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German NGO urges end to militia atrocities in Sudan

4/12/2005 4:18pm

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 11, 2005 (PANA) -- Sign of Hope, a German non-governmental organisation, has called for an end to atrocities committed by militia groups in areas where people are resettling after the peace deal between the Khartoum and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) signed here last January.
The NGO's executive director Reimund Reubelt made the call at a news conference here Monday after concluding a human rights assessment trip and delivery of humanitarian relief supplies to areas in central Upper Nile and Northern Bahr-el-Ghazal of southern Sudan.

The team, comprising human rights experts, lawyers and aid workers documented cases of civilians still being held in captivity by militia forces who are also exacting excessive illegal taxation from the people.

"Even after the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement civilians are subjected to excessive taxation, when they enter and leave a militia held territory. The militia groups have used the civilian population as a source of personal aggrandisement," said Reubelt.

"This taxation continues to place yet another hardship on a people who are struggling to rebuild their lives after suffering war and displacement. The militia still continue to restrict the freedom of movement of civilians," he explained.

Reubelt said a complete cessation of activities of armed groups would contribute to a lasting stabilisation of the security situation of the affected civilian population.

Sign of Hope is a Germany-based interdenominational organisation for human rights and humanitarian assistance, and holds a special consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

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