UNITED NATIONS

Press Release



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HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS SAYS MORE ATTACKS ON CIVILIANS LIKELY IN WEST DARFUR UNLESS MILITIAS DISARMED


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10 November 2006

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour warned today that unless the Sudanese Government curbs and disarms militias in West Darfur there could be more attacks like those around the Jebel Moon area that left over 50 civilians dead and thousands displaced late last month.

The High Commissioner reported that over the past month, West Darfur has witnessed increased movements and consolidation of armed militias, especially in the northern and south-western part of the state. At the same time, there are increased reports of the distribution of weapons to these groups in Geneina and outlying areas.

“I am deeply concerned that if the Government of Sudan does not take control of the militias, disarm them, and put an end to the proliferation of arms, the militias will continue to launch attacks on civilians, as they did on 29 October in an area south and west of Jebel Moon”, Ms. Arbour said.

In a 3 November report on the attacks, the High Commissioner called on Sudan’s Government of National Unity to fulfill its responsibility to protect civilians and implement its commitments to disarm militias. She reiterated that recommendation today.

Ms. Arbour added that it was encouraging that the Governor of West Darfur has initiated an investigation into the 29 October attacks.

“An impartial, transparent, and timely inquiry is needed to send a message that attacks against civilians are unacceptable”, she said. “We will observe the process of investigation closely and hope it will lead to justice”.

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