Africans for the Horn of Africa (Af4HA) Initiative, a coalition of African civil society organizations which includes PALU committed to working collectively on the crises in the Horn, organised a solidarity and advocacy mission, prior to and on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, from 11th to 20th September 2023.

The Sudan advocacy mission was arranged at a time when global attention on the crisis in Sudan was waning, which is increasingly concerning. General inertia had been observed on the part of the UN Security Council and the U.S. Government in responding to the conflict.  As such, the primary objective of the mission was to advocate for more meaningful interventions and actions responding to the conflict dynamics at play in the conflict, and deliberate investments to build civilian buy-in.

The mission delegation was comprised of four Sudanese civil society leaders from diverse backgrounds, including as well as the leadership of the Af4HA Initiative which included Dismas Nkunda, the Chief Executive Officer at Atrocities Watch- Africa and Donald Deya our CEO at  Pan African Lawyers Union.

The delegation held a total of seventeen meetings in New York and in Washington DC, with key States, including members of the UN Security Council, the United States Government, UN departments and subsidiary organs with a focus on Sudan. In Washington DC, the delegation met with Congress, with several offices in the Department of State and with the National Security Council. The meetings included a long and frank working session with the US Ambassador to Sudan, Ambassador John Godfrey. The delegation also met with the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Special Advisor of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide (USG SAPG), Ms. Alice Wairimu Nderitu. Two CSO briefings were organized with civil society, one in New York in partnership with Security Council Report and another in Washington DC with Freedom House, where the key messages, curated for various policy actors were discussed. The delegation urged US-based CSOs to continue to reinforce these messages in their meetings with key policy actors in Sudan.

The team closed the mission with a high-level consultation with former South African President, H.E. Thabo Mbeki, and former Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of African Affairs, Ambassador Johnnie Carson. This dialogue provided an opportunity for the two statesmen to update the delegation on their ongoing efforts to stop the war in Sudan and facilitate thoughts on how post-war civilian leadership would be organized. The open conversation focused on discussing strategies on possible pathways that can be pursued by President Mbeki’s initiative for greater impact in ending the conflict and on organising civilians in preparation for the eventual transition after the war.

The mission was successful in influencing thought and action by the policy actors in the United States and the UN on how responses to the Sudan situation can be civilian-centered, as opposed to the current sole focus on those wielding the guns. The engagements with the CSO community in New York and Washington DC were instrumental in building an understanding around the messaging they could continue to advance in solidarity and support of the Sudanese citizens. However, it is critical that we now build on this momentum to crystallize interest and engagement to advance a just and sustainable peace in Sudan.

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