The student-led movement to end mass atrocities.

STAND Conflict Update: February 2024

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The conflict in Sudan continues to escalate. Recently, towards the end of February, the U.N. Human Rights office stated that the number of people subject to rape, violence, and assault is continuing to rise at an exponential rate. The U.N. Human Rights Council also stated that these acts of violence may amount to war crimes. The UN estimates that nearly 14,000 people have died since the conflict began escalating again last year. However, the exact number cannot be known for sure, as the climate is too dangerous for any reporters to go to Sudan at the moment, leading to inaccurate reporting.

The war has also caused thousands of families to become displaced and seek refuge in countries all over Africa, mainly Chad, South Sudan, and Ethiopia. The refugees who are fleeing the war have no access to food and many other necessary resources. According to the UN, Sudan currently has around 18 million people who are struggling without food and 3.8 million children under five years of age who are malnourished, all due to war and violence. As of late, there is not any sign of the war coming to an end anytime soon.

Tigray, Ethiopia

Ethiopia is working on a transitional justice initiative following the end of the civil war in Tigray. This has been received well by many Ethiopians hoping for stability, although others fear that there will never be true accountability for the atrocities committed against Tigrayans during the war. Previous investigations have been flawed, downplaying the Ethiopian military’s role in these atrocities and failing to even visit the sites of civilian massacres. Furthermore, many Tigrayans feel left out of the decision-making process.

After months of famine and a reinstatement of humanitarian assistance, the UN World Food Program plans to bring food aid to three million Ethiopians over the next few weeks. Food insecurity is on the rise, particularly in Northern Ethiopia, so this expansion is vital. At the same time, violence continues in other regions of the nation. Early this month, the state of emergency in the Amhara region was extended again due to conflict between the military and the Fano militia. Using this pretext, authorities have been able to deny basic rights, arresting people without warrants, enforcing curfews, restricting movement, and banning public gatherings. February marks six months of a state of emergency.


Conflict in Cameroon has escalated, with a wave of attacks by anglophone separatists killing dozens of civilians between the end of January and beginning of February. Fighting between separatists and government troops killed soldiers on both sides. Then, on February 7, anglophone separatists took responsibility for killing four government workers, whom the separatists consider to be government troops due to the military training they receive, even if their roles are not explicitly part of the military. Government authorities reported having freed several other of their workers.

On February 10, fighting erupted again as separatists began a lockdown meant to disrupt National Youth Day activities. This coincided with the February 11 anniversary of a referendum in which people in the British Cameroons (now the anglophone regions of Cameroon) voted whether to join Nigeria or Cameroon, which is a symbolically important day for the anglophone separatist movement. There have not been reports of significant escalations since then.

Southwest Asia 


On February 27th, a vessel navigating the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen encountered a rocket explosion, believed to be the most recent attack perpetrated by Yemen’s Houthi insurgents. This event aligns with the continuous string of naval attacks carried out by the Houthis amid the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, alongside simultaneous airstrikes conducted by the U.S. and its allies in response. The UK Maritime Trade Operations center, responsible for monitoring shipping activities in the Middle East, reported that the incident took place around 110 kilometers (70 miles) from the shores of Hodeida, a port city under Houthi control. The rocket exploded several miles distant from the front of the vessel.

Since November, the Houthis have continuously directed their assaults towards ships navigating the Red Sea and adjacent waters amid the ongoing conflict involving Israel and Hamas. Their targets have even included a vessel transporting cargo destined for Iran, the main backer of the Houthi insurgents, as well as humanitarian aid ships intended for regions under Houthi authority. Even after enduring over a month of airstrikes led by the United States, the Houthi rebels continue to carry out significant attacks. Just last week, they caused severe damage to a vessel in a critical strait and shot down an American drone worth tens of millions of dollars. The Houthis maintain that they will continue their offensive until Israel halts its military actions in the Gaza Strip, actions that have sparked widespread outrage in the broader Arab world and have garnered greater international acknowledgment for the Houthi movement.


On February 2nd, United States forces conducted a series of strikes against Iran-backed militia groups in Syria in response to an attack in Jordan that killed 3 U.S. soldiers. Later, on February 5th, a drone attack on a U.S. base killed six Kurdish fighters. The Iran-backed Iraqi militias, known as the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, have claimed responsibility for the attacks, while Iran denied any involvement in the conflict. These escalations of conflict have invoked the UN Security Council to meet and discuss how best to de-escalate conflict in the Middle East.

Turkiye’s repeated airstrikes on the Northeastern region of Syria have continued to wreak havoc on the region as well. A reported one million people in cities and villages have had their electricity cut and over two million people have restricted access to clean water and medical facilities. Additionally, state media in Syria has claimed that Israel was behind two missiles that killed two civilians in the nation’s capital of Damascus and airstrikes in the city of Homs, which killed at least six civilians. Since the start of the new year, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has documented 13 Israeli attacks on Syria resulting in over thirty deaths. 


The escalating tensions in Gaza have continued to worry the international community as the conflict approaches its fifth month. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) to prepare an evacuation from Rafah, a city close to the Egyptian border where 1.5 million Palestinians are seeking refuge as they escape from increasing attacks in northern Gaza. The United States and the international community have expressed great concern, as Netanyahu has also rejected a recent ceasefire deal and the possibility of creating a Palestinian state, leaving many doubts of ending the conflict. There has also been a global policy response, as Algeria proposed a UN Security Council resolution for immediate ceasefire on February 20, which was supported by twelve other member countries, though the US vetoed it. Despite this, official US positions have also been changed, with United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken declaring Israeli settlements inconsistent with international law, which reverses a policy enacted by the previous administration.

Even with talks of a ceasefire, protests around the world have continued to occur, with U.S. Airman Aaron Bushnell setting himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington D.C. He declared that he refused to be complicit in genocide. Tragically, violence continues, and towards the end of this month, over 100 people were killed and 760 injured in Gaza City as people lined up to receive humanitarian aid by Israeli troops. While Israel claims to have opened fire in response to a stampede to the aid convoy, Palestine has claimed that Israeli troops have killed them indiscriminately. As the month of Ramadan approaches next month, it remains to be seen if a ceasefire will put an end to this harrowing conflict that has touched far too many. 

East and Southeast Asia


Burma continues to receive criticism from the Committee to Protect Journalists as journalist Myat Thu Tan was found dead with evidence of torture along with six other political prisoners in the Rakhine State. A video of two political prisoners, Phoe Tay, 23, and Thar Htaung, 22, being burned to death, has spread through Burma and garnered extreme criticism. Despite these repeated criticisms of the treatment of journalists and political prisoners, the Tatmadaw continues to remain silent on their injustices.

February 1st marked the third anniversary of the 2021 coup, and many countries like Australia reacted by imposing sanctions on the junta. Australia has imposed sanctions on two Burmese banks that have funded the junta’s arms purchases. A junta airstrike on a school in Kayah State has left four children dead and multiple children injured. Conflict in regions like Kayah State and Rakhine State has increased, especially with ethnic resistance groups like the Araken Army increasing their campaign against the junta. The number of people who need humanitarian aid in Burma has risen to 18 million people as well. A UN Security Council meeting on February 5th was called to discuss the immediate provision of humanitarian aid to the country. Food insecurity has risen to unprecedented levels, as many people in regions of concentrated conflict struggle to afford even rice. The healthcare in these regions has also been impacted, as many people cannot afford medical treatment and the Tatmadaw is targeting and destroying medical facilities. 

The junta has reinstated the long-forgotten Conscription Law in response to the amount of casualties and desertions the junta is suffering from. Over 6 million men between the ages of 18 to 35 and women between the ages of 18 to 27 qualify. For men and women with a special expertise like doctors, the age range has been expanded to 18 to 45 and 18 to 35 respectively. If conscription is not complied with, one could potentially face three to five years of prison. Major General Zaw Min Tun, the spokesperson for the junta said that 5,000 people will be called each month and conscription would last no longer than two years—three years for technicians—but could last up to five years in a state of emergency. The junta has also activated a Reserve Forces Law which would allow them to send veterans back to the front lines. Because of this, many overseas employment agencies have been directed by the junta to no longer take Burmese workers and neighboring countries like Thailand brace for an influx of refugees after the administration for the conscription law. 

East Turkistan (Xinjiang, China)

In the month of February, the fight for Uyghur independence continues. 61 organizations across the global East Turkistani and Uyghur diaspora have come together to address the United States Congress to recognize the sovereignty of East Turkistan. The United States has pioneered support for the people of Tibet and the people of Taiwan. The people of East Turkistan have called on the US to stand with them and resist the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) nationalism, expansionism, and human rights atrocities. An open letter was sent to the U.S. Congress, highlighting the need for action to be taken to prevent mass atrocities against the myriad of oppressed ethnic groups. The letter acknowledges the support from the U.S. Congress thus far but stresses that more decisive action is needed to address the root cause of these atrocities: the colonization and occupation of East Turkistan by China.  

North America

United States

Twenty-two people were injured and one person, Lisa Lopez-Galvan, was killed during a mass shooting at a Kansas City Chiefs parade following their Super Bowl victory. Two suspects were arrested for inciting the violence during a verbal dispute. The Gun Violence Archive has recorded a staggering 2,387 gun-related deaths in 2024 alone. In Oklahoma, a non-binary, Choctaw teenager, Nex Benedict, died shortly after they were physically assaulted in an apparent hate crime. According to the ACLU, 54 anti-LBGT bills have been introduced by Oklahoma lawmakers in 2024, in addition to 398 other anti-LGBT bills across the country.

This month is Black History Month, which focuses on the contributions and innovations of Black people in the United States and recognizes their oppression, from enslaved people brought to America since the 17th century to the African Americans facing systemic racism today. Because of efforts to suppress information about injustice and false ideas that racism is over, education is necessary. This month is important to honor the impact Black people had and continue to have in the US. There is still so much more work to be done for change.


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

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

Allison Weiner is a junior at DePauw University studying Global Health and Peace and Conflict Studies. She contributed to the Sudan portion of this update.

Grace Harris is a junior at UCLA studying International Development Studies. She contributed to the Tigray portion 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 Palestine portion of this update.

Mira Mehta is a junior at Brown University studying economics and international & public affairs.  She contributed to the Cameroon portion of this update.

Seng Hkawn Myitung is a junior at Albemarle High School. She contributed to the Burma and Syria portions of this update.