The SNP echo the calls of international partners supporting an immediate and sustained ceasefire and the recommencement of negotiations to see a cessation of violence.
In the past couple of years, the Sudanese people have had to endure militarised politics and power struggles, all at the expense of their own wellbeing and prosperity. They do not need this cycle to deteriorate further.
We welcome the UK Government’s statement that violence “must stop immediately” and that “Now is the time for the Sudanese leadership to deescalate tensions and prevent further bloodshed.”
We also fully agree with the UK Government’s assertion that “Innocent civilians should not pay the price of their futures due to this violence.”
We now call on the UK Government to detail what it is doing – alongside the African Union and other international allies – to facilitate a sustained and meaningful ceasefire and bring parties to the negotiating table.
The SNP have sought assurances that the UK Government is prepared to provide essential humanitarian assistance (water, food, medical supplies) to civilians affected by violence. So far almost 300 people have been killed, including civilians and the World Food Programme has had to temporarily halt operations as the violence persists and the safety of aid workers cannot be reassured.
UK nationals left behind clearly feel that they have been abandoned without a plan. There is an unfortunate pattern of sluggish and ineffective reaction from the UK Government when it comes to setting out plans to help those in need. It is vital that the UK Government sets out a clear plan of action to help UK nationals seeking safety and repatriation.
My Glasgow colleague, Alison Thewliss has also sent the letter to the Prime Minister after he failed to set out how an unaccompanied child fleeing Sudan could safely seek asylum in the UK.
We also wish to know how the international community plans to safeguard aid workers across Sudan in the midst of this violence.
What is of most pressing concern is that the health sector in Khartoum is on the verge of collapse. Health facilities have been attacked or damaged, and have a severe shortage of supplies, water, power, fuel, personnel and blood. Personnel have been forced to evacuate and some hospitals are reported to have been stormed by armed forces. The number of deaths and injuries are increasing and there are no verified safe routes to evacuate.
The SNP will ask the Foreign Office what they will do to ensure that medical aid and assistance reaches all those who need it and what work they are doing with the International Committee of the Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières and others to ensure people can get medical aid?
The UK Government’s Foreign Secretary has the power to sanction individuals, including those in the military, paramilitary and possible Russian Wagner mercenaries under The Sudan (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 who commit:
It is imperative that all avenues to deter future violence and conflict are exhausted and the UK Government should consider targeted sanctions to leverage an end to the fighting and eventually democratic transition.