Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sudan forces still attacking Darfur civilians -UN

By Stephanie Nebehay

GENEVA - The U.N. human rights investigator for Sudan said on Tuesday that Khartoum's forces continue to carry out land and air attacks on civilians in Darfur, and arrest and torture activists and aid workers there.

Sima Samar, U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in the Sudan, also voiced concern at "large scale killings" in the south, where several hundred civilians died in inter-tribal clashes in March and April amid growing violence in the region.

But diplomats said Sudan was trying at the United Nations Human Rights Council this week to win backing from African and Islamic states to block Western attempts to extend her mandate to report on violations in Sudan for a further year.

"I continue to receive reports of arbitrary arrests, detention, as well as allegations of ill-treatment and torture of human rights defenders and humanitarian workers by security forces," the former Afghan deputy prime minister told the 47-member forum.

Her latest report, covering from last August to her visit to Sudan earlier this month, was also issued on Tuesday. "Land and air attacks by government forces on civilians in Darfur took place during the reporting period," it said.

Air attacks in Darfur are banned under U.N. Security Council resolutions and failed ceasefires, but Khartoum has in the past reserved the right to attack the Justice and Equality Movement and other rebels who did not sign a 2006 Darfur peace deal. Read more >>>>>>>

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