Sudan could be plunged back into political instability and conflict if it is not offered sufficient financial support to deal with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Michelle Bachelet said that the country, which is undergoing a fragile transition to civilian rule after the 2019 overthrow of dictator Omar al-Bashir, could face ‘untold suffering’ amid acute resource constraints on the transitional government and decrepit health infrastructure.
“The health system is simply not equipped to handle an outbreak on the scale we have seen elsewhere in the world. There is only one way to prevent a humanitarian disaster, and that is for the donors to step up and extend a helping hand to Sudan,” said Bachelet.
Financial constraints are exacerbated by the effects of ongoing sanctions, the failure of international institutions to provide debt relief, and a deficit of international support, said Bachelet.
Sudan remains on a US list of states sponsoring terrorism and is not among the countries eligible to access a $50bn established by the International Monetary Fund to assist countries fighting COVID-19.
“We must act swiftly and generously to provide financial support. Otherwise, we run the risk of a country which held such promise relapsing back into political instability and potential conflict,” said Bachelet.
“The only way Sudan will ever be able to break out of this cycle of poverty and desperation is to be freed from the impediments of sanctions imposed at the time of the previous government. This would enable Sudan to attract investment for its much-needed economic reforms, and to fully access funds of the international financial institutions.”
275 people in Sudan have tested positive for COVID-19 of whom 22 have died.