Sudanese forces breached human rights laws: UN

March 20th, 2008 - 10:38 pm ICT by admin  

Geneva, March 20 (DPA) The UN condemned Thursday attacks on villages by the Sudanese armed forces and militia in the West Darfur region of Sudan earlier this year as a violation of humanitarian and human rights law. At least 115 people, including women and children, were killed and up to 30,000 people fled, many to neighbouring Chad, when government forces used aircraft and helicopter gunship in a major push to drive out the insurgent group, the Justice and Equality Movement.

A joint report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) said there were three raids on Saraf Jidad in January, while Sirba, Silea and Abu Suruj were attacked Feb 8.

The report said the operation violated international humanitarian law by failing to distinguish between civilian objects and military objectives.

“Moreover, the scale of destruction of civilian property, including objects indispensable for the survival of the civilian population, suggests that the damage was a deliberate and integral part of a military strategy,” the report added.

It said there was widespread looting and catalogued “consistent and credible accounts of rape committed by armed uniformed men during and after the attack in Sirba”. Buildings had been burned down many times with the occupants still inside.

The UN inquiry team was unable to investigate reports of civilian deaths during similar attacks in and around Jebel Moon Feb 18, 19 and 22, as the government denied the UN access there before March 1.

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