Sudan: New Attacks on Civilians in Darfur; South Sudan Referendum Should Not Distract From New Abuses
Human Rights Watch
28 January 2011
(New York) - Sudanese government and rebel attacks on civilians in Darfur have dramatically increased in recent weeks without signs of abating, Human Rights Watch said today. The government of Sudan, its allied forces, and rebel factions should end abuses against civilians, and concerned governments - still focused on South Sudan's referendum - should press for an end to unlawful attacks and accountability for abuses, Human Rights Watch said.
"While the international community remains focused on South Sudan, the situation in Darfur has sharply deteriorated," said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "We are seeing a return to past patterns of violence, with both government and rebel forces targeting civilians and committing other abuses." (…)
According to the United Nations, the violence in December alone caused 40,000 people to flee their homes. Many are taking refuge near African Union/United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) bases in Khor Abeche, Shearia, and Shangil Tobayi.
Sudan has continued to restrict UN and humanitarian agencies from accessing conflict-affected areas, including Tabit, the site of the January 25 clash. The government also still bars access to much of eastern Jebel Mara where, since early 2010, government forces and militias have clashed with the SLA faction led by Abdel Wahid al-Nur, and attacked civilians from the majority Fur ethnicity. Humanitarian agencies have also been denied access from the Wada'a and Khazan Jedid areas, between North and South Darfur. (…)
(…) The Sudanese government has not carried out its commitments to disarm militias or improve accountability for past and ongoing human rights violations. It has yet to prosecute anyone who participated in a brutal attack on Tabrat, North Darfur in early September that killed more than 37 civilians. The government has also not taken concrete steps to carry out the justice recommendations of High-Level Panel of the African Union on Darfur - the so-called Mbeki panel - which recommended the establishment of hybrid courts and promoted legal reforms to bring justice to this troubled region of Sudan.
"President Bashir and the people of Sudan should be congratulated for holding a peaceful referendum on southern secession, but that smooth process does not exonerate Sudan's leaders for ongoing abuses in Darfur," Bekele said. "Concerned governments should urgently and forcefully press both Khartoum and rebel movements to end their abuses of civilians in Darfur, grant humanitarian access to affected areas, and ensure accountability for war crimes."
See article about Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s statement urging all sides to reach final settlement
For full report, see here
See article about US urging for more aggressive peacekeeping