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Sudan: UN expert urges protection of unarmed civilians after new escalation of violence in Darfur

GENEVA (5 February 2016) – The United Nations Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Aristide Nononsi, today called for an immediate end to hostilities that have triggered new protection and humanitarian concerns in Darfur. He warned that, in the last two weeks, tens of thousands of civilians have been forced to flee their homes in the Jebel Marra area of Darfur after a new escalation of violence. 

“Violence is certainly not the way to resolve the current difficulties Sudan is facing, and must stop, now,” Mr. Nononsi stressed urging all parties to the conflict to respect international human rights and international humanitarian law and to ensure humanitarian access to people in need at all times, and protect unarmed civilians.

“The Government of Sudan has a duty to facilitate free, full and unhindered access to all conflict-affected areas to UNAMID (UN-African Union Mission in Darfur), UN agencies and other humanitarian organizations,” he noted.

The ongoing hostilities between Government forces and the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid have reportedly resulted in human rights violations and abuses as well as violations of international humanitarian law, including destruction of civilian property and objects as well as considerable displacement of civilians, in addition to unspecified number of civilian casualties.

According to UNAMID, up to 21,338 civilians, mainly women and children, have fled into North Darfur State and have sought refuge around their camp by 1st February. About 15,000 others have fled into Central Darfur State, according to the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan.

The number of internally displaced persons following the attacks on Mouli and surrounding villages in west Darfur is estimated at 5,000 civilians, according to the Humanitarian Aid Commission of the Sudanese Government. These civilians have mostly fled to El Geneina, while the number of civilians who sought refuge in Chad remains unknown. 

“I call on the Government of Sudan to create the conditions for an inclusive dialogue and ensure the participation of all armed opposition groups to advance peace and reconciliation in the country,” the UN Independent Expert stated.

Mr. Aristide Nononsi (Benin) was designated as the new Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Sudan by the UN Human Rights Council in 2014. His mandate has been extended for an additional year in September 2015. Mr. Nononsi has a doctorate in law and is a specialist in international law, human rights and development, with extensive experience in international and African organizations. Mr. Nononsi was executive director of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), and worked for the Centre for Development Area Studies at Mc Gill University, the African Development Bank and the International Labour Organization.

Check all the reports on Sudan by the previous UN Independent Experts: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?m=172

The Independent Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Sudan: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/SDIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please conteact Mr. Dieudonne Munyinga (+41 22 928 9231 / dmunyinga@ohchr.org) or write to iesudan@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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