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Sudanese Armed Forces, Rapid Support Forces Sign Jeddah Declaration Regarding Civilians Protection, Provision Of Humanitarian Aid

The Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) signed the “Jeddah Declaration” regarding the commitment to protect civilians in Sudan, in cooperation with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States of America.

The two signatories to the declaration – according to what was reported by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) – affirmed their core obligations under International Humanitarian Law to facilitate humanitarian action to meet the needs of civilians, and the firm commitment to the sovereignty of Sudan and to preserving its unity and territorial integrity.

They clarified that adhering to the declaration will not affect any legal, security or political status of the signatory parties, nor will it be associated with engaging in any political process.

The “Jeddah Declaration” included agreement that the interests and well-being of the Sudanese people are our top priority and affirm our commitment to ensure that civilians are protected at all times. This includes allowing safe passage for civilians to leave areas of active hostilities on a voluntary basis, in the direction they choose. Both parties also affirmed their commitment to distinguish at all times between civilians and combatants and between civilian objects and military targets. Refrain from any attack that may be expected to cause incidental civilian harm that would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated. Take all feasible precautions to avoid and minimize civilian harm, with an aim to vacate urban centers, including civilian houses. Civilians should not be used as human shields, for example.

The Sudanese Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces also agreed in Jeddah to ensure that checkpoints are not used to infringe upon the principle of the freedom of movement for civilians and humanitarian actors. Allow all civilians to voluntarily and safely leave areas of hostilities and any besieged areas. Commit to safeguard the needs and necessities indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, which can include foodstuffs, agricultural areas, crops and livestock. Looting, ransacking, and ravaging are prohibited.

Both parties committed to vacate and refrain from occupying, as well as to respect and protect all public and private facilities, such as hospitals and water and electricity installations, and refrain from using them for military purposes. Committed to respect and protect medical transports such as ambulances and refrain from using them for military purposes. Committed to respect and protect medical personnel and public installations.

The “Jeddah Declaration” stipulated upholding and not hampering the right of civilians to pass and travel via roads and bridges, inside and outside the State of Khartoum. Take all possible measures to collect and evacuate the wounded and sick, including combatants, without discrimination, and allow humanitarian organizations to do so; do not impede medical evacuations, including during active hostilities. Refrain from the recruitment of children and the use of children in hostilities. Refrain from engaging in forced disappearances and arbitrary detention of civilians. Refrain from any form of torture or other cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, including sexual violence of all kinds.

Both parties agreed to allow and facilitate the rapid and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief, including medical and surgical equipment, and ensure relief personnel the freedom of movement required for their functions. Refraining from interference with principal humanitarian operations and never accompany side by side humanitarian personnel carrying out humanitarian activities Both parties agreed to prioritize discussions to achieve a short-term ceasefire to facilitate the delivery of emergency humanitarian assistance and restoration of essential services, and announced their commitment to scheduling subsequent expanded discussions to achieve a permanent cessation of hostilities.

Source: Qatar News Agency