Sudan: Darfur atrocities continue, encouraged by the government

The government is also refusing access to humanitarian agencies which are desperate to provide relief for the hundreds of thousands of people who have now been displaced. There is evidence that the conflict is now spilling into Chad where the militia groups have killed hundreds of Sudanese refugees in cross border raids.

Amnesty International said:

'This is not a situation where the central government has lost control. Men, Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights and Children's rights are being killed and villages burnt and looted because the government is allowing militias to pursue what amounts to a strategy of forced displacement through the destruction of the homes and livelihoods of the farming population of the region.'

Information received by Amnesty International indicates that the Sudan government is encouraging the actions of the 'Janjawid' militia groups. Sudanese refugees in Chad have described the Janjawid attacking villages accompanied by soldiers. Often they have described attacks by the Janjawid wearing army uniforms. Some Sudan army soldiers have described following the Janjawid in attacks on villages which, they said, were clearly civilian targets. For the past year no member of the Janjawid has been arrested or brought to justice for a single unlawful killing.

In Western Darfur on 6 March the Janjawid militias with three land-cruisers and some 60 men on horseback attacked al-Kureinik, a large village east of al-Jeneina, which is swollen with refugees. They allegedly killed 15 villagers, all civilians, including a child. Two days later on 8 March three Children's rights were among twelve people reportedly killed in 'Aish Barra, a village west of al-Jeneina, near the Chad border.

During an attack by the Janjawid on at least ten villages in the Tawila district in Northern Darfur, more than 80 people were killed, between 27 and 29 February. A United Nations Humanitarian Task Force who visited the villages after the raids described a situation of fear and devastation. There were reports that school girls had been raped.

In Gokar, not far from al-Jeneina, at least 5,000 fleeing villagers are said to be gathered with no food, shelter or medicine, while al-Jeneina itself is currently occupied by an estimated 100,000 displaced people. The small town of Mornay is swollen with refugees, with insufficient food and medicines and no doctor; diarrhoea and fever is rife and five to 10 people are reported to be dying each day.

Amnesty International continued:

'The government is still severely restricting humanitarian aid in Darfur and appears unwilling to address the human rights crisis in the region. As a result international attempts, including attempts by the United Nations, to resolve the human rights and humanitarian situation in Darfur are being delayed.'

Meanwhile the conflict seems to be spilling over into Chad as the Janjawid make cross border raids. They have reportedly killed more than 100 refugees and Chadians and looted cattle during such raids in the past few months. On 7 March 35 armed men believed to be the Janjawid reportedly attacked border sites and killed one man in Ouendalou, wounded another in Absogo, and stole 100 cattle.

Amnesty International concluded:

'Sudan is in violation of its obligations under Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions that requires protected persons, including civilians, to be treated humanely, and explicitly prohibits violence to life and person, in particular murder. Article 3 applies to armed conflict 'not of an international character' and applies to 'each Party to the conflict.''

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