Back on track? The Human Rights Council decided to send an assessment mission to Darfur

Press release
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The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and SOAT welcome that the Human Rights Council (the Council) held a Special Session on Darfur and took the decision to dispatch a high-level mission to assess the human rights situation in Darfur. "The decision of the Council", said Sidiki Kaba, President of the FIDH, "comes at an important time when the Council was becoming heavily discredited. It marked an unprecedented opportunity since March 2005, for the new Council to react on specific situations and to the calls of the victims ».

FIDH and SOAT, which jointly made an oral intervention on the human rights situation in Darfur, were very concerned about the content of the decision, as Algeria in the name of the “African Group”, was denying before the Council the seriousness of the human rights and humanitarian violations in Western-Sudan and pledged for the establishment of an assessment mission composed of Ambassadors. FIDH and SOAT fully regret that this stance was partly reflected in the decision of the Council as there is no condemnation of the human rights violations nor mention of the need to fight against impunity of their authors.

Nevertheless, FIDH and SOAT welcome the decision to urgently put in place an independent assessment mission on the human rights situation in Darfur. Osman Hummaida, Director of the Sudan Organisation against Torture (SOAT), said : “For the High Level Mission to succeed in protecting human rights and preventing further violations, we hope it will consider the following elements:

- The Government of Sudan and the former opposition signatory parties to the DPA, and non-signatories to the DPA must halt immediately all attacks against civilians in Darfur and end the grave violations of human right in particular the forced de-population of entire areas in the region; to disarm Janjaweed militia; and provide the necessary support to all international agencies and humanitarian organisations in order to ensure immediate and unhindered access to the affected people in Darfur in order to facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance.

- The African Union and the United Nations should urgently ensure the intervention of hybrid AU/UN troops, engage the signatory and non-signatory parties in a dialogue around the DPA, in particular reaching out to those key stakeholders in the region who have not been part of the negotiations leading to the signature of the DPA. Finally the AU, the UN as well as all parties to the conflict in Darfur should fully and unconditionally cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) and especially with the Office of the Prosecutor in its ongoing investigation on the situation in Darfur.

FIDH and SOAT, along with its local and international partners, will closely monitor the mission to take place and follow up on its findings and outcomes.

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