UN: Sudan guilty of Darfur crimes

The Sudanese government has been taking part in international crimes in Darfur and has "failed to protect the population" in the region a human rights mission from the UN says.

UN: Sudan guilty of Darfur crimes

In a damning report to the human rights council on Monday the team said the situation in the area is "characterised by gross and systematic violations of human rights".

"The mission further concludes that the government of Sudan has manifestly failed to protect the population of Darfur from large-scale international crimes and has itself orchestrated and participated in these crimes," the report said.

The report was commissioned by the human rights council in an emergency session last December.

After attempting to enter Sudan for around three weeks in February, the council concluded that the Sudanese government had no intention of co-operating with the United Nations.


The team was led by Jody Williams, a Nobel peace prize laureate, who told Al Jazeera that the international community needed to intervene more strongly in Darfur and that "words without action are irrelevant."

"People do not deserve to die because of the actions of a few men in Khartoum," she said.

The report urged stronger UN Security Council intervention, sanctions and criminal prosecution.

Rebel troops and government-backed militia were both accused of atrocities in the report [EPA]

At least 200,000 people are estimated to have died in Darfur's four-year conflict, with millions more displaced.

The UN team was blocked by the Sudanese government in Khartoum from visiting Darfur, but spoke to refugees and aid workers from the region.

The five UN team members travelled to neighbouring Chad, to where many refugees have fled, and where the war itself is spreading.

There they heard reports backing up well-established accusations of serious abuses in Darfur, including mass rape, abduction, and forcing people from their homes.

"There are gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, the government is complicit in those crimes with the Janjaweed militia that it arms and trains," said the head of the mission, Nobel peace prize winner Jody Williams.

The Arab militia known as the Janjaweed have been accused of attacking villagers in Darfur, killing inhabitants and forcing others to flee, while the government provides air support.

The government denies the allegation, and accuses the West of exaggerating the problems in Darfur.

Inadequate efforts

The report said important steps have been taken by the international community, including the African Union and the UN, but "these have been largely resisted and obstructed, and have proven inadequate and ineffective."


Around 2.5 million people have been
displaced by the conflict [EPA]
Humanitarian agencies say they face mounting difficulties in getting help to the desperately needy, and increasingly aid workers themselves are targets of the violence.

The government in Khartoum rejects the use of the term genocide and says the numbers pertaining to the conflict are exaggerated.

It blames rebel groups which refused to sign up to a peace deal in 2006 for the worst of the abuses and accuses the Western of blowing the conflict out of proportion.

However, last month Sudan's government was linked directly to the atrocities in Darfur, by prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in the Hague who named a junior minister as a war crimes suspect who helped recruit, arm and bankroll janjaweed fighters.

Ahmed Muhammed Harun, the former junior interior minister responsible for the western region of Darfur, and a janjaweed militia leader, Ali Mohammed Ali Abd-al-Rahman, also known as Ali Kushayb, are suspected of a total of 51 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity, according to Luis Moreno-Ocampo, a prosecutor.

Chad reserach

Although the UN team was unable to enter Sudan, it held consultations with a number of aid agencies working in the region and was briefed by officials of the African Union in Addis Ababa.

In Ndjamena, Chad, the team spoke to members of rebel groups, including the Justice and Equality Movement and the secretariat of the National Redemption Front.

In order to get witness reports of the suffering of the civilian population the team spoke refugees from Darfur in eastern Chad.

Williams denied the report lacked credibility because of the team's inability to enter Darfur.

She told Al Jazeera that Khartoum was keen to promote the idea the report lacked credibility as it opposed the investigation from the start and that such a response was "very predictable."

The decision to send the six-person team to Sudan was taken by the human rights council after a bitter debate last December when some Arab and African member countries on the 47-state body had resisted singling out Sudan for special attention.

The council is due to debate the mission's report on Friday.

Agencies

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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