Darfur — The Sudan Liberation Movement lead by Minni Minnawi (SLM-MM), the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), and Sudan Liberation Movement-Transitional Council (SLM-TC) have declared an immediate unilateral cessation of hostilities for humanitarian purposes throughout the conflict areas of Darfur.
In a joint statement today signed by SLM chairperson Minna Arko Minnawi, JEM chairperson Dr Gibril Ibrahim and SML-TC chairperson Alhadi Idriss, the movements recognise that "the establishment of a durable peace is essential for all people of Sudan," and that they "remain resolved to adhere to the AUHIP Roadmap Agreement of 2016 as the means of achieving peace for all Sudan."
The joint declaration says: "The objectives of the extended cessation of hostilities are to protect civilians, provide unhindered humanitarian access to war-affected populations, and create a conducive environment for peace talks.
"The Cessation of Hostilities shall enter into force at 11:59pm (SLT) on May 7 2018 and will extend for three months to 11:59pm (SLT) on August 6 2018. The Cessation of Hostilities shall apply throughout the conflict areas of Darfur."
The new declaration recalls the Sudan Revolutionary Front's (SRF) prior declarations on unilateral Cessations of Hostilities, dated October 17 2015, April 21 2016, and October 13 2016; the Justice and Equality Movement's and the Sudan Liberation Movement/A's prior declarations on unilateral Cessations of Hostilities for Darfur, dated May 3 2017 and November 30 2017; and their further declarations joined with Sudan Liberation Movement- Transitional Council, dated November 31 2017 and January 31 2018.
The signatories commit that they "will not initiate an attack or wage an offensive," and that all armed groups under their control shall comply with the cessation of hostilities, noting that "the cessation of hostilities shall not prejudice against acts of self-defence, acts for the protection of civilians, or acts against uncoordinated moving targets within or around the conflict areas."
'Political negations should start immediately'
The signatories request that political negotiations should start immediately to end the ongoing conflict by peaceful means.
They "note with deep concern the government of Sudan's multiple and repeated violations of its own unilateral cessation of hostilities declarations, most recently exemplified by its condemnable and barbaric attacks on civilians in Jebel Marra, which resulted in the further mass displacement of civilians."
They are "deeply disturbed by the government of Sudan's continued violations of international law and attacks against civilians, including attacks on internally displaced persons camps in Darfur."
The signatories "further deplore the Government of Sudan's continued detention of political leaders and activists with a blatant disregard to international humanitarian law, and thus call for the immediate release of all political detainees and prisoners of war."
In conclusion, they seeking action from the international community to put an end to the government of Sudan's policies and acts of violence in Darfur with particular regard to the recent attacks on civilians, to condemn the government's violations of its own cessation of hostilities, and to pursue guarantees for unimpeded humanitarian access to Darfur.