Panafrican News Agency

Rights group warns against downsizing UN mission in Darfur

Khartoum, Sudan (PANA) - International human rights group, Amnesty International, has warned against downsizing the United Nations mission in Darfur, Sudan, saying that is not an option amid ongoing attacks in the region.

"The UN Security Council must not and cannot abandon the people of Darfur by downsizing UNAMID, their only source of security and safety,” said Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“For hundreds of thousands of displaced Darfuris, the ongoing looting and burning of their homes makes the prospect of returning to their villages unthinkable.”

In a statement on its website, Amnesty International released satellite images which it said, show that at least 18 villages in the eastern parts of the Jebel Marra area of Darfur were burnt by government and allied militia forces over the past three months. It said these images corroborate witness accounts, it earlier collected from at least 13 affected villages.

It said between March and May 2018, government forces and pro-government militias, especially the Rapid Support Force, attacked and burned villages in south-east Jebel Marra during military operations against the Sudan Liberation Army Al-Waahid (SLA/AW).

Between 12,000 and 20,000 people were displaced as a result of these attacks and are currently living in caves in the Jebel Marra Mountains in extreme hardship and with no access to humanitarian assistance, Amnesty International said.

“The Sudanese government has clearly failed to protect its own citizens, and this must not be allowed to continue. On its part, the UN Security Council must continue the mandate of UNAMID to protect and safeguard the lives and human rights of the people of Darfur,” said Nyanyuki.

More than 1.5 million displaced people in the Darfur region of Sudan are unable to return home, 15 years after the start of the conflict.
-0- PANA MA 29June2018