Statement by Administrator Samantha Power - Nearly 20 years after Secretary Colin Powell announced a determination of genocide in Darfur, today, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced his determination that members of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) have committed war crimes in Sudan, and that the RSF and allied militias have committed crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, deportation or forcible transfer, and persecution, and are responsible for ethnic cleansing in Darfur.
Since April 15, the SAF and the RSF have waged war against each other, and against the Sudanese people throughout the country. The ongoing war has fueled a near-collapse in the social fabric and physical infrastructure of Sudan, exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation. Over the last eight months, it is Sudanese civilians who have borne the brunt of this needless and unconscionable conflict, as the SAF and RSF deny their demands for peaceful, democratic civilian rule and drive one of the largest internal displacement crises in the world. Since April 15, fighting has displaced more than 5.3 million people within Sudan, and a further 1.3 million individuals have fled to neighboring countries, including Chad, Egypt, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. Three million of those displaced are children, meaning one out of every eight children in the country has had to flee violence since mid-April. In Darfur, many of these newly displaced have been driven from their homes multiple times. Hospitals and schools across Sudan have been shuttered or destroyed as a result of the fighting – up to 80 percent of health facilities in the country have been shut down leaving millions without vital health care, and unleashing diseases like cholera and malaria.
Secretary Blinken's determination of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and ethnic cleansing committed against the Sudanese people is a necessary step toward accountability for survivors and victims of this and previous conflicts in Sudan. The United States supports the International Criminal Court's active investigation into crimes in Darfur, and accountability for crimes committed against the people of Darfur from 2003 to this day. Cutting off external support for the RSF and the SAF is essential to ending the violence. Any individual or country that continues to provide material support to either side bears responsibility for fueling atrocities against the Sudanese people.
It has been horrifying to witness history repeating itself in Sudan nearly two decades later, especially following a civilian-led revolution in 2019 that offered hope for the peaceful, prosperous democracy the Sudanese people deserve. Until a transition to civilian leadership takes place in Sudan, this pattern of needless violence will continue. The SAF and RSF must permanently cease hostilities, end interference by government and security forces in humanitarian operations, and facilitate safe and unhindered humanitarian access so that life-saving assistance can reach those in need. As the largest donor supporting the people of Sudan, the United States continues to support programs that protect human rights and respond to urgent needs of the Sudanese people. We remain committed to the Sudanese people in their quest for freedom, peace, and justice.