(Adds context in paragraph 2, quote from Turk in paragraph 3, details on sexual violence in paragraph 4)
GENEVA, May 24 (Reuters) – The United Nations human rights chief on Wednesday described the situation in Sudan as “heartbreaking” and made a direct call to the two warring generals to stop sexual violence and spare the lives of civilians.
Fighting in Sudan that broke out more than a month ago has killed hundreds of civilians and forced more than one million people to flee the violence.
Volker Turk said his office had received reports of fighter jets and clashes in the capital Khartoum overnight despite a ceasefire.
“Many civilians are virtually besieged in areas where fighting has been relentless,” Turk told a Geneva press briefing.
“General (Abdel Fattah) al-Burhan, General (Mohamed Hamdan) Dagalo, you must issue clear instructions, in no uncertain terms to all those under your command, that there is zero tolerance for sexual violence…civilians must be spared and you must stop this senseless violence now,” he said.
He said his office had documented at least 25 cases of sexual violence so far, and that the real number was likely to be much higher. (Reporting by Emma Farge; editing by Matthias Williams and Bernadette Baum)