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UN Human Rights Council Calls Special Session to Probe Violations in Darfur

The United Nations Human Rights Council will hold a special session next week to discuss violations in Sudan's war-torn Darfur region.

A U.N. announcement Tuesday said the meeting will be held December 12. It said more than 30 of the Council's 47 members support the call for a special session.

The Council has met three times since it was formed earlier this year. It replaced the discredited Human Rights Commission, which had been widely criticized for allowing notorious human rights violators to become members.

Rebels in Darfur say pro-government Arab militias attacked the area's main town, El-Fasher, on Monday.

A former rebel leader who is now a presidential adviser, Minni Minnawi, said the situation is critical.

He said a peace deal that his rebel faction signed with the government in May could be in jeopardy if the attacks are not stopped.

Minnawi's Sudan Liberation Army was the only one of three Darfur rebel groups to sign the peace deal. However, the agreement has done little to stop the fighting.

More than two million people are estimated to have been displaced and at least 200,000 killed since Darfur rebels rose up in 2003, sparking retaliation from the Janjaweed militias.

The militias are accused of carrying out atrocities against villagers.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.