Sirleaf says she is deeply concerned about accusations that regional powers are involved in worsening the status of Sudanese women (Getty Images)

Africa's first democratically elected president has called on the UAE to sever ties with Sudan's "criminal" Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which it accuses in particular of committing deplorable atrocities against women.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a former president of Liberia and Africa's first elected head of state, said the role of Sudanese women in the overthrow of former Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir in 2019 was pivotal.

But in a terrible turn of events, Sirleaf says Sudanese women are bearing the brunt of a fierce war raging since mid-April between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces.

More than 6 million people have been displaced from their areas since the fighting began, including an estimated 105,1 pregnant women, according to the United Nations. Of the 2.9 million people who have fled to neighbouring countries, nearly 10 in <> are women and children.

Sexual violence of all kinds has been widespread in war zones, she said, noting that a report by a UN expert accused both sides of violating human rights laws, but expressed particular concern about the brutal and widespread use of rape and other forms of sexual violence by the RSF.

She explained that the stories of those incidents are very painful even once you read them.

Sirleaf spoke of news she said she wanted to be "false" accusing the UAE of providing military equipment for rapid support in his current war.

She added that she was deeply concerned by accusations that regional powers were involved in exacerbating the situation of Sudanese women, and "in particular, I was disturbed by reports that the UAE is supplying weapons to the RSF."

It is imperative, according to the former President of Liberia, that "all regional and international actors play a constructive role in bringing peace to Sudan, especially when the world's attention is focused on other crises, and they must not condone gross violations of human rights solely to pursue selfish economic and strategic interests."

Sirleaf said the UAE, which is hosting the UN climate change conference COP28 this week at Dubai's Expo City, would tarnish its reputation if it failed to ensure a complete rupture with Sudan's warring parties, particularly the "criminal forces of the Rapid Support Forces."

Sirleaf concluded that when she was President of Liberia, she took responsibility for rebuilding a nation that had been almost devastated by war and looting, providing an opportunity to see first-hand how important women's empowerment is in moving the country towards reconciliation.

Source: Times