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Smoke rising above an RSF site in Khartoum after a drone attack in late August Alamy

Oireachtas Committee urged to increase funding for ‘abandoned’ Sudan

More than 10,400 people have been killed in the Sudan conflict so far, which broke out in April.

THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS to “urgently scale-up Ireland’s humanitarian funding” to Sudan and must “increase focus on Sudan at EU level”.

That’s the message that was delivered by Irish NGOs today at a Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence.

War erupted in Sudan on 15 April between the regular Sudanese army and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

It pitted Sudan’s army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan against his former deputy, Rapid Support Forces (RSF) commander Mohamed Hamdan Daglo.

More than 10,400 people have been killed in the Sudan conflict so far, according to one estimate by the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data project.

The war has displaced more than 4.8 million people within Sudan while a further 1.2 million have fled into neighbouring countries, according to UN figures.

Sudan is the largest child displacement crisis in the world, with three million children fleeing the country.

UN Human Rights bodies have also raised concerns of women and girls being abducted, allegedly forcibly married, and held for ransom.

Speaking at the Committee today, Rosamond Bennett, Chair of Dóchas, said that Ireland needs to “urgently scale-up humanitarian funding to local organisations on the frontline of response” in Sudan.

She also called for the government to “increase the focus on Sudan at EU level” and to “advocate for humanitarian access to those affected and those displaced”.

Meanwhile, Concern’s interim Country Director for Sudan, Dominic MacSorley, told the Committee that he witnessed widespread destruction and looting of health facilities during his visit to West Darfur in Sudan last week.

He said that while “channels for humanitarian assistance are there, access isn’t easy and trucking is costly”.

However, he added that “these channels are being strengthened and need to be supported”.

He also hit out at under-funding for the region.

It is estimated $2.6 billion (€2.4b) is required to meet the current humanitarian needs in Sudan, but only $865.6 million (€793.9m) has been received.

MacSorley told the Committee: “The fact that the $2.6 billion (€2.4b) needed to support at least 18 million people is less than 35% funded is completely unacceptable.”

The government was also challenged to “make good on Ireland’s commitment to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income on Official Development Assistance by 2030 at the latest”.

Rosamond Bennett told the Committee that Ireland lags behind in this commitment and is estimated to spend only 0.48% of Gross National Income on Official Development Assistance next year.

The Committee also heard calls for the government to “advocate strongly, both domestically and at the EU level, for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.”

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