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STAND Conflict Update: November 2023

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Fighting has escalated further in the region with Sudan’s military and the Rapid Support Force (RSF) battling for control. Most of the recent fighting has taken place in the Darfur region and near the capital city of Khartoum. This genocide has left more than 9,000 people dead and 5.6 million people displaced within the last seven months. It seems to be following similar patterns to the Darfur Genocide in the early 2000s. As the RSF makes rapid gains, civilians continue to be caught in the crosshairs. The UN has denounced atrocities committed against Darfurians as pure evil. With the recent rise in escalation of the conflict, the United States and others have renewed calls to end the fighting and restart peace talks. Hopefully tensions can calm and lead to negotiations, which are vastly needed for the country and those affected by the violence.

Tigray, Ethiopia

November 2 marked one year since the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front signed a peace agreement. Despite this, many human rights abuses have continued, committed by neighboring Eritrean forces, the Ethiopian military, and Fano militias. Mass killings, sexual violence, and the ethnic cleansing of Tigrayans have been significant atrocities in the nation. In the region of Amhara, a state of emergency placed the region under military control, blocked internet access, banned public gatherings, and allowed for searches and arrests without a warrant. It has yet to be lifted.

Although USAID suspended food aid to Ethiopia last March, it has recently reinstated it for a one-year trial period. It plans to monitor the program to prevent further theft and corruption, the cause of their initial suspension. Over 20 million people were in need of aid in the nation in 2023 because of conflict. Although the new program does not begin until December, it will hopefully make a difference.


Violence in Cameroon has continued without any progress towards peace. On November 6, a group of anglophone separatists carried out an attack in Egbekaw village in the western region of the country. The government reported that 25 people, including one child, were killed. No group officially claimed responsibility for the attack, but the government has accused the Manyu Unity Warriors. Separatists carried out a second attack on a market in a French-speaking area on November 21. They reportedly kidnapped 10 civilians in addition to looting and burning down businesses. The UN has called for the release of these villagers, but there have not yet been any more updates.

Southwest Asia 


 The Houthis in Yemen have continuously shown their opposition to the Israeli government. They have joined in the conflict in retaliation for the Israeli army’s bombardments of Gaza. On November 27th, Houthi forces fired two ballistic missiles towards a US warship carrying phosphoric acid, but the missiles landed in the water. The week before, on November 20th, the Houthi forces seized an Israeli-linked cargo ship, taking 25 crew members hostage. According to Houthi rebels, any ship belonging to the Israeli government will be targeted until the end of Israel’s campaign against Hamas. The Houthis have warned ships flying with the Israeli flag in the Red Sea, indicating that their ships are possible targets of violence.

Due to these actions, there are increased fears of the Israel-Hamas conflict widening, worsening violence in already war-torn Yemen. Responsive US or Israel strikes are likely to activate global involvement. Further provocations could possibly close Yemen’s ports to international shipping, putting immense pressure on the Yemeni people with the ongoing crisis of food insecurity and malnutrition. Their attacks may threaten the possibility of a new peace agreement with Saudi Arabia and there is pressure to redesignage them as a terrorist group, which would further hinder any deals.


A recent hearing in the International Court of Justice has found the Syrian government guilty of torture and declared that it must end the practice and work to protect the rights of civilians. France also issued arrest warrants for President Bashar al-Assad and three other important government officials for their use of chemical weapons, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. Accountability is important to prevent further atrocities.

Additionally, conflict has continued this month. ISIL, also known as ISIS, still has a strong presence in the country and killed at least 30 soldiers in the military and pro-government militias. Both the United States and Russia are involved in the conflict as well, sending airstrikes and bombs. Tensions remain high throughout the country, and experts worry that conflict could escalate. 


Qatar mediated a temporary ceasefire in Gaza, which lasted only through November 30. As part of this agreement, Hamas released more than 100 hostages, and Israel released more than 200 Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons. Approximately 100 hostages have yet to be freed, while about 1,800 Palestinians are still held in Israel without charges or a trial. Part of the deal also detailed that humanitarian aid including food, water, and fuel are allowed to enter through Gaza’s ports.

Despite this progress, some violence continued during the ceasefire. Israel accused Hamas of violating the agreement. Israeli forces, however, also continued attacks in the West Bank and even killed at least eight Palestinians there during the ceasefire. They also warned people not to return to Gaza and opened fire on people who attempted to do so. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced plans to continue attacking Gaza following the ceasefire, and violence is likely to escalate. The conflict has already killed approximately 1,200 Israelis and 15,000 Palestinians, and displaced over 2.3 million Palestinians.

East and Southeast Asia


As U.S. lawmakers continue to delay the finalization of the 2024 budget, the matter of U.S. humanitarian aid to Burma has been delayed until early 2024. Lawmakers are planning to pass a short-term resolution that would run until early 2024 that would fund the BURMA Act and other policies, but many activists are concerned that the delay and the lack of bipartisan communication may jeopardize the effectiveness of the BURMA Act. While the US has yet to do so, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, and Canada have joined the genocide case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that accuses Burma of committing genocide against the Muslim Rohingya ethnic group.

The Three Brotherhood Alliance, an ethnic resistance group, has launched dozens of coordinated attacks on military outposts in the northern part of the Shan state after capturing the border town of Shwe Haw. The alliance continues to gain ground and the junta has responded by sending fighter jets to bomb the areas reclaimed by the alliance, admitting that they are facing heavy assaults from anti-coup groups. This fighting in the Shan state has left 70 casualties and many residents have found themselves in a humanitarian crisis as resources decrease and environmental conditions worsen with heavy rain and a 5.7 magnitude earthquake.

As fighting on the border between the Chin state and India increases as well, many Burmese people have fled to India to escape the intense conflict. Resistance groups have taken over many towns and more than 100 security outposts from the Burmese military. However, as the situation calmed, over 5,000 people  were able to return to Burma. In an update from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as of November 9th, almost 50,000 people from the northern part of the Shan state have been displaced due to the escalating conflict between the junta and the resistance groups. An additional 40,000 people from the Sagaing region and Kachin state have been displaced as well. 

East Turkistan (Xinjiang, China)

This month, the historic 9th East Turkistan General Assembly concluded on a positive note in Washington D.C. The assembly discussed many ideas regarding the strengthening of the East Turkistan Government in Exile (ETGE), and how the national independence of East Turkistan can be secured. Emphasis was placed on the goal to strategize practical measures of addressing the ongoing genocide against Uyghurs, Kazakhs, and other Turkic peoples. The assembly ended with new government leadership, including a new president and a 4 year strategic plan to advance East Turkistan’s cause for national independence. A 12 point Declaration was also adopted, focusing on the key resolutions of the ETGE and calling for the East Turkistan Diaspora and community to support the struggle for independence, providing necessary hope for the recognition of the crimes against humanity committed against Turkic peoples, and the sovereignty of the East Turkistan region.

The United States recently made the decision to lift the authority from the Chinese Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science in Beijing. This is extremely concerning as the IFS was previously removed from the U.S. entity list mid-November, prompting worry over involvement in national security and human rights. Although the United States has stated that the delisting of the IFS does not correlate to the removal of sanctioning, critics voice their dismay over the IFS genetic research targeting Uyghurs. Although more information is yet to come, more awareness must be raised over the safety of the Uyghur people as the intentions of the IFS are unclear and China has explained the move as a counternarcotics effort.

North America

United States

In November, many people celebrated Thanksgiving, while others marked the day as the National Day of Mourning to remember the genocide of Indigenous peoples by European colonizers. This is a day of protest and remembrance and draws attention to false narratives about peaceful pilgrims that are often shared on the holiday.

Within the United States, other human rights abuses have taken place as well. The UN Human Rights Committee has criticized the country for recent discriminatory legislation targeting members of the LGBTQ community by restricting access to gender-affirming care, preventing transgender people from joining sports teams or using bathrooms that align with their gender identity, banning books, and censoring classroom discussions. 

Since violence in Israel and Palestine escalated in early October, there has been a spike in antisemitic and Islamophobic hate incidents in the United States. Notably, three 20 year-old Palestinian college students were shot while they were walking before a Thanksgiving dinner in Burlington, Vermont. The shooting is being investigated as a likely hate crime.


Alishba Waqar is a senior at Westfield High School. She contributed to the Yemen and Palestine portions of this update.

Anika Gera is a junior at Terre Haute South Vigo High School. She contributed to the United States and East Turkistan portions of this update.

Anne-Sophie Hellman is a senior at Buffalo State University majoring in History. She contributed to the United States portion of this update.

Grace Harris is a junior at UCLA majoring in International Development Studies. She contributed to the Tigray and Syria portions of this update.

Jerry Harris is a graduate student at George Mason University in the Mass Atrocity and Genocide Prevention certificate program. He contributed to the Sudan portion of this update.

Mira Mehta is a junior at Brown University. She contributed to the Cameroon portion of this update.

Seng Hkawn Myitung is a junior at Albemarle High School. They contributed to the Burma portion of this update.