Sudan Organisation Against Torture
Press Statement: 30 September 2005
Statement on Continual Violence in Darfur:
SOAT deplores the failure of the international community to impress upon all parties to the conflict in the Darfur the urgency of a resolution to the conflict and the immediate need for an end to the violence in the region.
SOAT whilst acknowledging the right of the armed groups, Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to defend themselves, notes that these groups cannot commit gross human rights violations with impunity.
The armed groups similar to the ruling government have throughout the conflict prevaricated and transmitted a variety of mixed messages. Moreover, internal power struggles and fighting within these groups have further added fuel to an already volatile situation.
On 20 September, the SLA issued a statement stating that their soldiers have attacked Shearia town, 70 km (45 miles) northeast of Nyala, capital of South Darfur state, a town which was under the control of the government of Sudan. The attack in which the SLA looted approximately 1,000 camels and reportedly killed 18 civilians led to the mobilisation of ‘Arab’ nomad tribes resulting in escalated violence in the Darfur region. The Arab militias attacked SLA positions in Ateam Mountains killing several civilians.
Over the last month, other attacks by the SLA includes a raid on Korbia village, northern Darfur killing ten people, however it must be noted that the SLA and the JEM claims that it was in fact the government backed militias who attacked Korbia and killed 17 people and furthermore the militias killed 13 in Jabel Marra in the west.
Nevertheless, the African Union on 22 September confirmed attacks on Khazan Jedeed and Umm Dereisa towns by the SLA. . Moreover the AU has also confirmed serious fighting between rebel forces and government backed militias in the areas Shangil Tobaya and Al Mallam.
Regardless, of who or whom initiates these attacks, SOAT appeals to the rebel groups and to the government to bring an immediate end to all military activities and to immediately cease the continual violations of the Ceasefire Agreement. Failure by all parties to abide by their commitment will result in far ranging consequences which are unacceptable not least the complete breakdown in peace negotiations which are currently taking place in Abuja, the Nigerian Capital. Most importantly, the deteriorating security situation will further worsened the large population of displaced persons in Darfur further contributing to the climate of impunity which has produced widespread criminality, banditry and lawlessness.
Three years after full blown hostilities erupted between the government and the rebel groups in Darfur, the situation remains far
· SOAT appeals to the ruling government and to rebel forces to exercise restraint in their response to provocations;
· SOAT urges all parties concerned to refrain from any action that might impede the ongoing peace process;
· Ensure safe passage and to refrain from attacks on aid organisations to enable them to carry out their humanitarian activities;
· To exercise their sole authority throughout their controlled areas including to ensure a lessening in the activities of marauding militias and bandits;
· Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of association throughout Sudan in accordance with national laws and international human rights standards.
SOAT is international human rights organisation established in the UK in 1993. If you have any questions about this or any other SOAT information, please contact us:
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