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UN: Human Rights Violations in Sudan's Darfur Province Worsening


The U.N. Special Investigator for Sudan reports an overall deterioration in the country's human rights conditions. Lisa Schlein reports for VOA the investigator has submitted a report to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Afghan Human Rights Expert, Sima Samar was appointed Special Investigator for Sudan three years ago. Since then she has visited the country six times.

During her last visit in June and July, she says she saw more violations in human rights and more security breeches than before. She says the human rights situation in conflict-ridden Darfur Province was particularly bad.

"In my last visit actually, I have to say that there was, unfortunately, much more aerial bombardment and ground attack on the villages on civilians," she said. "And, also on the access to humanitarian services, unfortunately, compared to last year, it was also attacks on humanitarian workers and convoys or car-jacking was doubled. WFP [World Food Program] already announced that they will cut off the rations by half because of lack of security in the area."

The war in Darfur erupted in February 2003 between the Sudanese-backed Janjaweed Arab militia and African rebel groups.

The United Nations reports at least 200,000 people have died from violence or indirect causes of the war, such as starvation and disease.

An estimated two million civilians are displaced and living in camps. Another 200,000 have sought refuge in neighboring Chad.

On her recent trip to Darfur, Samar says she received reports of killings, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention. Yet, from the evidence she was able to gather, she says no one has been prosecuted for these crimes.

She says a culture of impunity for serious crimes remains prevalent. She says the government has not taken sufficient measures to prevent human rights violations, nor has it provided any meaningful redress for victims.

"I think the violations are done by all sides of the conflict. But, I feel that the government is in the main responsible," she said. "As a state, they have the responsibility to protect the civilians. It is their job. It is their responsibility to protect and promote the human rights situation in the country. So, whatever the rebel group or insurgency does, the government should not repeat it."

Sima Samar's mandate as Special Investigator for Sudan ends in December. The Sudanese government is pressuring other countries in the U.N. Human Rights Council to abolish the mandate. Sudan's government says it is establishing its own Human Rights Commission that will closely watch the situation in the country.

But Samar says if a country has nothing to hide, then why is it afraid to have a special investigator or other monitors for its human rights situation.

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