Home | News    Wednesday 3 December 2008

Rights groups say government is lying about Darfur

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December 2, 2008 (NEW YORK) – Fifteen rights groups issued a report claiming that the humanitarian and security situation in Darfur is not improving, as the government says, but Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ambassador Ali Al-Sadiq immediately responded that Sudan has not broken its pledge of cease-fire.

A Sudanese woman refugee walks past the site of four mass graves, with the raised earth marked by white sacks, in the Kalma refugee camp in Darfur, Sudan, Friday, Nov. 14, 2008. (AP)

A coalition of nongovernmental organizations, including Human Rights Watch, the Save Darfur Coalition and Human Rights First, said that government-led attacks on civilian populations continued “unabated” in recent months.

“Since January 2008 more than 290,000 civilians have been forced to flee the violence. An increase in violence in North Darfur during September 2008 alone displaced at least 40,000 people,” said the 22-page document.

Essentially, the report alleged that the government of Sudan is lying about the reality in Darfur while conducting a “charm offensive” designed to mitigate international pressure.

In response to the accusations raised today by the rights organizations, Sadiq said the government is committed fully to the declared cease-fire, but that most of the rebel movements did not announce a similar response to this resolution.

He explained that the government’s commitment to the cease-fire does not mean standing idle to security and military operations carried out by some rebel movements.

The rights report is based largely on UN and media reports. It states, “Between July and October 2008, government bombing and fighting in North Darfur led to the displacement of some 90,000 people. In October, government forces and allied militia carried out attacks on at least 13 villages near Muhajariya, South Darfur, in which at least 44 civilians were reportedly killed. Even in November, following the government’s declaration of a ‘unilateral, unconditional ceasefire,’ the Sudanese army continued to bomb villages in North and West Darfur.”

The groups were reacting to a televised statement made by Sudanese President Omer al-Bashir on Oct. 17 in which he claimed that life in Darfur is now "very normal." Bashir is wanted by International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo on ten counts of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

"Once again, the Sudanese government is talking peace with diplomats and journalists while waging war in Darfur" said Save Darfur Coalition President Jerry Fowler. “And once again, civilians are bearing the brunt of the violence."

But Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesperson said that the government has a clear policy for transparent and open dialogue in any human rights subject.

He added that the government does not allow the use of human rights as a pretext to interfere in the affairs of the country, and this is what some organizations seek to do. Further, he denied that some organizations have been harassed in their relief operations.

Finally, Sadiq cited the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government and the United Nations in the area of humanitarian operations, and indicated that through the meetings of the tripartite mechanism, which also includes the African Union, most of the problems facing humanitarian action have been addressed.

Commenting on the debate, Richard Dicker, director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch, said, “the international community has an unfortunate record of judging Sudan by its words rather than its actions. The Security Council must not allow itself to be hoodwinked by Khartoum into handing Bashir impunity in return for empty promises.”

“Following its presidential statement of June 16, Security Council members should reiterate that all parties to the conflict have a binding obligation to cooperate with the court," said Dicker.

Reportedly, Ocampo will report to the Security Council on Wednesday about the progress of his investigations.

(ST)

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  • 3 December 2008 11:17, by Majok junior

    Oh my God,it is of great surprises to see the huge desert in Darfur without any single building,I don’t actually know why Darfurian fought with the SPLA/M for 21 years,while their part have been marginalised too,any way for the seeks that you are African we will help you.Southerners always compromise people because we are full christiant who beliefs in Jesus christ not Mahommid who used to preach how to kill innocent people,shame on him in his or her grave who knows whether she was a female,we always doubt because Arabs are most likely to be gays,they are shit peoples. By Majok Junior.



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