CIHRS urges the Arab League and its member states to support the work of the ICC in Darfur; and ensure aid, protection and peace for Darfur civilians

In International Advocacy Program by

Geneva/Cairo,

The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) commends recent efforts by some members of the League of Arab States to promote and facilitate the revitalization of a peace process between Darfur rebel groups and the government of Sudan, and to dedicate more time and resources to solving the humanitarian crises affecting the region. In 2004 CIHRS applauded the decision of the Arab League to send a fact finding mission to Darfur to investigate the situation occurring in this region. However, due to pressure applied by the government of Sudan, this report was never publicly released by the Arab League. Political pressure exerted by the government of Sudan has also discouraged the Arab League and its member states from supporting international efforts to ensure that justice and protection are provided for the millions of civilians suffering in Darfur, thousands of which have been victims of War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity committed by government supported militias, including women and children. The Arab world can no longer deny the suffering of the people of Darfur, or the preponderant responsibility the government of Sudan bears for their suffering.

The government of Sudan’s ability to have this fact finding mission report suppressed by the Arab League has encouraged the Sudanese government to attempt to manipulate the outcome of the next meeting of the Arab League Human Rights Commission. The Sudan government has asked the ALHRC to include in its next meeting&#146s agenda of June 18th two items: (1) the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) work on Darfur, and (2) human rights reports concerning mass rape of women in Darfur. CIHRS is extremely concerned that the government of Sudan is seeking to use this body to create a political shield against its human rights obligations towards Darfur victims, and its legal obligations to cooperate with the ICC. The meeting of this Commission should not become another opportunity for Sudan to use Arab regional institutions for its unilateral attempts to mask human rights violations in Darfur, and to provide impunity for individual’s responsible for these violations.
CIHRS would also like to draw attention to the widespread raping of women that has been carried out in Darfur and Eastern Chad and documented by UN monitors and rights groups. Not only does this type of practice constitute War Crimes, but it is also a grave affront to the Islamic values that the Sudanese government and the member states of the Arab League purport to uphold.

In this regard, CIHRS urges the Arab League and its member states not to allow the government of Sudan to use ALHRC as a platform for its self interest, moreover, CIHRS asks ALHRC to support the efforts of the United Nations (UN) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) to end impunity in Darfur, and to hold those responsible for grave and wide spread human rights violations in this region accountable.

Strong and concerted efforts by the Arab League and its member states to ensure that the Sudanese government ends this type of abuse and does all it can to protect and provide assistance for the people of Darfur are long overdue. The people of Darfur urgently need aid, protection and peace. Arab states, through the Arab League, should spare no efforts and resources to ensure that all three of these needs are provided.

This post is also available in: العربية

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