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Government Aircraft Bomb Darfur Villages: UN

Sudan: Government Aircraft Indiscriminately Bomb Darfur Villages, UN Monitors Report

New York, Sep 22 2006 12:00PM

The Sudanese Government’s military campaign against rebels in the north Darfur region is causing hardship to civilians due mainly to indiscriminate aerial bombardments on villages, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said today, citing UN rights volunteers and monitors in Sudan.

For example, an estimated 400 new internally displaced persons had arrived in the Rwanda camp in North Darfur, fleeing attacks which took place on 9 and 10 September around Tabarat, OHCHR spokesman José Luis Díaz told a news briefing in Geneva, noting that the Government was targeting rebels who did not join a peace agreement earlier this year.

People regularly attributed these aerial bombardments to the now-infamous white planes that dropped bombs on villages in what was reported to be an indiscriminate manner, causing civilians to flee as well as killing and injuring others, he said.

The monitors also reported ongoing sexual and gender-based violence in south Darfur. In Gereida, women were exposed to attacks by armed militias as they conducted income-generating activities.

This was so typical that it sounded almost like a cliché, Mr. Diaz said: women who were forced to go out of camps for internally-displaced persons to collect firewood or to engage in commerce, and then became vulnerable to attacks because they lacked the necessary protection.

The monitors cited a case where a soldier was convicted of raping an 11-year-old girl and sentenced to five years imprisonment, showing that there could be action against this kind of abuse when there was a will, he added. In addition to the lack of will, the judicial infrastructure in Darfur was also lacking.

Hundreds of thousands of people have lost their lives and some 2 million more have been driven from their homes in three years of fighting in Darfur between the Government, allied militias and rebel forces.


Ends

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