Saturday, November 20, 2004

CARE & Amnesty International on Darfur

CARE International:

”We work in 70 countries worldwide and this situation is extraordinary and appalling – to see repeated sexual assaults on women and girls when they are struggling to gather water and firewood for their families,” said Denis Caillaux, secretary general of CARE International. “We call on all parties to this conflict to comply with their ceasefire agreement and halt these assaults on civilians immediately.”

The violence also has disrupted the vital humanitarian lifeline to hundreds of thousands of people. Food deliveries have been disrupted by banditry and humanitarian assets have been wantonly destroyed.

"At least a quarter of a million people have not received their food rations for almost two months," said Geoffrey Chege, regional director for CARE International. And lack of food is not the only problem. “Most of the clean water and public health infrastructure we've built has been reduced to rubble in the recent raid on the El Geer camp for internally displaced people. This will have a terrible and immediate impact on thousands of vulnerable and malnourished people, especially young children.”

CARE International welcomes the African Union’s decision to deploy additional observers and to give them a stronger mandate to protect civilians and safeguard the delivery of humanitarian supplies. International donors have been generous but there are not enough AU troops in place and they are grossly under-equipped. AU monitors need such basics as radio communications and vehicles to patrol the most dangerous areas.

Amnesty International (BBC report):

The human rights group calls on the United Nations Security Council to impose a strict arms embargo on Sudan to try to end the conflict in Darfur. [ .... ]

The BBC has broadcast evidence of mass killings in Darfur, where more than 1.5 million people have been displaced.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has also called for an arms embargo.

[ .... ] Belarus, Russia, China, Poland, France, Iran and Saudi Arabia have supplied Sudan with arms, Amnesty says.

The organisation says these countries should suspend deliveries of arms, if they thought it was likely they would be used "for grave human rights violations".

A group of six aid agencies have also called for action, saying that previous UN resolutions "mounted to little more than empty threats, with minimal impact on the levels of violence".

--Jeff Weintraub

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http://www.passionofthepresent.com/
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AlertNet (Reuters)
November 16, 2004

CARE International condemns upsurge in violence against Darfur civilians
16 Nov 2004 11:45:00 GMT
Source: NGO latest
Lynn Heinisch

CARE International - UK

Website: http://www.care.org

Nairobi and Brussels -- CARE International strongly condemns the escalation of violence by government forces and rebel groups against civilians in the South Darfur region of Sudan. The humanitarian agency urgently calls on the Sudanese government and all rebel groups to abide by the terms of the ceasefire and stop all attacks on civilians. CARE International also calls upon the United Nations Security Council and all governments to ensure all parties are held accountable for their commitments, and to support African Union leaders in immediately deploying the expanded AU monitoring force to protect civilians and safeguard the transport and distribution of life-saving humanitarian supplies.

In South Darfur, lawlessness is rising throughout the region, and rebel groups, militias, bandits, and government forces are contributing to extreme brutality against innocent civilians, especially women and children. The violence includes forced relocations of internally displaced people from camps, separation of children from their parents, and extreme levels of sexual violence.

”We work in 70 countries worldwide and this situation is extraordinary and appalling – to see repeated sexual assaults on women and girls when they are struggling to gather water and firewood for their families,” said Denis Caillaux, secretary general of CARE International. “We call on all parties to this conflict to comply with their ceasefire agreement and halt these assaults on civilians immediately.”

The violence also has disrupted the vital humanitarian lifeline to hundreds of thousands of people. Food deliveries have been disrupted by banditry and humanitarian assets have been wantonly destroyed.

"At least a quarter of a million people have not received their food rations for almost two months," said Geoffrey Chege, regional director for CARE International. And lack of food is not the only problem. “Most of the clean water and public health infrastructure we've built has been reduced to rubble in the recent raid on the El Geer camp for internally displaced people. This will have a terrible and immediate impact on thousands of vulnerable and malnourished people, especially young children.”

CARE International welcomes the African Union’s decision to deploy additional observers and to give them a stronger mandate to protect civilians and safeguard the delivery of humanitarian supplies. International donors have been generous but there are not enough AU troops in place and they are grossly under-equipped. AU monitors need such basics as radio communications and vehicles to patrol the most dangerous areas. “The African Union must now respond when innocent people are being attacked. A stronger AU presence in greater Darfur can make a real difference – it has the potential to deter ceasefire violations and extreme acts of violence perpetrated by all parties and help restore the broken chain of humanitarian access,” said Chege.

”CARE International repeats our call for the Government of Sudan to better protect its citizens, and for the African Union members and donor governments to come together and mobilize the necessary AU troops, equipment, and technical assistance. This is the most direct path to improve the situation for ordinary people who are in danger, and to prevent the deadly lawlessness from reaching a turning point that will require far greater action to bring the armed groups under control,” said Kathleen Hunt, CARE International representative to the United Nations. ”We urge Security Council members gathered in Nairobi this week to seriously deal with the escalating violence and deteriorating humanitarian conditions for nearly two million Sudanese,” said Hunt. “The overall peace process cannot ignore the grim reality of Darfur.”

CARE has been distributing food for 400,000 people in South and West Darfur; delivering plastic sheeting for shelter, blankets, water containers, soap and kitchen sets for aid agencies to distribute to 400,000 people throughout Darfur; providing water, latrines and environmental health services for 150,000 people in South Darfur; and running a therapeutic feeding center in Nyala, South Darfur. In Chad, CARE is managing four refugee camps, including distribution of food and non-food items, providing assistance to roughly 80,000 refugees. CARE has been working in Sudan since 1979, and is continuing its development work throughout the country.

[ Any views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not of Reuters. ]

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/africa/4014165.stm
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BBC News
November 16, 2004

Amnesty calls for Sudan arms ban
Uncontrolled arms exports are fuelling abuses in Sudan's Darfur region, warns Amnesty International.

The human rights group calls on the United Nations Security Council to impose a strict arms embargo on Sudan to try to end the conflict in Darfur.

The UNSC, which meets this week in Nairobi, has threatened sanctions if security in the region did not improve.

The BBC has broadcast evidence of mass killings in Darfur, where more than 1.5 million people have been displaced.

New York-based Human Rights Watch has also called for an arms embargo.

'Suspend deliveries'

"Amnesty specifically requests the UN Security Council to impose a mandatory arms embargo on Sudan to stop supplies of those arms reaching all the parties to the conflict in Darfur," Amnesty says.

The London-based group says the embargo should only be lifted when measures "are in place to protect civilians from grave human rights abuses".

Belarus, Russia, China, Poland, France, Iran and Saudi Arabia have supplied Sudan with arms, Amnesty says.

The organisation says these countries should suspend deliveries of arms, if they thought it was likely they would be used "for grave human rights violations".

A group of six aid agencies have also called for action, saying that previous UN resolutions "mounted to little more than empty threats, with minimal impact on the levels of violence".

HRW on Monday accused the rebels in Darfur of violating the agreed ceasefire, saying they had "abducted civilians, attacked police stations and other government institutions and raided and looted substantial numbers of livestock and commercial goods".

Attack

On Sunday, the BBC's Panorama programme revealed new evidence of mass ethnic killings and rape in Darfur, adding to fears of genocide in the region.

In one town that the BBC team visited, at least 80 children had been killed, as well as many adults.

Janjaweed militias and government troops attacked Kidinyir throughout the past year, killing huge numbers, reported the BBC's Hilary Andersson.

It is now estimated that more than 70,000 people have died in Darfur and massacres are still going on.

Survivors told the BBC one by one about which family members they had lost.

At least 80 children had been killed.

There were four mass grave sites on the town's fringes.

Sudan's government insists that the killings are the result of tribal chaos in the region. However, African Union observers in Darfur say the government has been arming and directing the Janjaweed militia.

America has called the killings in Darfur genocide because of their ethnic nature.

Britain and many other nations are waiting for the outcome of a lengthy UN investigation into the subject.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/africa/4014165.stm

Published: 2004/11/16 10:16:21 GMT

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