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Minority Rights Group Int'l Condemns Sudan's Refusal of UN Troops

The human rights organization Minority Rights Group International is condemning Sudan’s refusal to allow UN peacekeeping troops in Darfur. MRG is calling on the Khartoum government to reverse its decision if it’s serious about wanting peace in the region.

Zoe Gray is the group’s conflict and genocide prevention officer. From London, she spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the situation in Darfur.

“The first thing that we want to highlight is the need for UN troops to go into Sudan. As the violence is escalating in the last month or so, there have been about 25,000 more people displaced. Aid workers have been targeted increasingly. It’s the whole conflict showing really worrying signs of escalating further and further. And it’s absolutely critical that the UN goes in to Sudan.”

Gray says the AU forces in Darfur have insufficient resources to do the job. “It is failing to protect civilians there. Women are being targeted and raped increasingly.” MRG says two of the ethnic groups being targeted are the Fur and Masalait.

Sudan says deployment of UN troops in Darfur would violate its sovereignty and that any country taking part would be considered an enemy. Gray responds, “Coming up (Sept. 17th) there’s going to be a worldwide day for Darfur. Now, the day for Darfur is going to be on the one-year anniversary of the agreed responsibility to protect. So member states of the UN have agreed sovereignty is not an excuse for targeting civilians and for being complicit in the targeting of civilians. What the Sudanese government is suggesting we would totally disagree with and totally condemn.”