• English
  • Français
  • العربية
  • Crisis Action update: May 2023

    This month’s update features the latest news from our work with partners on our campaigns for Ethiopia, Yemen, Syria, and the Sahel, as well as our emergency response on Sudan and our work to expand civic space at the African Union.


    Mobilising rapidly in response to the Sudan crisis

    Crisis Action acted quickly upon the outbreak of fighting in Sudan, convening a global partner call attended by 97 partners to facilitate an exchange of information and analysis while identifying opportunities for joint action to reduce hostilities and protect civilians. The discussions revealed that the media, multilateral institutions and policymakers are failing to consider the asks and perspectives of Sudanese civil society and activists; disregarding the regional and international vested interests working to fuel and sustain the violence; and falling into the media-generated trap of regarding the crisis as merely between two men.

    Going forward, we are working with partners, allies and experts to amplify the voices and demands of Sudanese civil society; expose and counteract external forces and spoilers; organise conversations between Sudanese CSOs and the African Union on the way forward; and encourage journalists to shift the media narrative to expose the spoilers of peace.  So far, 73 partners have indicated an interest in joining a Crisis Action-led campaign.


    The creation a UN missing-persons institution

    Crisis Action is working with Syrian families in final-stage efforts to create a UN institution to clarify the fate and whereabouts of 100,000+ Syrians who have gone missing or been forcibly disappeared since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war. With the vote on the establishment of the landmark institution expected in the UN General Assembly in June, we have ensured that the first draft of the resolution reflected all the concerns of Syrian families.

    In late March, Crisis Action partnered with Syrian family organisations—the Truth and Justice Charter Group—to bring a high-level delegation to New York, arranging for family members to meet with an array of officials (from the UN system, member states, international organisations) in the lead-up to an interactive dialogue in the General Assembly.

    The UNGA dialogue, held on 28 March, featured the UN Secretary-General and the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, both of whom called on member states to establish the UN institution. During the dialogue, several member state representatives cited their meetings with the Truth and Justice Charter Group, describing how the families’ emotive testimony convinced them of the importance of the institution.

    To build global support for the resolution, a Crisis Action-led campaign secured media coverage in Central and Latin America, Africa, the MENA Region, and international and UN-focused outlets. A Crisis Action-produced video was widely shared by partners, global media, and missing-persons groups from The Gambia to Mexico. Our media work will continue until passage of the resolution is secured and partners’ goal of creating the first-of-its-kind institution is realized.


    Supporting partners’ efforts to bolster and expand the AU peace process

    In the six months since the Ethiopian government and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) signed a cessation of hostilities agreement under the auspices of African Union, Crisis Action has supported partners’ efforts to persuade the African Union to bolster and expand the AU peace deal to ensure that a just peace flourishes in every corner of Ethiopia.

    In recent weeks, we have arranged for partners to confer directly with AU’s leading decision-makers. A Pan-African civil society delegation visited the Addis Ababa headquarters of the African Union, where they met with Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, the AU Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security. Bankole lauded the group for bringing concrete proposals to expand the peace deal to conflicts outside of the Tigray region.

    Our work to support partners’ efforts to expand women’s involvement in the peace process led to an online meeting between Pan-African CSOs and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the former deputy president of South Africa and one of three AU mediators responsible for brokering the peace deal.

    Filsan Abdi

    In addition, we spurred a debate in the Ethiopian media on the role of women in peacebuilding thanks to our work with former Ethiopian government minister, Filsan Abdi. We helped Ms. Abdi place an op-ed that was published simultaneously by global media giant Al Jazeera and a leading Ethiopian newspaper, The Reporter.

    Engaging regional and international journalists and commentators, we helped ensure the article was seen by nearly nine million people across social media. The op-ed’s message was picked by Amharic-language media in Ethiopia, spurred by an interview Ms. Abdi gave to a highly rated Sunday night talk show.


    Maintaining a watching brief on Yemen

    A tentative calm is holding in Yemen. The continuing negotiations between adversaries in Riyadh and Sanaa indicates that after seven grinding years of war, Yemen may finally be on the path to peace.
    Crisis Action’s decision to exit our Yemen campaign came after close assessment of the situation in Yemen and the regional and international climate.

    We are enormously proud of what our partners achieved over the course of our Yemen campaign, while acknowledging that conditions for peace in Yemen remain fragile. As we continue our exit through June 2023, we will provide consultations and guidance to partner coalitions that are working to sustain the cause of peace for Yemen and pursue justice and accountability for Yemeni civilians. We will retain a watching brief on Yemen and evaluate the need for re-engagement if political negotiations falter and violence starts to threaten civilians once again.

    The Sahel

    Responding to escalating threats on civilians

    Of all three countries of the Central Sahel, Burkina Faso is experiencing the fastest deteriorating situation: confronted with an upsurge in attacks by armed groups, the military junta which seized power after a coup in 2022 (the second in just a few months) has declared a state of emergency and a “general mobilization” in April. Also in April, around 150 civilians, including women and babies, have been killed by men in uniform in the village of Karma, in the North of the country, according to separate reports by our partners CISC, a Burkinabè human rights organisation; Amnesty International; and Human Rights Watch.  Crisis Action supported partners in responding to this event by posting a statement by our partner CISC on the People’s Coalition for the Sahel’s website and by helping with dissemination to key journalists and policymakers.

    Simultaneously, Crisis Action is convening a strategy workshop in Niamey, Niger, in June 2023, bringing together a core group of Sahelian, regional and international partners to plan joint advocacy activities and engage discussions on a new structure for the Coalition. The workshop, organised jointly by Niamey-based partners, will also be an opportunity for partner meetings with policymakers from Niger and other relevant stakeholders, including former President Issoufou, Chair of the Independent High-level Panel on Security, Governance and Development in the Sahel, appointed by the AU, UN and ECOWAS, whose report is expected to be presented in September.

    African Union

    Increasing civic space at the African Union

    In what was described by one participant as ‘‘a key moment in the history of CSO engagement with the AU,’’ Crisis Action organised an important meeting between Pan-African civil society and the leadership of the African Union’s Commission for Political Affairs, Peace and Security—a successful follow-up to last February’s inaugural meeting between CSOs and the AU Commission. The session revealed a deepening level of honesty and respect between civil society and the AU, boding well for a future that will allow the perspective and expertise of civil society to play an ever more important role in AU policymaking.