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Human rights violations continue to be reported in Darfur, say UN experts

Human rights violations continue to be reported in Darfur, say UN experts

Serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by all sides in the Darfur conflict continue to be reported, a group of seven independent United Nations rights experts said today in an interim report on the situation in the war-wracked Sudanese region.

The report of the Group of Experts on Darfur, presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, said they had received “excellent cooperation” from the Sudanese Government in their consultations and meetings since they issued their last report and recommendations in June.

But the ultimate measure of the Government’s implementation of those recommendations would be a concrete improvement in the human rights situation in Darfur, they said. While they noted that Khartoum had partially implemented some recommendations, there was no indication so far “that a clear impact on the ground has been identified.”

More than 200,000 people have been killed and at least 2.2 million others have been displaced from their homes since rebels began fighting Government forces and allied Janjaweed militia groups in 2003.

In March this year, the Human Rights Council set up the Group of Experts to monitor the situation on the ground amid mounting international concern at armed attacks against civilians and humanitarian workers, the widespread destruction of villages and the lack of accountability for the perpetrators of gender-based violence against women and girls.

The Group of Experts said it was not able yet to deliver a detailed assessment, which would have to wait until a complete report can be delivered to the Council in December.

The experts called on the Government to continue its efforts to implement the recommendations, such as by tackling impunity and by ensuring that all allegations of human rights violations are duly investigated and any perpetrators brought to justice.

They also urged all parties to the Darfur conflict to end violence against civilians, particularly women, children, internally displaced persons (IDPs), people with disabilities and humanitarian workers.

The Group is chaired by Sima Samar, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Sudan, and its Rapporteur is Walter Kälin, the Secretary-General’s Representative on human rights of IDPs. Mr. Kälin presented today’s interim report to the Council.

The other members of the Group are: the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for children and armed conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy; the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston; the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on the situation of human rights defenders, Hina Jilani; the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture, Manfred Nowak; and the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Yakin Ertürk.