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SPLM-N slams Sudan election as OPCW deputy-chairman

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Mrs Rahma Salih Elobied Salih, Sudan's Permanent Representative to the OPCW (Photo OPCW)
March 16, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) Thursday has condemned Sudan’s election as a Vice Chairman of the Executive Council of the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

During a four-day meeting held in The Hague earlier this month, the OPCW’s Executive Council held, Sudan has been unanimously elected to the post of deputy chairman by the African group at the international organisation.

The African group at the OPCW’s executive body includes Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Libya, Morocco, Senegal, South Africa, and Sudan.

In a statement extended to Sudan Tribune, SPLM-N Secretary General Yasir Arman described the move as a " regrettable news" stressing that it comes "despite allegations by Amnesty International on the usage of chemical weapons by the Sudan government in Darfur and clear indication that it has been used in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile as well".

"This is unbelievable and we hope it is not true. If it is true, it is deeply regrettable and it demonstrates the double standard of some international organisations and the lack of ethics and sensitivity towards the victims of genocide, war crimes and the allegations of the usage of chemical weapons by the Sudan government".

In a report released in September 2016, Amnesty International accused the Sudanese government of carrying out 30 chemical weapons attacks in Jebel Marra area in Darfur, from January to August 2016.

The human rights group said that up to 250 people may have died as a result of exposure to the chemical weapons agents.

However, Sudanese government strongly denied the claims and refused to allow any investigation in this respect. Also, calls by France for the OPCW to probe the claims had been ignored.

In a statement released on 7 March, Amnesty renewed its call on the OPCW’s Executive Council to investigate the use of chemical weapons.

Member states of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) must demand a proper investigation into alleged chemical attacks by Sudanese government forces in the Jebel Marra region of Darfur, said Amnesty International today, as begins its four-day meeting in The Hague.

"Amnesty International is calling on member states to seek clarification from the Sudanese government on the alleged chemical attacks in Jebel Marra. In the absence of this clarification, member states should request an on-site challenge inspection in accordance with Article IX of the Chemical Weapons Convention," said the human rights group.

The lack of physical samples that can be used to prove the use of chemical weapons weakened the report, as international officials say they cannot demand to investigate allegations based on Satellite photos and telephone interviews.

However, Arman said such attitude encourages Khartoum to "continue its genocide, war crimes and infringing on the rights of its citizens many times".

The SPLM-N is fighting the Sudanese government troops in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states since June 2011. The African Union is mediating a political process between the warring parties but no peace has been reached.

(ST)

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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