Remarks by Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield at a UN Security Council Briefing on Sudan and South Sudan

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
September 13, 2023


Thank you, Mr. President. And thank you for chairing this very important meeting. I thank, SRSG Perthes and Director Wosornu, for your sobering briefings. Also, thank you, Ms. Adil. Thank you for representing the voice of women in this Council and for your very compelling appeal.

SRSG Perthes, I’d like to take this opportunity to commend you for your extraordinary efforts, and your service, over the past year. We regret your departure.

I understand, once again, the Sudanese government warned it would end the UN mission in Sudan if the SRSG participated in this briefing. These threats are unacceptable. And the United States stands firmly behind the work of the SRSG and UNITAMS. And we stand with the people of Sudan. We stand with the United Nations. No country should be allowed to threaten this Council’s ability to carry out its responsibilities for peace and security.

Colleagues, last week, I traveled to Chad to see the devastating consequences of the conflict in Sudan firsthand. While there, I visited a refugee settlement near the Sudanese border. It was one of the saddest days of my life.

I met refugees who were attacked by warring parties – thrust into a conflict they had no role in starting and no ability to end. I met a grandmother escaping with two small children, without the parents anywhere in sight. I met young women, some of whom were victims of unspeakable sexual violence at the hands of the militia, and we heard that from Ms. Adil today.

I also met a young girl who told me she had lost her ambition. I really couldn’t fathom that. And I told her she has to hold on to her ambition, that no one can take that away from her. It truly broke my heart.

While in Chad, I visited the MSF hospital, where doctors are treating hundreds of severely malnourished children. And when I walked through the hospital, the first thing I noticed was how eerily silent and quiet it was. The children were too weak to speak, or to even cry. I saw a six-month-old baby that was the size of a newborn – and a child whose ankles were swollen, and body was blistered, from acute malnutrition. The good news is that, thanks to the heroic efforts of hospital staff and humanitarian workers, these children are on the road to recovery.

I also note that so many Sudanese refugees told me how grateful they are to the Chadian people and government for welcoming and supporting them.

And, on behalf of the United States, I want to express my profound appreciation to people across Chad and the government for their kindness and generosity.

But while the refugees I met were able to escape the conflict, millions of people are still trapped and desperate inside Sudan – and are running out of food and basic resources. They are running out of hope.

Attacks on health facilities have left more than 80 percent of hospitals inside of Sudan nonfunctional. And the public health crisis has been exacerbated by poor sanitation, lack of electricity, non-functioning water treatment options, and over-capacity of morgues.

We also know that clashes and roadblocks are preventing humanitarian aid from reaching people in dire need and endangering the lives of aid workers. And we call on Sudanese authorities to allow for the unhindered and sustained movement of humanitarian goods and personnel, to facilitate the importation of humanitarian goods and equipment, and to expedite visa approvals for international humanitarian workers.

Colleagues, my takeaway from my trip was this – and we heard this from our briefers – the international community is failing the Sudanese people. As we speak, Sudan’s Humanitarian Response Plan for 2023 is less than 30 percent funded. That’s shameful. And it’s a stain on our common humanity.

For our part, the United States is committed to supporting the Sudanese people in their time of need. While in Chad, I announced the U.S. is providing nearly 163 million dollars in additional humanitarian assistance for the people of Sudan and for neighboring countries. This brings the total U.S. humanitarian assistance for the Sudan emergency to nearly 710 million dollars.

During my trip, I also announced U.S. sanctions on Abdelrahim Hamdan Dagalo, a senior commander in Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces and the brother of RSF commander Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, also known as Hemedti – for his connections to abuses by the RSF against civilians in Sudan.

Additionally, we are imposing U.S. visa restrictions on RSF general and West Darfur commander Abdul Rahman Juma for his involvement in gross violations of human rights.

We must all condemn, and work to prevent and respond to, ongoing atrocities in Sudan, and hold those responsible accountable. These acts of brutality contribute to widespread conflict-related sexual violence across Darfur, as reported by the 1591 Committee’s Panel of Experts interim report.

Colleagues, the United States joins our regional and international partners in calling for the Sudanese Armed Forces and Rapid Support Forces to end the fighting, respect human rights, and adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law. We support coordinated international diplomatic efforts in pursuit of peace by the AU, IGAD, League of Arab States, UN, and other partners from the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.

Finally, we remain unwavering in our support of the democratic aspirations of the Sudanese people for a civilian government and a stable, democratic Sudan. We will continue to support civilian leaders – working closely with the AU and IGAD – in charting a process to establish a transition to democratic civilian rule. As we do so, we must ensure inclusive, accountable, and transparent processes that reflect the full diversity of the Sudanese people.

Colleagues, I will continue to raise this issue in the Council. We cannot look away as people suffer, as the conflict rages on. The international community must do more to address the humanitarian crisis, and secure peace and justice for the Sudanese people. For the child I saw wasting away in the hospital. For the victims of rape and other atrocities. For all those trapped under violence and struggling to survive. And for that young woman who looked at me and told me she had lost her ambition, with the hope that one day we can help her claim that back.

Thank you.