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Stop Abyei Abuses, Hold Forces Accountable

Human Rights Watch
26 May 2011
(…) The Sudanese government urgently needs to halt looting and destruction of civilian property by its forces in the town of Abyei and hold those responsible to account, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should allow United Nations peacekeepers access to the entire Abyei area, Human Rights Watch said.
Just weeks ahead of Southern Sudan's formal separation from the rest of the country, the northern-based Sudanese army on May 21, 2011, effectively took control of the disputed border territory. The action violates the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement and other agreements between the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the southern ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM). (…)
(…) Although the attacks on Abyei have drawn wide condemnation from the UN, African Union, European Union, United States, and other concerned governments, the Sudanese government has continued to allow its forces to carry out serious human rights violations.
The international community should keep up strong and unified pressure on Sudanese leaders to end Sudan's dangerous and illegal campaign and should not normalize relations with Sudan under these conditions, Human Rights Watch said. (…)
(…) The full impact of the violence in Abyei, including civilian casualties and the number and whereabouts of displaced persons, is not known. The United Nations peacekeeping forces, which have a mandate to protect civilians in imminent danger, remained inside their compound during the military attacks. The shelling damaged UN property and wounded two soldiers, and unknown gunmen fired on UN helicopters on May 25. Since the attack, peacekeepers have patrolled within the town of Abyei in anti-personnel carriers for protection from armed militia who continue to roam the area and loot with impunity.
The UN peacekeepers should increase and widen their patrols, Human Rights Watch said. Their civilian human rights staff should investigate and document the full impact of the violence on civilians, including loss of homes and property and other human rights violations and press for accountability. (…)

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