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7th ROUND OF THE INTER-SUDANESE PEACE TALKS ON THE CONFLICT IN DARFUR
Darfurian Women Present Letter and Press Statement to
AU Special Envoy and Chief Mediator
The AU Special Envoy and Chief Mediator for the Inter-Sudanese Peace Talks on the Conflict in Darfur, Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, was today presented with a letter and a Press Statement by the women of Darfur, currently in Abuja, Nigeria. Indicating that peace was their main priority, the women informed the Chief Mediator that they were concerned about the deteriorating security situation and the rising tensions in Darfur, and the negative impact that this might have on the Talks.
The Chief Mediator expressed sadness over the unfortunate incidents, which had befallen some of the women supporting the Darfur peace process and the overall situation of insecurity and suffering in Darfur. He told the women that he was concerned about the slow pace at which the negotiations were proceeding, and asked them to impress upon all the Parties the importance of approaching the Talks with seriousness and determination, as people were dying while the Talks dragged on. Underscoring that negotiation means accommodation, Dr. Salim stressed that there was need for the Parties to try and understand each other, to explore the possibilities which lie within the options before them, and to bring the conflict to an end as expeditiously as possible.
Hereunder are the texts of the letter and the Press Statement delivered to Dr. Salim by the Darfurian women:
(1) Letter to AU Special Envoy and Chief Mediator:
IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE COMPASSIONATE, THE MERCIFUL
His Excellency Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim
AU Special Envoy for the Inter-Sudanese
Peace Talks and Chief Mediator
We would like to bring to your kind attention the fact that a house owned by Mrs. Fatimah Taher Kunjum, a member of the Gender Experts Support Team, currently in Abuja to contribute to the on-going Inter-Sudanese Peace Talks on the Conflict in Darfur, was blown up on Thursday 15 December at 11:00 a.m. As a result, a member of her family was injured, and had a part of his body amputated.
We vigorously condemn this incident, which is a violation of all relevant international laws, conventions and resolutions, including UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
In this regard, we would be grateful for any action deemed appropriate which could ensure better protection for women who are providing leadership on women’s issues in general, and in particular, for women participating in the Abuja peace negotiations, as well as for their families.
We are confident that Your Excellency, who has spared no effort to support women’s effective participation in the ongoing peace process, will give this matter the required attention.
Please accept, Excellency, the assurances of our renewed appreciation and highest consideration.
Women of Darfur at the Abuja Peace Talks
23 December 2005
(2) Press Statement:
In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
We, the women of Darfur, coming from diverse backgrounds and in our different capacities as negotiators in the delegations of the Government of the Sudan and of the Movements, as gender experts, lawyers, civil society, endeavoring to push the peace process forward:
• URGE all Parties to the negotiations to stay at the negotiating table and continue dialogue in order to arrive at a peace agreement, and heed the call from the Darfurian population to immediately put an end to the ongoing suffering.
• CONDEMN all forms of gender related violence and other types of security violations, such as :
1. Selective murders taking the lives of innocent civilians in their homes or places of work in the cities of El-Fasher, El-Geneina and Nyala, as well as other cities and villages;
2. The attack on the Abusruj Administrative Unit at Kulbus locality, West Darfur, and other bloody incidents, resulting in a number of innocent civilian casualties;
3. Targeting the home of one of the female experts, currently supporting the peace process in Abuja, whose home was blown up, injuring a family member and amputating his body.
• CALL FOR:
1. Strong commitment by all the parties who signed the two ceasefire agreements of N’djamena 2004, the two Protocols on enhancing the humanitarian situation and strengthening the security situation in Darfur in November 2004, the relevant AU Decisions and UN Security Council Resolutions, to implement these instruments and support the AU monitoring and follow up efforts.
2. Protection of women and their leaders, within the framework of the UN Security Council Resolution1325 on Women, Peace and Security.
• REQUEST the African Union and all the concerned parties to provide the necessary protection for the civilians in the city of El-Geneina and the neighbouring states of the North and West Darfur in the light of the unfolding security tension between the Sudan and Chad.
• CALL the attention of the international community and all the concerned parties, to the security situation, which is increasingly deteriorating day-by-day, in the cities, villages and IDPs camps of Darfur, as substantiated by the recent incidents referred to above.
Abuja, 23 December 2005
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