The United States Must Make an Atrocity Determination in Sudan 

Statement from Refugees International:

“In Darfur, the warning lights are blinking red as the same forces responsible for  genocide twenty years ago are once again committing large-scale atrocities. Recent harrowing attacks on civilians in Ardamatta are only the latest installment in a campaign of systematic and targeted ethnic cleansing. It is past time for the United States to make a formal atrocity determination, calling out the violence for what it is and backing it with real action.

A Refugees International team is on the Chad-Sudan border this week interviewing survivors fleeing Ardamatta. These refugees reported militias allied with the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) going house to house, looting, burning, and arbitrarily executing people. Fleeing refugees had to pass through RSF checkpoints, where they were interrogated about their ethnicity, verbally abused, and extorted. 

The RSF takeover of Nyala, Geneina, and Zalingei military bases from the Sudanese Armed Forces will likely lead to catastrophic consequences for many Sudanese—especially women—who have borne the worst brunt of atrocities by the RSF and allied militias. 

According to media accounts and public information from the U.S. Embassy in Sudan, following the takeover of the 15th Infantry Division of the Sudan Armed Forces in the West Darfur Capital of El Geneina on November 8, 2023, the RSF separated men from women. They killed most of the men, especially the youth.   

The United States should rapidly make an Atrocity Determination on Darfur. With the conflict now months old and continuing to spiral rapidly, the Biden administration must appoint a Presidential Envoy on Sudan. American diplomatic and humanitarian engagement must match the severity of the deteriorating situation. 

An atrocity determination should be accompanied by concrete measures, including investigating and sanctioning any country complicit in these atrocities. This could include the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have independently corroborated that the UAE has directly shipped arms to the Rapid Support Forces in Darfur for months, with the possible complicity of countries in the region, including Chad. These reported weapons shipments are in direct contravention of the United Nations Security Council’s longstanding arms embargo on Darfur. 

An atrocity determination should also be accompanied by funding to collect evidence for future prosecutions, and by support for processes including the Independent Fact Finding Mission adopted by the UN Human Rights Council, the International Criminal Court, and any future credible domestic accountability and justice mechanisms in Sudan. 

The Sudan crisis is receiving scant senior-level political and diplomatic attention from the Biden administration. The president – who was a prominent voice against genocide in Darfur a decade and a half ago – has so far remained silent. 

Darfur’s never-again moment is now. The United States and the world must step up accordingly.” 

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

Featured Image: A woman stands at the entrance of a tent at the Adre camp, where around 200,000 people from Sudan are currently taking refuge on September 19, 2023 in Adre, Chad. (Photo by Abdulmonam Eassa/Getty Images)