Feb 9, 2007 (GENEVA) — A six-member United Nations human rights team is set to leave for Sudan early Saturday morning to assess the rights situation in the strife-torn Darfur region, the team’s head said on Friday.
“The purpose of the mission is to make assessment and make recommendations that are implementable to facilitate the improving of the situation in Sudan,” Jody Williams, the 1997 Nobel peace prize winner, told reporters at a briefing in Geneva.
The team, set up last December according to a resolution of the UN Human Rights Council, will first have a stopover in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, where it will discuss the Darfur situation with officials from the African Union.
It will then arrive in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, on Feb. 13 to meet Sudanese government officials. And after that the team will head to the Darfur region to carry out the fact-finding work.
Williams said the team was expected to return to Geneva on Feb.25 and a report should be written for the next regular session of the 47-nation Human Rights Council, which is to be held in March.
Rebel and ethnic conflicts in Sudan’s western Darfur region have reportedly killed 200,000 people and forced over 2 million to leave their homes since 2003.
Williams admitted that the situation in Darfur was “acute”. She stressed that the UN. mission’s task was to carry out independent assessment and make implementable recommendations that can help the situation to improve.
She said that she “certainly hope” that her mission could “make an impact” so that the situation in Darfur could improve.
Williams also said that the mission was in the interest of the Sudan and she had no worry about cooperation from the Khartoum government.