Civilians in Darfur Suffering Human Rights Abuses Amid Ongoing Clashes between Government, Rebel Groups, Sanctions Committee Chair Tells Security Council

Civilians in Darfur continued to suffer the effects of a lack of progress in the peace process there, the Chair of the Committee that oversees sanctions on those impeding peace in the Sudanese region told the Security Council this afternoon.

On-going clashes between the Government of Sudan and pro-Government militia groups and members of the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid al-Nur in the Jebel Marra area as well as ongoing intercommunal conflicts have had a negative impact on the civilian population, including various human rights violations and abuses, Joanna Wronecka (Poland), Chair of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005), said as she presented a briefing covering the period from 15 June to 3 October on her activities and the situation in Darfur.

According to the interim report of the Committee's Panel of Experts, presented on 17 August, there has been no major breakthrough in the Darfur peace process, she said. The Abdul Wahid rebel group continues to refuse to negotiate with the Government throughout the reporting period.

In addition, she said, the Panel reported that the Government continued to transfer weapons to Darfur without obtaining the required approval of the Committee, citing its responsibility to protect civilians. Several cases of potential violation of the arms embargo by the rebel groups and their supporters are also being investigated, according to the Panel. While the presence of Darfuri armed groups has declined in South Sudan, their presence in Libya continues to grow.

She said that the Panel's report showed that human rights violations, as well as sexual and gender-based violence against returnees, took place across Darfur. The Panel advocated immediate steps by the Government to protect the population and to engender sustainable returns, including through the establishment of local administrative structures along with fully functioning courts and police forces.

In a 21 September update, the Panel reported that a significant number of displaced persons remain in camps across Darfur, including in areas that have enjoyed improvements in security. According to the update, many displaced communities continue to express grave concern over lack of access to economic and social services amidst shrinking possibilities for the provision of support. Threats and harassment remain an almost daily occurrence for some, the Panel said.

In regard to the Committee's activities, she said that during the reporting period it worked on the recommendations that resulted from her trip to Sudan. Communications with the Government of Sudan were effected to build cooperation. The Committee also communicated with the Chairs of the South Sudan and Libya Sanctions committees with a view to monitor the activities of the Darfuri rebel groups in Libya and South Sudan, and to develop a common approach on how to best prevent them from engaging in activities threatening peace and security.

During the reporting period, she said, she also sent a letter to the Panel of Experts requesting that the group submit to the Committee information on the possible listing of individuals and entities it deems meets the criteria of resolution 1591 (2005). She encouraged the Panel's further cooperation with the Panels of Experts on Libya and South Sudan regarding the activities of Darfuri rebel groups in those countries.

Source: United Nation