1. Home
  2. Africa
  3. East Africa
  4. Sudan

Darfur’s people need more protection - Special Rapporteur

[Sudan] Armed men from the Sudan Liberation Movement Army (SLM/A) in Gereida town, south Darfur, Sudan, 24 February 2006. Despite a May peace deal, the UN says violence and displacement have increased in the region.
(Derk Segaar/IRIN)

More action is needed to protect civilians in the western Sudanese region of Darfur, who continue to suffer serious human rights violations in the ongoing conflict, a UN Special Rapporteur said.

[Read this story in Arabic]

In a preliminary report, Sima Samar, Special Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council, said Darfur remained a region where gross violations of human rights have been perpetrated by all parties to the conflict.

"I have recently received allegations of serious violations of human rights in areas under SLA/M [Sudan Liberation Army/Movement] control," she said on 6 August. "In particular, harassment, extortion, torture and sexual violence in Tawila and Shangil Tobayi, north Darfur.

"I also received information about forced disappearances and killings in Gereida, south Darfur. These cases should be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice."

In the Sudanese capital Khartoum, the SLA/M faction allied to Minni Minawi refuted the claims, with legal adviser Abdel Aziz Salim describing Samar's findings as "nonsensical accusations".

Minawi's faction signed a peace deal with the government last year, after which he was appointed special assistant to President Omar Hassan al-Bashir. Aid workers, however, say his forces have continued to attack civilians and peacekeepers.

The Darfur conflict erupted when mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms in early 2003, accusing the Sudanese government of marginalising their region. The government armed militias, known as the Janjawid, who are now blamed for terrorising non-Arab communities in the region.

About 200,000 people have died and more than two million been displaced since the conflict began. The UN Security Council has passed a resolution authorising the deployment of 26,000 peacekeepers and police in Darfur to contain the problem.

Samar also raised concerns over the challenges facing transitional areas administered by the north, where large parts of its population are ethnically and linguistically close to the south.

"Pockets of clearly divided SPLA [Sudan People's Liberation Army] and SAF [Sudan Armed Forces] control areas, namely in Southern Kordofan and north and south of Abyei town," she said.

"The administration of justice faces enormous challenges as two parallel judicial systems are in place," Samar added. "Clashes over land, water points and cattle have resulted in numerous killings and large displacement of the civilian population."

The Special Rapporteur, who conducted her fourth visit to Sudan from 25 July to 2 August, will present her findings to the UN Human Rights Council in September.

Related stories


This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

Share this article
Join the discussion

Hundreds of thousands of readers trust The New Humanitarian each month for quality journalism that contributes to more effective, accountable, and inclusive ways to improve the lives of people affected by crises.

Our award-winning stories inform policymakers and humanitarians, demand accountability and transparency from those meant to help people in need, and provide a platform for conversation and discussion with and among affected and marginalised people.

We’re able to continue doing this thanks to the support of our donors and readers like you who believe in the power of independent journalism. These contributions help keep our journalism free and accessible to all.

Show your support as we build the future of news media by becoming a member of The New Humanitarian. 

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.