suggested that Sudan to return to the “transitional drawing board” to create a stable, new government. Additionally, Malta emphasizes the importance of protecting women and children, since Sudanese women have been disproportionately affected by the violence and are at increased risk of gender-based abuse. Malta has also noted the importance of providing medical aid to Sudan, since the conflict has devastated the country’s medical infrastructure. As a member of the European Union, Malta has contributed aid to the region, with the EU providing 500 million euros in assistance to the Humanitarian Response Plan and 256.4 million euros to providing humanitarian and developmental assistance in Sudan.

Malta encourages a ceasefire to stop further spread of the conflict and allow for the distribution of lifesaving resources. Neutral mediators may help facilitate productive discussions between the two sides. Ideally, all Sudanese people, including women, would be represented in discussions on how to establish a new government. Additionally, Malta supports a resolution providing further medical aid and protections for women and children in Sudan to help minimize the devastating humanitarian impact of the conflict.

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