Sudan: 'Too many people being killed for no reason' | Amnesty International UK

Sudan: 'Too many people being killed for no reason'

Darfur: Too many people killed for no reason reports that the Sudanese government's air force has indiscriminately bombed villages in Darfur, in an attempt to put down rebel armed groups.

The government is also supporting militia groups who are committing human rights violations on a massive scale ? more than 10,000 refugees have now fled Darfur to neighbouring Chad, and it is estimated that hundreds of thousands of people are now displaced within the Darfur region, because of the insecurity caused by these attacks.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

'The government has basically given the nomadic 'janjawid' militia groups free rein to raid villages suspected of supporting the rebellion in the South. The janjawid have made a good profit from this by abducting people and looting cattle and goods at the same time.

'The evidence of cooperation between government forces and militia groups is clear. The Sudanese government must immediately cease all support and supplies to the janjawid and hold them accountable for human rights violations.'

During a visit to eastern Chad in November 2003 Amnesty International delegates recorded numerous testimonies from Sudanese refugees. They reported attacks on villages and towns by both government-supported janjawid and government soldiers.

Kaltuma Abdallah Issa, a fifteen-year-old girl from a village near Kutum, said:

'I was with my father when the Arabs suddenly arrived in the village, at around 7am. They shot in every direction. I was scared and ran to find a refuge and I was shot in the left leg. My father Abdallah Issa was shot dead in our home, my maternal uncle Bahr Ahmed too. These Arabs were riding horses and camels and were accompanied by the government forces in vehicles.'

The village of Kornoy was repeatedly bombed from June 2003, causing its entire population to flee to Chad. On 20 June 2003 Kornoy was bombed. Amina Ishaq, aged 35, told Amnesty International delegates:

'I lost my daughter in the bombing of the 20 June, it was about 4pm. Her name was Nada Ismail, she was by a well. When the bombing stopped we found her and collected the pieces of her body.'

Civilians seeking refuge internally or across the border in Chad have also been attacked. In Darfur, the humanitarian crisis is growing, as access to displaced people and the victims of the conflict remains very limited for humanitarian organisations because of the insecurity and government restrictions.

Kate Allen continued:

'The Sudanese government must grant immediate and unrestricted access to humanitarian agencies before there is a very serious humanitarian disaster.

'There must also be an immediate end to the targeting of civilians by all parties to the conflict and the Sudanese government must end its own support for the raiding militia groups and hold them to accounbt for human rights violations.

'Human rights monitors should be deployed and a commission of inquiry into human rights violations established to ensure that victims and survivors of human rights violations get justice.'

The Sudanese government has neither condemned the numerous cases of grave human rights abuses committed in Darfur, nor conducted transparent and impartial investigations into them.

Kate Allen concluded:

'By its silence in the face of human rights violations the Sudanese government is condoning or encouraging further abuses.'

Background

The region of Darfur has long suffered from marginalisation and under-development. The Sudanese government suspected that people in Darfur were supporting the rebellion in the south of Sudan and has permitted raiding nomadic groups to attack villages in Darfur with impunity.

The situation intensified in 2001 when the government applied a state of emergency crackdown bringing in sweeping new powers to indefinitely detain anyone suspected of criticising the government.

In February 2003 a new armed group, the Sudan Liberation Movement/Army (known as SLA/M) emerged in Darfur, composed mainly of members of settled, pastoralist communities. SLA/M says it formed in response to the government's general neglect of the region and in particular because of the government's immediate failure to protect villagers from attacks by the raiding janjawid groups. The proliferation of small arms in the region is reported to be contributing to the scale of the killing.

Although the origins of the conflict in Darfur are not in based on ethnicity there is said to be 'escalating racialism' in the conflict as the nomadic groups refer to themselves as 'Arabs' and those they attack as 'Africans' and 'slaves'.

To read the report go to: www.amnesty.org

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