Just back from the troubled Darfur region of Sudan, the United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide warned today that the situation there is worsening and called for action to protect civilians, facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance and bring those responsible before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Mr. Mendez said he had expected that the situation would have stabilized, if only in a status quo that was unacceptable but at least not worsening. nfortunately, I have to say that I found the situation much more dangerous and worrisome than I expected it to be, he said, citing renewed fighting, especially in north and south Darfur, among all factions.
He also pointed to growing lawlessness evidenced by two recent unprecedented attacks on camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs). n one of them, the attackers went in on horseback, and in the other one apparently trucks of the Sudanese army, he said. Up to 35 civilians were killed, while many huts and houses were destroyed.
He called this n escalation of violence against civilians that points to how serious the situation is becoming.
He voiced hope that the Abuja peace talks would yield a framework to meet the urgent need to end the underlying conflict that has caused so much suffering in Darfur. At the same time, he urged inter-communal conversations among ethnic communities that are now itched against one another.
Mr. Mendez called for separating the perpetrators of wrongdoing and crimes against humanity from the communities that they claim to have represented. e need to have authentic representation of all communities to start talking about reconciliation.
Asked if he would brief the Security Council, Mr. Mendez said Secretary-General Kofi Annan had requested that he brief the Council, adding that he was available to do so.