Amid civil war, Sudan’s civilians find charity

Despite five weeks of civil war between factions of a military junta, the people of Sudan have shown remarkable enterprise and resolve. Many are caring for one another. Youth groups have launched apps to help people find resources. Doctors and women’s groups are working together to record incidents of sexual violence committed by soldiers.

Such civic activism helps explain why the two warring generals – erstwhile partners in a 2021 coup – have felt compelled to reassert their democratic intentions despite turning on each other. In early May, they signed an agreement vowing to uphold international legal norms for protecting civilians. And today their respective forces were set to begin observing a weeklong cease-fire to enable the flow of humanitarian supplies to besieged citizens.

The truce, brokered over the weekend by the United States and Saudi Arabia, is meant to be a first step toward restoring Sudan’s interrupted transition back to civilian rule. It concedes an important point. By “ensuring full, safe, and unhindered movement for all humanitarian organizations, civil society groups and community organizations,” it acknowledges that political legitimacy rests not with the force of arms but in self-government.