U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan says sanctions against the Sudanese government should still be an option in the wake of human rights abuses in the western Darfur region.

During a press conference in Nigeria on Sunday, Mr. Annan said serious violations of international humanitarian law and gross violations have taken place in Darfur, and cannot be allowed to stand.

He said the U.N. Security Council has considered sanctioning Khartoum in the past, - and although the Council is split on the issue, Mr. Annan said the option should still be on the table.

The U.N. chief also said he was studying a new U.N. report on whether genocide has been committed in Darfur. The report is expected to be released to the Security Council and made public this week.