UN expresses alarm over surge in civilian deaths during 2023

The United Nations (UN) painted a grim picture of civilian casualties in armed conflicts during 2023, with a staggering 72% increase in fatalities compared to the previous year.

Joyce Msuya, deputy secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, reported over 33,000 civilian deaths documented by the UN alone.

This number is likely higher, highlighting a concerning lack of compliance with international law.

Conflicts in Gaza, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Myanmar, Nigeria, the Sahel, Somalia, Syria, and Ukraine were cited as major contributors to the rise in civilian casualties.

Beyond deaths, widespread damage to infrastructure and record-breaking displacement further compound the suffering.

As of mid-2023, an unprecedented 110 million people were displaced globally due to conflict and violence.

Adding to the urgency, UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Alice Wairimu Nderitu, raised a critical warning about the situation in Sudan.

Nderitu highlighted alarming signs of potential genocide in the country, citing targeted attacks against civilians based on ethnicity and hate speech.

She emphasized the gravity of the situation, stating, “The protection of civilians in Sudan cannot wait. The risk of genocide exists in Sudan. It is real and it is growing every single day.”

This statement stands in stark contrast to Nderitu’s previous silence regarding civilian casualties in Gaza.

Her focus solely on Sudan has drawn criticism for neglecting other pressing humanitarian crises.

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