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UN HUMAN RIGHTS EXPERTS CALL FOR URGENT ACTION ON DARFUR

03-17-2005, 11:48 AM
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Registered: 11-26-2004
Total Posts: 2514

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UN HUMAN RIGHTS EXPERTS CALL FOR URGENT ACTION ON DARFUR

    16 March 2005

    UNITED NATIONS HUMAN RIGHTS EXPERTS CALL FOR URGENT AND EFFECTIVE ACTION ON
    DARFUR, SUDAN


    The following joint statement was issued today in Geneva by 15 human
    rights experts: Emmanuel Akwei Addo, Independent Expert on the situation of
    human rights in the Sudan; Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on
    extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; Doudou Diène, Special
    Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination,
    xenophobia and related intolerance; John Dugard, Special Rapporteur on the
    situation of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; Yakin
    Ertürk, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and
    consequences; Robert K. Goldman, Independent Expert on the protection of
    human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism; Paul
    Hunt, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the
    highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; Walter Kälin,
    Representative of the Secretary-General on the human rights of internally
    displaced persons; Miloon Kothari, Special Rapporteur on adequate housing;
    Ambeyi Ligabo, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the
    right to freedom of opinion and expression;Vernor Muñoz Villalobos, Special
    Rapporteur on the right to education; Diane F. Orentlicher, Independent
    Expert to update the Set of Principles for the promotion and protection of
    human rights through action to combat impunity; Rodolfo Stavenhagen,
    Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental
    freedoms of indigenous people; Stephen Toope, Chairperson, Working Group on
    enforced or involuntary disappearances, and Jean Ziegler, Special
    Rapporteur on the right to food.


    "We are gravely concerned about the ongoing violations of human
    rights and humanitarian law in the Darfur region of Sudan, many of which
    constitute serious crimes under international law, and we call upon the
    international community to take effective measures to end the violations on
    a basis of utmost urgency. The conflict in Darfur, which Secretary-General
    Kofi Annan has called "little short of hell on earth," has already taken an
    untold number of civilian lives and is estimated to have caused the forced
    internal displacement of 1.8 million persons, as well as forcing more than
    200,000 persons to flee across the border to neighboring Chad. Despite
    efforts by the international community to commit troops and assistance to
    the region, the violence continues virtually unabated in a context of
    wholesale impunity, and the threat of famine is looming.

    "The violations in Darfur have been staggering in scale and harrowing
    in nature. Extra-judicial executions, rape and other forms of sexual
    violence, torture, enforced disappearances, scorching of villages and
    forced displacement of civilians have taken place in a widespread and
    systematic manner and continue on a daily basis. Members of civil society
    who have sought to address the violence in Darfur have suffered arbitrary
    arrests, detention, torture and ill-treatment at the hands of the security
    forces, typically after publishing reports of human rights violations in
    Darfur. If the vow that the international community will 'Never Again'
    stand idly by while crimes against humanity are being perpetrated is to
    have any meaning, now is the time for decisive action.

    "Even with the deployment of African Union troops, in the past nine
    months the number of displaced has continued to rise and attacks on
    civilians have persisted. A robust international solution is urgently
    needed, as the Secretary-General affirmed when he called upon the Security
    Council on 16 February 2005 'to act urgently to stop further death and
    suffering in Darfur, and to do justice for those whom we are already too
    late to save'.

    "Aware that the issue of how best to stop the violence and bring
    justice to the citizens of Darfur is now being considered by the Security
    Council, we strongly endorse the conclusion of the International Commission
    of Inquiry, appointed pursuant to Security Council resolution 1564, that
    the crimes committed in Darfur are of utmost gravity and require urgent and
    effective action to end impunity. We also endorse the statements of
    support for this conclusion of 16 February 2005 by the Secretary-General
    and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. We urge the
    Security Council to act immediately to adopt concrete measures to end the
    violence; provide protection to civilians, assistance to those displaced
    internally or in refugee camps in Chad; and to ensure accountability for
    the serious violations of human rights and humanitarian law committed in
    Darfur.

    "We strongly endorse the conclusion of the International Commission
    of Inquiry that the International Criminal Court "is the single best
    mechanism to allow justice to be made for the crimes committed in Darfur"
    and that "prosecution by the ICC of persons allegedly responsible for the
    most serious crimes in Darfur would contribute to the restoration of peace
    in the region." In view of the Court's potential to deter further
    violations, we hope that its jurisdiction can be activated without further
    delay. We recognize that the violations in Darfur entail an obligation not
    only to ensure punishment of perpetrators, but also to provide reparation,
    including compensation, for the harm suffered by victims.

    "Past Security Council resolutions on Darfur have been repeatedly
    violated without penalty. Strong, concrete and effective measures are
    urgently needed to bring to a close what is widely acknowledged to be one
    of the worst humanitarian crises in the world today. It is past time to
    send a clear message that the international community has forged a unified
    commitment to bring an end to serious violations of human rights and
    humanitarian law in Darfur and to the impunity that has enabled them to
    continue".
                  

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