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Sudan (Darfur): AU extension a first step, but must be followed by UN peacekeepers

Reacting to news reports that the African Union Peace and Security Council has agreed to an extension of the AU peacekeeping mission in Sudan, Amnesty International said that the development is a first step toward the protection of civilians in Darfur but must be followed by the deployment of UN peacekeepers.

Irene Khan, Secretary General of Amnesty International said:

“The people of Darfur need UN peacekeepers now. Sudanese government agreement to an extension of AMIS’ mandate is not a major concession. It is the absolute minimum of what is required to protect the people of Darfur and must be replaced, as soon as possible, with a strong UN peacekeeping force.”

According to news reports, the African Union Peace and Security Council has expressed the organization’s intention to renew the mandate of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) until 31 December 2006.

Irene Khan continued:

“The Sudanese government has been playing political games for far too long – games that have cost the lives of Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights, men and Children's rights in Darfur. The international community cannot accept a compromise when it comes to human rights. The rights of civilians in Darfur cannot be bargained away in the interest of political expediency.

“The extension of AMIS’ mandate in no way absolves the international community of maintaining pressure on Sudan to accept UN peacekeepers.”

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