Refugees International Calls for Investigation into UAE Arms Shipments to Darfur

Statement from Refugees International’s President Jeremy Konyndyk:

“Refugees International is shocked by today’s New York Times report that the government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is systematically sending arms to the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia in Darfur, which is currently engaged in ongoing ethnic cleansing operations in that region. The UAE has allied itself with the perpetrators of the 2003 Darfur genocide and is now actively arming them–in violation of a binding United Nations (UN) arms embargo–as they carry out mass atrocities in the region again. 

The UN Security Council imposed a Chapter-VII arms embargo on Darfur in 2004 in response to the genocide in that era, and extended it again last March. Shipment of arms to the RSF in Darfur constitutes a clear violation of that binding embargo. 

The UAE is furthermore conducting these RSF resupply flights under the guise of operating humanitarian activities in Eastern Chad with partners including the Emirati Red Crescent. This is a reprehensible and dangerous misuse of humanitarian activities. Supporting military activities under supposed humanitarian auspices gravely endangers legitimate humanitarian personnel. It would also violate the statutes and principles of the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement. 

This situation requires immediate and impartial investigation. Refugees International calls for:

  • The UN Panel of Experts on Sudan to immediately investigate the UAE’s apparent systematic violations of the Darfur arms embargo, including a review of the roles of the Chadian and Ugandan governments in facilitating the transshipment of these arms and their failure to enforce the embargo; 
  • The UAE to immediately halt arms resupply to the RSF, and to use its influence with the RSF to halt the ongoing ethnic cleansing operations in Darfur; 
  • The UN Security Council to hold an emergency meeting to review potential violations of the UN arms embargo in Darfur;  
  • The governments of Uganda and Chad to suspend UAE supply flights until they are able to verify that those flights are not violating the UN arms embargo;
  • UN and prominent member states to urgently engage all implicated governments to reinforce their obligation to abide by the Darfur arms embargo;
  • The UN to consider establishing a humanitarian verification mission in Chad to ensure that arms are not being delivered under humanitarian auspices; 
  • The Emirati Red Crescent to immediately review its operations in Eastern Chad to ensure they are not being instrumentalized as cover for illegal arms shipments; 
  • The Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement to review the circumstances of the Emirati Red Crescent’s involvement in these arms shipments, and to consider any implications for the Emirati Red Crescent’s standing as a member in the Movement.” 

For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Refugees International Media and Communications Manager Etant Dupain at