UN expert decries human rights violations by both sides in Darfur

Accra- Ghana (PANA) -- Sudanese Government military forces and Darfur's rebel mov ements have both committed human rights abuses in the war-wracked region, carryi n g out killings, acts of sexual violence, looting, destruction of property, arbit r ary arrests and forced displacement, an independent United Nations envoy has sai d .
Sima Samar, the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council on the situation of human rights in Sudan, issued a statement on Monday after comp l eting a 13-day visit to the country in which she said she was "extremely disturb e d" by the ongoing situation, especially in West Darfur, the scene of a major mil i tary offensive in recent weeks.
"The Government and the movements have failed in their responsibility to provide protection to civilians in areas under their control and are violating internat i onal human rights law and international humanitarian law," Ms.
Samar said, accor d ing to a statement released in Accra on Tuesday by the UN Information Centre.
"I received reports of killings, sexual violence, arbitrary arrest and detention and impunity for such crimes.
" She cited a Government air and ground attack, supported by allied militiamen, on 8-9 February on the West Darfur towns of Sirba, Silea and Abu Suruj in which at least 100 locals were reported killed and an estimated 12,000 forced to flee ove r the nearby border to neighbouring Chad.
"The attacks were marked by indiscriminate killings, destruction of property and looting and plundering," she said, adding that the Sudanese armed forces carrie d out similar attacks on 18-19 and 22 February on villages in the Jebel Moon area of West Darfur.
"Bombs were reportedly dropped on several locations populated by civilians, incl uding one near an internally displaced camp in Aro Sharrow.
" She called on the Government and the movements to comply with all obligations un der international law and to protect civilians in areas they control in Darfur, t he scene of fierce fighting between rebels, Government forces and allied militia since 2003.
More than 200,000 people have been killed there in the past five years and at le ast 2.
2 million others displaced.
At the start of this year a hybrid UN-African Union peacekeeping force known as UNAMID was deployed in a bid to quell the fighting and humanitarian suffering.

11 march 2008 20:27:00




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