Darfur: International community fails to protect

Amnesty International has criticised the international community for its failure to improve the security of people in Darfur since the deployment of peacekeeping troops by the UN more than one year ago.

In a brief report called Empty Promises on Darfur: International community fails to deliver, Amnesty International illustrates the continuing crisis facing the people of Darfur and calls for the joint United Nations-African Union peacekeeping force (UNAMID) to be provided with troops and essential resources, like helicopters, that will enable it to fulfil its mandate.   “Promises made to the people of Darfur that they would be protected through the deployment of a peacekeeping force ring hollow; UNAMID remains chronically under-resourced and attacks against civilians, including killings, continue,” said Tawanda Hondora, Amnesty International’s Africa Deputy Programme Director.

“Women are still exposed to rape and other acts of sexual violence.   A climate of insecurity prevails and perpetrators act with impunity.”

“The recent fighting in Muhajeriya is the latest in a series of clashes between government of Sudan forces and armed opposition groups, which led to the displacement of thousands of civilians and left scores dead.”

Amnesty International calls on the UN Security Council to ensure UNAMID is provided with the essential resources that were pledged when UNAMID took over from the African Union Mission to Sudan (AMIS) at the end of 2007.   

“Words alone are not enough. It is of no use to deplore violence in Darfur and deploy a force that is under-equipped,” said Tawanda Hondora. “UNAMID must be enabled to protect itself as well as the people of Darfur. It is simply unacceptable that more than a year after the deployment of UNAMID, civilians still live in peril.”

Amnesty International calls on countries that pledged troops and other essential personnel to UNAMID to ensure that they are adequately trained and promptly deployed to Darfur.  It also called on the wider international community, and particularly the country members of the Friends of UNAMID group, China, South Africa and Egypt to use their influence and ensure that UNAMID is immediately provided with the military equipment it urgently requires.  The USA, China, Russia, Japan, Australia, Egypt, South Africa and European Union countries, among others, must pledge and deliver helicopters and other essential military equipment to UNAMID.