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UN: Widespread Abuse Continues in Sudan

The U.N. Human Rights Office is calling on the government of Sudan to prosecute people who have committed gross violations of human rights. A new U.N. report finds widespread abuse continues throughout the country.

The U.N. Human Rights Office says the government of Sudan has missed an opportunity for human rights reform. In a newly released report, it says the government had promised to improve the human rights situation a year ago when it signed a peace deal with southern rebels, ending 21 years of civil war. But, it says, its efforts have fallen far short of the mark.

U.N. Human Rights Spokesman Jose Dias says widespread human rights abuses continue in the conflict-ridden province of Darfur and in other parts of the country, including areas covered by the peace agreement.

"In Darfur, you still have quite a lot of impunity for human rights abuses, killings of civilians are still going on," he said. "There is still sexual violence committed mostly against women and girls still being reported. And then people are not being brought to justice, at least not commensurate with all the crimes that are being committed. People in detention are being subjected to ill-treatment and torture."

War broke out in 2003 between the Sudanese-backed militia known as the Janjaweed and two rebel groups. The United Nations estimates tens of thousands of civilians have been killed, more than two million people have been displaced and some 200,000 refugees have fled to neighboring Chad.

The report blames most of the human rights abuses in Darfur on the Janjaweed. But it says the rebels also commit violence against civilians.

The report documents allegations of torture in the capital, Khartoum, committed by police or intelligence officials. It expresses concern over the absence of guarantees of a fair trial and also about the inhuman conditions that prisoners must endure.

The U.N. report urges the government of Sudan to revoke immunity laws for state agents, regardless of their position. It also says the government must stop attacks on civilians in Darfur, disarm militias and install a well-trained law enforcement system.

Dias says the Sudanese government has not yet responded to the report.