Darfur Bar Association regrets ‘US change of policy’
The Darfur Bar Association DBA has expressed its deep concern about the change in US policy towards the Darfur crisis, while the situation in the region is “rapidly deteriorating”.
The situation is worse than in the past five years, the DBA said in a statement last week. In particular Jebel Marra and its surroundings have witnessed increased aerial bombardments and grave violations of human rights.
The Bar Association cited US Charge d’Affaires in Khartoum, Stephen Koutsis, who said during his recent visit to Darfur that the security situation in the region forms an obstacle for the displaced who want to return home.
“As a result of the distribution of weapons and the use of militias to strengthen its authority, the government has weakened the rule of law, and divided society in Darfur,” the statement reads.
“The bias of the regime [concerning certain ethnic groups] and its divide-and-rule policies have led to a growing desire for separation among groups of young people,” the Darfur lawyers warn. “This has caused conflicts over issues such as fundamental rights and identity, and threatens the cohesion of a nation that is already fragile.”
The DBA thanked the USA for its efforts in the past to achieve peace and stability in Sudan, “especially through the UN Security Council”, as well as for the generous humanitarian assistance to the Darfuri displaced and refugees.
The Bar Association however, expressed its “deep concern” about the change in the US policy towards the Darfur crisis and “its abandoning of its responsibility regarding human rights”.
“Washington used to publish critical comments on human rights violations in Darfur in the past. Nowadays, the USA seem to have taken the role of observer only [..], which encourages the Khartoum regime to blatantly continue these violations.”
However, the Bar Association described the three-day visit by the US Charge d'Affaires to Sudan’s western region “as an important visit that underscores the administration's interest in the humanitarian crisis in Darfur.
“We hope the US Charge d’Affaires has found sufficient opportunity to listen to the victims of the violations. The violations, practised by official organs and militias on a systematic basis, have become so widespread that ordinary men lost their sense of self-confidence.”
The lawyers further hold “all warring parties in the region, including the regime, its militias and the armed movements” responsible for the suffering of the people in Darfur. They state that the rebel movements “are no longer aware that their actions provide a cover for the regime’s abuse against innocent civilians”.
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