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HRW: 'UN peacekeepers Sudan fail to report on abuses against civilians Darfur'

September 9 - 2015 NEW YORK
A village in Darfur (file photo)
A village in Darfur (file photo)

The African Union and United Nations peacekeepers in Darfur, known as Unamid, have failed to report the magnitude of crimes committed by Sudan's Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Darfur. That concludes Human Rights Watch in its report ‘Men with no Mercy’, picturing ‘horrific’ crimes against the civilian population in Darfur.

Unamid is mandated to report on human rights abuses. HRW, however, found that the mission has failed to release any detailed documentation about the RSF-led counterinsurgency campaigns.

Several reports of the UN Secretary-General to the UN Security Council have referred to attacks by the RSF that caused civilian displacement. But according to HRW, there has been no indication of magnitude of the other serious abuses, such as sexual violence, extrajudicial killings, and burning of villages. The abuses also demonstrate that the current hybrid peacekeeping mission in Darfur has been hamstrung in its performance and in the implementation of its core mandate to protect civilians.

The UN and AU should focus on how to urgently improve and bolster the ability of Unamid to protect civilians from attacks, the human rights researchers write in their report, including the kinds of attacks Darfuris have suffered during the RSF-led campaigns. Unamid has to be able to effectively investigate and expose abuses without endangering victims and witnesses.

Following the research, HRW called on the UN Security Council, the AU Peace and Security Council, and Unamid to take concrete steps to protect civilians in Darfur from further abuse, including sanctioning individuals responsible for attacks on civilians.

They must expand and ensure access to humanitarian assistance for victims, including medical and psycho-social care for victims of sexual violence and other forms of trauma, and to press for cooperation with the International Criminal Court’s investigation and prosecution of grave international crimes in Darfur, the human rights watchdog concluded.

Read our background story: Who are the Rapid Support Forces in Sudan?

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