Thank you to those constituents who have contacted me about the situation in Sudan.

The violence being inflicted on the people of Sudan is heartbreaking. The Sudanese people want peace and a transition to civilian-led Government but these hopes have yet again been denied to them by the self-interest of military and paramilitary groups.

I am extremely concerned that some 6.5 million people have been forcibly displaced either within Sudan or in neighbouring countries and that almost 25 million are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.

The reports from Sudan, and in Darfur in particular, are horrifying, with accounts from survivors of unarmed civilians being targeted and killed because of their ethnicity and mass sexual violence against women and girls being used as a tool of war. Violence is spreading throughout the country, crops are going unplanted and services are crumbling.

The longer this violence continues, the more that regional stability and the integrity of the state itself are at risk. A country of more than 45 million people could collapse into lawlessness where terrorist group would thrive. Mass forced migration would be inevitable on top of those who have already fled Sudan.

The UK Security Council has called for a ceasefire and the UK has a special responsibility as the ‘penholder’ for Sudan in the United Nations Security Council. We need to work with our regional international partners, including the African Union, to push for an immediate end to hostilities and to stop Sudan spiralling into further horror.This should include more sanctions against the warring entities in Sudan which must end the hostilities and give the Sudanese people what they are clamouring for: – namely peace, justice and democracy under a civilian government.

Rt Hon Hilary Benn
MP for Leeds Central
Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland

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