Violence worsening in Darfur: reports
|Cbc News, 23 Mai 2006|
In the first report released Tuesday, a United Nations body said the Sudanese government is not keeping its pledge to stop attacks on black African civilians, including killings and violent sexual assaults."In Darfur, the government and rebels should immediately respect the governing cease-fire agreement," said the report from the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights, referring to a May 5 deal that was supposed to bring hostilities to an end.
"The government should also disarm the militia and protect the physical security of all Darfurians by putting in place a credible, capable and professional police force and judiciary."
In some cases, the UN report said, the Sudanese government has added to the terror of Darfur refugees – even as it tried to help them – by using military attack craft to fly in emergency relief.
Particularly alarming is that the government reverted to using helicopter gunships on various occasions," it said of the aid flights.
In the past three years, the region in western Sudan has become a drought-plagued killing ground, forcing more than 2.5 million people to leave their homes in a desperate search for safety.
Most of the refugees are being housed in camps elsewhere in Sudan and in neighbouring Chad.
Food is in short supply, the United Nations warned earlier this month as it called for developed nations to donate more to the relief effort.
Amnesty report blasts global priorities
A separate report released Tuesday by Amnesty International said Darfur and similar crises around the world are being ignored as nations such as the United States concentrate on the so-called war against terrorism.
China and Russia were also singled out in the group's 2006 report card as countries that put their own security ahead of human rights issues.
"Governments collectively and individually paralyzed international institutions and squandered public resources in pursuit of narrow security interests, sacrificed principles in the name of the 'war on terror' and turned a blind eye to massive human rights abuses," the secretary-general of Amnesty International, Irene Khan, said in a statement linked to the report.
The report called on the UN to intervene in Darfur to stop Arab janjaweed militiamen from committing atrocities that many say are condoned – if not outright sponsored – by the Sudanese government.
"Intermittent attention and feeble action by the United Nations and the African Union fell pathetically short of what was needed in Darfur," Khan said.
The Amnesty International report also addressed other issues around the world:
It called on the U.S. to shut down its prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where many suspected militants and al-Qaeda sympathizers have been held for years without charges, and reveal where else around the world it is holding similar prisoners.
Describing the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq as having resulted in "a vortex of sectarian violence," it called for a change in strategy to improve the safety and prospects of ordinary Iraqis.
It challenged the UN to insist on respect for human rights in places ranging from Colombia to Uzbekistan to Chechnya.
The report said placing greater value on "human rights and human security" around the world would naturally lead to fewer acts of terrorism.