Responding to reports of abuses and instability in Darfur, Sudan, top-level United Nations officials today issued a strong call for those concerned to protect civilians in the area.
In a statement released in Baden, Austria, where Secretary-General Kofi Annan is meeting with the heads of all UN funds, agencies and programmes, they voiced their “deepest concern over the serious human rights violations and humanitarian crisis” and pointed out that the situation in Darfur “is having a devastating impact on the human security of thousands of civilians.”
The UN officials called on those responsible to immediately end rights violations, and implored all parties to allow unimpeded humanitarian access to the affected population.
On the positive side, they welcomed the Sudanese Government's offer to send a UN mission to assess the situation in Darfur, and hailed a peace initiative by the Government of Chad.
All concerned were called on “to cooperate fully in this important undertaking and enter into a humanitarian ceasefire as an immediate first step.”