Sudan: Massive Increase in Human Rights Monitors Needed

The organisation is calling for a massive increase in monitors and for them to be deployed in every region of Darfur because the government’s so-called 'safe areas' provide no real security.

Amnesty International’s delegation, which was given free and full access to Darfur, visited Al Jeneina, Nyala and Al Fasher. They saw villages that had been burnt to the ground and interviewed displaced people who gave accounts of bombings, rapes and killings.

Delegates also met senior government ministers and officials in Khartoum and Darfur who gave contrasting accounts of what they understood was happening in Darfur. Irene Khan, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said:

“While we found engagement and admission of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by some members of the government, there was total denial by others. Such denial is insulting to the victims.”

Bill Schulz, Amnesty International’s USA Executive Director, described the recent arrival of 3,000 people to Kalma camp:

“The displacement of people continues; people are still being uprooted from their homes by fighting as well as by deliberate attacks on civilians.”

Samkelo Mokhine, Chair of Amnesty International South Africa said:

“Because of rampant insecurity and the failure to address the violations have taken place those who have suffered say they do not trust the government. They say they don’t feel safe in the camps. Every person we spoke to in the camps was adamant that they do not feel safe enough to return to their villages.

“In this situation the only solution is a massive increase in monitors. An international presence in every district is what is needed now to build the confidence of the people and improve security.”

Amnesty International collected many first-hand accounts of atrocities from displaced people in camps and villages in Darfur. Two Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights described how their village near Nuri in western Darfur was attacked by armed militia and bombed, leaving some 130 people dead. One of the Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights said that so many men had been killed that it was left to the Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights to bury the dead and she and another woman had buried seven men. The Women's rights's rightss rights's rights's rights's rights placed the bodies they could not bury that evening in a shelter, but they said that the Janjawid returned in the night and burnt the shelter and the bodies.

The delegates also visited displaced people from nomadic tribes now living in Musai camp near Nyala, where they heard 'mirror image' accounts of killings and rapes said to have been committed by the Darfurian insurgents. Amnesty International condemns strongly all violations of international humanitarian law committed by armed political groups.

Amnesty International acknowledged the government’s efforts to increase the number of police in Darfur by redeployment from other parts of Sudan. However it was found that they are often not properly equipped and, worryingly, displaced people reported that police did not investigate their complaints, and that some of the Janjawid had been absorbed apparently into the police.

Amnesty International welcomes the proposed increase of African Union (AU) monitors, but is concerned that the mandate and capacity of the AU monitors should be strengthened to enable them to provide real security. The UN human rights observers must also be dramatically increased and properly resourced to carry out their responsibilities.

The Amnesty International delegation found that the “safe areas” designated by the government of Sudan do not provide real safety to those living there. They also have the effect of implying that those living elsewhere can be attacked with impunity, and are effectively a disincentive for restoring security elsewhere.

Amnesty International continued: “The UN must persuade the Sudanese government to abandon the “safe areas” concept and instead put its weight behind the already agreed Plan of Action to enhance safety throughout Darfur by stopping violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, respecting the ceasefire, disarming and disbanding the militia, and ending impunity.

“The authorities told us that they have arrested, prosecuted and punished some Janjawid but the cases we tracked with the judicial authorities in El Jeneina and Nyala confirmed our impression that impunity remains largely unaddressed.”

Amnesty International also welcomes the establishment by the UN Security Council of an independent International Commission of Inquiry to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity and establish whether genocide has taken place. This has been one of Amnesty International’s key recommendations for some months.

Irene Khan concluded:

“Darfur must remain on the agenda of the international community until the people are able to live freely and safely.”

Background

An Amnesty International delegation headed by its Secretary General Irene Khan visited Darfur from 14-21 September to gather information, assess the human rights aspects of the crisis and press the government of Sudan to take action.

  • Find out more about Sudan ...

View latest press releases