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European Parliament resolution on the situation in Darfur

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Thursday, 15 February 2007 - Strasbourg

The European Parliament ,

- having regard to the outcome of the General Affairs and External Relations Council of 12 to 13 February 2007,

- having regard to its previous resolutions on the situation in Darfur, and in particular those of 16 September 2004(1) , 23 June 2005(2) , 6 April 2006(3) and 28 September 2006(4) ,

- having regard to UN Security Council Resolution 1706(2006) proposing a 22 000-strong peacekeeping force for Darfur,

- having regard to the Darfur Peace Agreement signed in Abuja, Nigeria, on 5 May 2006,

- having regard to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which is binding and applied without exception,

- having regard to Rule 103(4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. deeply concerned by the fact that the conflict in the Darfur region involving regular troops, pro-government militias and rebels has resulted in at least 400 000 deaths and created more than two and a half million refugees and displaced persons during the past three years, despite the signing of the Darfur Peace Agreement on 5 May 2006 in Abuja, Nigeria,

B. whereas the Government of Sudan and rebel groups agreed to a 60-day ceasefire on 11 January 2007, but indiscriminate attacks on civilians and aid workers are continuing unabated with what aid agencies are describing as "violence on a scale not seen before in Darfur"(5) ,

C. whereas the Darfur conflict – together with impunity from prosecution – is increasingly affecting the stability of the Central African region and constitutes a threat to international peace and security,

D. whereas the UN "Responsibility to Protect" doctrine provides that where "national authorities manifestly fail to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity," others have a responsibility to provide the protection needed,

E. whereas the UN Security Council, in its Resolution 1706(2006), has authorised a new UN peacekeeping force of up to 22 500 soldiers and police officers to take over Darfur operations from the Africa Mission in Sudan (AMIS), while reaffirming its full respect for Sudanese sovereignty, unity, independence and territorial integrity,

F. whereas sexual violence against women and children has been recognised as a crime against humanity, but systematic rape continues to be used as a weapon of war by parties in the Darfur conflict and, despite numerous assurances by the Sudanese Government, sexual violence continues unabated,

G. whereas the International Criminal Court (ICC) opened an investigation into crimes in Darfur in June 2005,

H. whereas torture and forced conscription of adults and children have become a feature of the human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law in Darfur, with the victims of torture too scared to report the abuse to either AMIS or humanitarian workers for fear of retribution,

1. Calls on the UN to act in line with its "Responsibility to Protect" doctrine, basing its action on the failure of the Government of Sudan to protect its population in Darfur from war crimes and crimes against humanity, and also its failure to provide humanitarian assistance to the population;

2. Calls therefore on the UN, even in the absence of consent or agreement from the Sudanese Government, clearly to set a date for deployment of a UN-supported peacekeeping force in Darfur, under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1706(2006), and the UN Agreement of 16 November 2006, in order to secure humanitarian aid corridors without any further delay to support the increasingly isolated and suffering population in the region;

3. Calls on the governments of the Member States of the European Union, the Council and the Commission to assume their responsibilities and make every possible effort to provide effective protection for the people of Darfur from a humanitarian disaster;

4. Deplores the Sudanese Government’s support for the Janjaweed militia and its bombing of the Darfur region, amounting to a clear and flagrant breach of the Darfur Peace Agreement;

5. Calls on the international community, including the Member States of the European Union, to make equipment available in the region for the enforcement of the no-fly zone over Darfur established by UN Security Council Resolution 1591(2005);

6. Calls on the EU institutions and other international actors to apply sanctions that target any side, including the Sudanese Government, that violates the ceasefire or attacks civilians, peacekeepers or humanitarian operations and to take all necessary action to help end impunity by enforcing and implementing the UN Security Council sanction regime through targeted economic sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, as the EU has done in the past with other countries(6) ; underlines that sanctions against Sudan should also include the threat of an oil embargo;

7. Calls on the EU institutions and the international community to reconvene peace talks to improve the content of the Darfur Peace Agreement and make it acceptable to all parties; calls on international actors to hold accountable all parties to the resulting agreement and urges all parties to the conflict in Darfur to show their commitment to a peaceful solution to the crisis by implementing that agreement without delay;

8. Calls on the Sudanese Government to cooperate fully with the ICC in order to end impunity;

9. Calls on China to use its significant leverage responsibly in the region to hold the Government of Sudan to its commitments under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 9 January 2005 and the Darfur Peace Agreement; further calls on China to cease exporting arms to Sudan and to cease blocking decisions on targeted sanctions against the Government of Sudan in the UN Security Council;

10. Notes the UN Human Rights Council decision to send a High-Level Mission to Darfur to investigate human rights abuses in the region, which should provide a basis for action to bring to account any perpetrators of such crimes, and underlines the need for independence and credibility of the Mission team; is critical of the delays caused by visas not being granted to members of this Mission;

11. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission, the Heads of State and Government of the Member States, the Government and Parliament of Sudan, the United Nations Security Council, the Heads of State and Government of the Arab League, the governments of the ACP countries, the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly and the African Union institutions.

Source : European Parliament

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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