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Foreign Office Accused of Ignoring Sudan Atrocity Warnings

The UK Foreign Office has been accused of ignoring repeated warnings from Sudanese groups and western experts that Sudan was teetering on the brink of a conflict that would lead to mass atrocities and identity-based crimes. In a letter sent to the Africa minister, Andrew Mitchell, released on Tuesday, the UK Atrocity Prevention Working Group, which encompasses a variety of charities and civil society organisations, said the Foreign Office had pursued an over-optimistic agenda of “democracy first” in Sudan. The letter says the Foreign Office failed to heed repeated written warnings that the UK’s systems, capabilities and policies towards Sudan lacked a focus on atrocity prevention. The signatories point to warnings as far back as 2019 that a rush to elections without commensurate democratic institutions in Sudan following the revolution that toppled the longtime dictator Omar al-Bashir risked repeating mistakes in Myanmar, where premature assumptions were made about disarmament and preparedness for genuine representative institutions.