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Sudan: Amnesty Considers UN Resolution on Darfur

Sudan: Security Council resolution on Darfur welcome, but human rights recommendations sidelined

The newly adopted Security Council resolution shows at last world attention to the plight of civilians in Darfur. It ensures a continuing monitoring of the crisis, but has failed to adopt measures that are urgent and essential to address the appalling human rights situation.

In a letter sent on 27 July, Amnesty International urged the Security Council to include key human rights measures in the resolution. Today, Amnesty International urges the Security Council and all UN member states to take more effective action to end the massive human rights violations in Darfur, including to:

- Increase the number of UN human rights observers and strengthen resources for the African Union ceasefire monitoring and protection force specifically to monitor and report publicly and regularly on all abuses against civilians.

- Suspend arms transfers likely to be used to commit human rights violations not only to non-governmental groups in Darfur, but also to the Sudanese government. The Sudanese government has itself been responsible for the killing of civilians. Amnesty International is concerned that militia members may be incorporated into regular government forces and therefore not be covered by the arms embargo.

- Create an international Commission of Inquiry which could investigate impartially and independently the extent of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in the region and allegations of genocide. Since April 2003, Amnesty International has been calling for such a Commission, which could also recommend ways to bring to justice individuals suspected to be responsible for violations of international human rights and humanitarian law. The Commission of Inquiry could also suggest mechanisms for the sustainable return, in conditions of safety and dignity, of the displaced to their villages.

- Demand the unconditionnal release of prisoners of conscience detained in connection with the conflict in Darfur, including human rights defenders, lawyers and community leaders; and the release of others prisoners detained in connection with the conflict unless they are brought prompty to trial according to international standards for fair trials. Some 200 are still detained, despite a commitment by the Sudanese government under the April 2004 ceasefire on Darfur to release all prisoners "detained in connection with the conflict". Amnesty International fears that those detained, particularly in detention centres or military camps in Darfur, remain at risk of torture and death because of appalling conditions of detention. The number of those detained may be much higher; nobody is in charge of monitoring and visiting prisons.

- Demand an end to impunity but without recourse to unfair judicial processes such as Special courts in Darfur. Darfur Special courts are not a solution, they are part of a repressive government policy which denies the Darfurians their basic human rights. Such courts deny the right of defence to the accused, have used confessions extracted under torture as evidence and hand down cruel, inhumane and degrading punishments such as amputations and the death penalty.

More information on the crisis in Sudan http://amnesty-news.c.topica.com/maacvv2aa8QQnbb0hPub/

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