The United States should use its Security Council presidency in February to urgently seek a transition of the African Union force in Darfur to a United Nations mission with a strong mandate to protect civilians, said Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group yesterday in letters to U.S. President George W. Bush and members of the U.N. Security Council ()
he African Union troops have acted with great resolve and courage in Darfur, said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, who signed the letter with Gareth Evans, president of the International Crisis Group. ut the deteriorating situation in Darfur demands a major new international effort to save lives there and the U.S. should use its Security Council presidency to jumpstart this effort. ()
Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group said that a new U.N. mission should have a strong and clear mandate to protect civilians by force if necessary under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter, and to disarm and disband the government-sponsored Janjaweed forces that pose a threat to the civilian population. They also urged that the U.N. force be large and mobile enough to provide security throughout Darfur some 20,000 strong, as recommended by Jan Pronk, the U.N. Secretary-Generals Special Representative for Sudan. ()
Until a transfer can be completed, the organizations called on the U.S. to work with other concerned governments to bolster the existing African Union force in Darfur, through the deployment of additional personnel, equipment, logistical support, funding and other resources from national and multilateral forces (such as NATO and the European Union), including attack helicopters to enhance its capacity to protect civilians.
The letter sent to President Bush is available at: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/01/31/sudan12578.htm
The letter sent to the U.N. Security Council is available at: http://hrw.org/english/docs/2006/01/31/sudan12577.htm