UN rights council doesn't blame Sudanese gov't for Darfur
"Today's decision was a success for the European Union... [and] was a success for Africa," says German ambassador.
By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
The UN Human Rights Council expressed concern on Friday over the situation in Darfur, but omitted any criticism of the Sudanese government for snubbing the body's investigators or for allegedly playing a role in killings, rapes or other atrocities in its western region.
The unanimous decision to adopt a compromise proposal put forward by the European Union was hailed by European diplomats as proof that the UN's top rights body can act with one voice and put aside regional differences.
"Today's decision was a success for the European Union, was a success for Africa, a success for the new human rights council, and we hope that it will be a success for the people in Darfur," Germany's Ambassador Michael Steiner, whose country holds the presidency of the 27-nation EU, told reporters.
According to UN estimates, more than 200,000 people have been killed and at least 2.5 million driven from their homes in Darfur in four years of fighting between rebels and militias. A report earlier this month by a group of experts led by US Nobel laureate Jody Williams said the government of President Omar al-Bashir had orchestrated militia attacks.
The resolution, which bridged the positions of the European Union and African countries led by Algeria, took note of the report and expressed regret that it was unable to visit the western Sudanese region. However, it neither criticized Sudan's government for blocking the mission nor officially adopted the report's findings.
Khartoum refused to grant visas to Williams' six-member team to visit Darfur in February because it said one of the experts was biased.
"I am happy that the resolution came by consensus," Sudan's envoy to the UN in Geneva, Ibrahim Mohamed-Kheir, told The Associated Press. "My government is as concerned as the international community for human rights."
He said Khartoum wanted help to implement measures to safeguard human rights, but insisted only Sudan could protect its citizens.
The council's resolution called on Sudan to work with a new group to on implement expert recommendations and UN Security Council resolutions. The Security Council has called for Sudan to allow a UN force to bolster African Union peacekeepers in the region; a move al-Bashir has so far refused.
More than 200,000 people have been killed and more than 2.5 million driven from their homes in Darfur in four years of fighting between rebels and militias.
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