Sudan govt responsible for mass executions: UN report
Daily Times Monitor
LAHORE: A UN Special Report on Sudan just released says that “it is beyond doubt that the Government of the Sudan is responsible for extrajudicial and summary executions of large numbers of people over the last several months in the Darfur region, as well as in the Shilook Kingdom in Upper Nile State, though on a lesser scale.”
The report is written by the UN Special Rapporteur Asma Jehangir who has concluded a fact finding mission to Sudan in June. It says that “in addition, the current humanitarian disaster unfolding in Darfur, for which the Government is largely responsible, has put millions of civilians at risk, and it is very likely that many will die in the months to come as a result of starvation and disease.”
The mission was originally prompted by a substantial number of allegations of violations of the right to life, in particular in the Darfur region in western Sudan, but also in other parts of the South. The mission visited Khartoum, the three states of Darfur and Upper Nile State and met with a large number of interlocutors. The mission also had meetings in Nairobi and Cairo.
Regrettably, says the Report, “the Government of the Sudan has been slow in granting full and unfettered access to humanitarian assistance and has shown itself to be even more reluctant to allow access to monitor the human rights situation in the region in a more comprehensive manner. The Government of the Sudan has a responsibility to protect the lives of internally displaced persons as well as others affected by the conflict and will be ultimately responsible for their deaths.”
With regard to the future, the Special Rapporteur recommends that “the immediate priority be to ensure effective humanitarian assistance and human rights protection to the vulnerable populations in Darfur as well as in the South, in order to protect the right to life of the people of the Sudan. All attacks against the civilian population must stop. The Government must immediately ensure that all militias are disarmed, that the actions of the Popular Defence Forces (PDF) remain under the firm control of the Government, and that all members of the PDF are properly screened. The Government should ensure, with international assistance if available, that appropriate training is given to the armed forces so that they act in accordance with international human rights law and international humanitarian law. The Government must ensure that immediate and complete access is provided to humanitarian actors as well as international human rights monitors, so that the international community has every opportunity, in cooperation with the Government, to protect the lives of vulnerable populations in Darfur. The two rebel movements in Darfur should also guarantee safe humanitarian access. The international community should continuously be urged to provide generous humanitarian assistance to the affected people of the Sudan. The United Nations must continue to highlight the need to protect the human rights of civilians. An international presence is of the utmost importance to guarantee consistency, impartiality and neutrality. The Special Rapporteur also stresses the importance of addressing the political and economic grievances of the people of Darfur. A comprehensive, just and transparent peace process that takes these grievances into account is needed in this regard.”
The issue of accountability is crucial to the peace process, says the Report, which sees the establishment of the National Commission of Inquiry a positive development. But the Special Rapporteur’s impression is that “the establishment of accountability will be seriously flawed unless the international community closely monitors, and possibly even assists, the process.”