Stringer / Zuma Press / ISOPIX
Stringer / Zuma Press / ISOPIX

Sudan – Education International calls for the protection of students, teachers and education facilities

published 19 April 2023 updated 9 June 2023

Education International strongly advocates for the right to education and condemns any actions that jeopardize this fundamental human right. The ongoing fighting in Sudan has resulted in restricted movement and disrupted access to education, which is crucial for the country's stability and development.

Education International (EI) calls on all parties to ensure that education facilities are protected and that students and teachers are able to safely resume their learning process.

We urge the international community to prioritize the right to education in any efforts to resolve the crisis in Sudan and to support the country in building a peaceful and prosperous future for all its citizens.

Outbreak of violence

Education International condemns the outbreak of fighting that is taking place in Sudan and appeals the United Nations to request the leaders of the Rapid Support Forces (RAF) and the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) to immediately cease hostilities, restore calm, and begin a dialogue to resolve the crisis.

The crisis began on 15 April when armed clashes broke out between the SAF, loyal to the head of the military government, and the RAF paramilitary, led by the deputy head of State. Skirmishes led to widespread fighting across the capital Khartoum and surrounding areas.

An independent Sudanese military force, the RSF evolved from the Janjaweed militia, formerly active in Sudan’s Darfur region, and has been involved in talks aimed at a transition to a civilian government. A military rule has been in place in the country since the 2021 military coup.

Call for a humanitarian pause

Rising numbers of casualties have been reported across Khartoum, South Kordofan, North Darfur, Northern State and other regions, with the heaviest concentration of fighting taking place in Khartoum.

Movement in the city is restricted due to the insecurity, creating challenges for health workers to attend to those who need urgent medical care.

Eighty-eight students and workers of the University of Khartoum were trapped for four days in the university premises without food or water due to heavy firefights. One student was killed after being hit by a stray bullet. At least one other was wounded. There were eventually evacuated by the SAF on 18 April.

Education International condemns the gross violation of international humanitarian law and calls for a humanitarian pause. A humanitarian pause would allow for the Sudanese to go to safer places, get supplies for Ramadan , go to the hospital and resume the learning process. Stakeholders must prevent the country from sliding into serious instability. They must ensure that the rule of law and international human rights standards are upheld in resolving the issues facing the country.

Attacks against humanitarian workers

Education International echoes the declaration of UN Secretary General who stated “We are deeply concerned about the safety and security of civilians in the areas affected by the fighting, including refugees and internally displaced people.” The UN calls for all parties to protect civilians, including refugees and displaced people, and to respect the safety of humanitarian staff so that critical aid can be delivered.

UN facilities have been looted and destroyed. Ten UN agencies and more than 80 non-governmental organizations have been running more than 250 programmes in Sudan. Three UN World Food Programme employees have been killed in violence in Kabkabiya, North Darfur while carrying out their life-saving duties on the front lines of the global hunger crisis.

The UN food agency estimates that one third of Sudan’s population, or some 15 million people, face acute food insecurity.