The Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies (CHS) organized an online symposium entitled: "Protection of Civilians in Urban Warfare: The Case of the Recent Sudanese Conflict", on Sunday, May 28, 2023. The event witnessed the active participation of a distinguished group of academics, researchers, practitioners in the humanitarian action field, and experts in International Humanitarian law and Sudanese affairs. The symposium was moderated by Dr. Abdulfatah Mohammed, Visiting Researcher at the Center for Conflict and Humanitarian Studies.
The symposium agenda included four interventions: (1) The role and mission of the ICRC in humanitarian action, and its efforts to respect international humanitarian law, presented by the Head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Mission in Doha Cherine Pollini; 92) Reducing Civilian Harm in Urban Warfare: IHL and Islamic Perspective, presented by Dr. Muhammed Munir, Regional IHL and Islam Advisor, based in Amman Jordan; (3) Challenges of Displacement and Refugees: The Case of Sudan Crisis, presented by Dr. Fawzi Oussedik, academic and expert in the international humanitarian law; (4) Providing humanitarian aid and medical services in light of conflict in Sudan, presented by Dr. Hatem Abdulrahman, Head of Sudanese Doctors Association in Qatar.
The symposium shed light on the humanitarian situation in Sudan, addressing the most important measures necessary to protect civilians in armed conflicts, and how IHL can contribute to limiting the damage that may affect civilians and civilian objects while emphasizing the importance of protection and humanitarian support for people affected by conflicts like refugees and displaced persons, and the necessity of continuing to provide humanitarian services and basic need.
The speakers emphasized that IHL provides effective measures which would protect civilians and civilian objects according to the four Geneva Conventions and relevant international covenants. In addition, the speakers referred to the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Sudan and the difficulty of accessing some areas that are currently suffering from a severe shortage of humanitarian and relief supplies. They also called upon more humanitarian efforts to protect civilians and civilians' objects, including providing protection for refugees, and displaced persons, and also to all categories that are protected by the Geneva Conventions and their relevant protocols, and work to provide safe access to them.
The symposium concluded with a question-and-answer session in which it was emphasized that Humanitarian access in Sudan is difficult for the ICRC, and other humanitarian actors. However, the participants stressed that the ICRC and other humanitarian organizations, such as the Qatari Red Crescent and the Sudanese Red Crescent, are carrying out a range of humanitarian activities, albeit limited so far while stressing that Sudan still needs to be provided with more aid and emergency relief; due to the ongoing conflict.
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