SUDAN: Government, Darfur groups violating human rights law - rapporteur

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Sudanese government and various movements in Darfur have failed to protect civilians, creating a critical human rights situation characterised by continuing violations of international law, a UN rapporteur has warned.

"The government and the movements ... are violating international human rights law and international humanitarian law," Sima Samar, Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, said in a statement on 10 March.

"I received reports of killings, sexual violence, arbitrary arrest and detention and impunity for such crimes," she added.

Referring to the attacks on 8 and 9 February by Sudanese armed forces and militiamen in West Darfur, the rapporteur said the violence was marked by indiscriminate killings, destruction of property and looting and plundering, in which more than 100 people were killed.

"On 18, 19 and 22 February, the SAF [Sudan Armed Forces] launched another round of ground attacks and aerial bombardments on villages in the Jebel Moon area, targeting elements of the Sudan Liberation Movement rebel group," she said.

"Bombs were reportedly dropped on several locations populated by civilians, including one near an internally displaced camp in Aro Sharrow."

Calling on the government and the movements to fully comply with their obligations under international law and to protect civilians in areas under their control, she added: "I request an investigation to find those responsible and to bring them to justice to end the lack of accountability for these serious crimes.

"Justice is not only a right but could also serve as a deterrent."

The rapporteur visited Sudan for the fifth time from 27 February to 10 March. She was, however, unable to access some areas in Northern State where communities have been affected by the construction of two hydro-power dams.

Source: IRIN