The International Community has the duty to protect civilians

Press release
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On the occasion of the Global Day for Darfur, on 16 September, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and its member and partner organisations, affirm their solidarity with the populations of Sudan, Chad and Central African Republic who are victims of the current conflict and urge the international community to respect its duty to protect them.

Since 2003, Darfur has been set ablaze by armed conflict between the Sudanese authorities, its Janjaweed militia and rebel movements, leading to the death of nearly 200,000 people. The conflict is characterised by grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, the criminals benefiting from complete impunity. The civilian population is victim of indiscriminate air bombings, of killings, rapes, torture, systematic looting, considered by the UN as war crimes and crimes against humanity. In nearly five years of fighting, almost two million people have been forcibly displaced and some 250,000 Sudanese civilians have had to take refuge in Chad and the Central African Republic. Recent attacks against the personnel of humanitarian organisations and the African Union (AU) forces impede assistance to civilian populations.

The Darfur conflict has had grave consequences on the security situation in the neighboring countries. Rebels from Chad and Central African Republic have taken advantage of the conflict to launch attacks from Western Sudan. The Janjaweed incursion on the Chadian territory and the exacerbation of inter-ethnic rivalry have lead to the internal displacement of close to 170,000 persons, a humanitarian catastrophe.

Following a long period of inertia condemned by our organisations, the international community, through the UN Security Council, finally decided to deploy a hybrid African Union-United Nations force to Darfur, called upon the International Criminal Court (ICC) to fight impunity of perpetrators of the most serious crimes committed in the region. The UN is now supporting the political negotiations for a peace agreement. However, in view of the refusal of the Sudanese authorities to respect their international obligations, the international community must remain vigilant and take strong action for the resolution of the conflict, in accordance with international law.

Our organisations call upon,

The Sudanese authorities and Sudanese rebels
- To establish an effective ceasefire and stop all attacks against civilians, humanitarian organisations and the AMIS forces;
- To abide by the joint AU-UN Road Map for Darfur Political Process, dated 8 June 2007;

The Sudanese authorities
- To facilitate the immediate operationalisation of the UN-AU hybrid force;
to abide by Tripoli and Riad agreements signed by Sudan and Chad, by stopping all support to the Chadian rebels in Sudan and by conducting a disarmament programme;
- To stop all support to the Janjaweed militia, disarming them, and proposing a social reintegration programme;
- To facilitate the movement of humanitarian organisations;
- To facilitate the voluntary return of Sudanese refugees and displaced persons;
- To take all effective measures to combat impunity for the most serious crimes by the national courts, working in a complementary manner to that of the International Criminal Court;
- To implement fully the recommendations of the Group of Experts on Darfur created by the United Nations Human Rights Council;
- To cooperate fully with all the services of the International Criminal Court, in particular by transferring Ahmad Muhammad Haroun and Ali Muhammad Al Abd-Al-Rahan (alias Ali Kushayb) suspected of war crime and crim against humanity for whom international arrest warrants were issued on 27 April 2007;

The International Community
- To support fully the immediate deployment of the a hybrid African Union-United Nations force to Darfur, pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1769;
- To advocate for before the United Nations Security Council and the European Union to deploy urgently an international intervention force to Eastern Chad, with a mandate to protect refugees and displaced persons, as well as civilians living at the Darfur border and to facilitate safe movement of humanitarian organisations;
- To urge the United Nations Security Council to deploy urgently a UN police force to Eastern Chad to support the European Union force.

Internal Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)

Sudan Organisation Against Torture (SOAT) - Sudan

Ligue tchadienne des droits de l’Homme (LTDH) - Chad

Association tchadienne pour la promotion et la défense des droits de l’Homme (APTDH) - Chad

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) - Egypt

Ligue centrafricaine des droits de l’Homme (LCDH) - CAR

Organisation pour la compassion et le développement des familles en détresse (OCODEFAD) - CAR

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