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Human Rights Watch Criticizes Western Countries Over Darfur

A leading human rights group is criticizing what it calls the refusal by the United States and other western countries to intervene in Sudan's troubled Darfur region.

In its annual report, Human Rights Watch says western countries are wrong to leave peacekeeping duties in Darfur to the African Union, which the group calls a new institution with no peacekeeping experience.

Last year, the African Union began sending peacekeepers to Darfur, where two years of fighting between rebels and government-backed militias have claimed an estimated 70,000 lives.

On another issue, the HRW report says the abuse of prisoners by U.S. soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq weakened the worldwide system for protecting human rights.

The report also condemns attacks on the rights of sexual minorities around the world.