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Reports Of Ethnic Cleansing In Sudan

UN Rapporteurs Gravely Concerned By Reports Of Ethnic Cleansing In Sudan

Eight United Nations human rights fact-finding experts have issued a statement saying they are “gravely concerned” by the reports of ethnic cleansing and widespread human rights abuses occurring in the Darfur region of western Sudan.The experts, mostly rapporteurs who have been charged by the UN with monitoring issues such as torture, extrajudicial executions and the right to food, said in a statement released Friday that they have informed the Sudanese Government about their concerns.

In just over a year, more than 110,000 Sudanese have fled across the border into neighbouring Chad and another 750,000 have become internally displaced within Sudan as a result of conflict in Darfur between the national Government, allied militias and rebel groups.

In their statement, the experts said they were alarmed after the UN coordinator in Sudan, Mukesh Kapila, told the media that an ethnic cleansing campaign was taking place that was comparable in character, if not scale, to the Rwanda genocide of 1994.

The experts pointed to reports that militias such as the Janjaweed, the Muraheleen and the Popular Defence Forces, encouraged by the Sudanese Government, are trying to forcibly remove the non-Arab segment of the local population. These reports say the victims are mainly from the Fur ethnic communities of the Masalit, Dajo, Tunjur, Tama and Zaghawas.

According to recent reports, scores of civilians have been killed, children abducted, women and girls raped, dozens of villages burnt and looted and livestock destroyed by the militias, while fleeing refugees and internally displaced people have been attacked.

The experts called on all parties in the Darfur conflict to treat civilians according to international humanitarian and human rights law, and stressed the importance of identifying the perpetrators of human rights abuses.

The experts are: the Special Rapporteur on torture, Theo van Boven; the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, Yakin Ertürk; the Special Rapporteur on racism, Doudou Diène; the Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Paul Hunt; the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Asma Jahangir; the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Juan Miguel Petit; the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler; and the Secretary-General’s representative on internally displaced persons, Francis Deng.

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