SUDAN WATCH: UN says world should hold Darfur rebels accountable -U.N. rejects Sudan human rights resolution - EU passes resolution

Thursday, November 25, 2004

UN says world should hold Darfur rebels accountable -U.N. rejects Sudan human rights resolution - EU passes resolution

Reuters quotes Jan Pronk as saying the world should hold Darfur rebels accountable for breaking their promises to end violence in western Sudan. He did not say what measures should be taken. "I do really think that the international community should hold them (SLA) accountable for not complying with international agreements and their own promises," Pronk told reporters after meeting Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit in Cairo.

You have to wonder who he thinks he is talking to when he says such things to the press. Probably to Khartoum I guess. If Khartoum are listening, they must be taking it as seriously as everyone else.
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UN Assembly Rejects Sudan Human Rights Resolution

You can't make this stuff up. A UN General Assembly committee rejected a resolution that would have condemned human rights violations in Sudan.

The action drew a sharp rebuke from the United States and the European Union, and a spirited defence from African nations.

Ninety one of the 191 U.N. member countries voted for the "no action" motion. The United States and European Union countries, which sponsored the resolution, were among 74 nations that tried in vain to save it.

Ambassador Scott called the refusal to condemn atrocities in Sudan "an indefensible parochially motivated action". He said "three consecutive failures of member states of the United Nations to present a unified front against well-documented atrocities would represent nothing less than the complete breakdown of the U.N.'s deliberative bodies related to human rights. If these bodies cannot speak with one voice on an issue as clear as Darfur, what can they do?"

Netherland's Ambassador Dirk Jan Van den Berg, representing the European Union, noted that the Security Council had passed several tough resolutions on Sudan in recent months, going so far as to threaten sanctions against Khartoum unless it took action to stop atrocities in Darfur. He said the General Assembly must follow suit or risk becoming irrelevant.

"How can we explain that the Security Council speaks out on the human rights situation in Sudan while the General Assembly remains silent," he said. "The European Union strongly urges delegations to vote against this motion to adjourn the debate, for reasons of principle, and to prevent the General Assembly from fading away into irrelevance."

But African countries, backed by many Islamic nations, stood firmly with Sudan in voting to kill the resolution.

South Africa, representing the African group at the world body, said it opposed all resolutions condemning a specific country.

Pitso Montwedi, director of human rights in South Africa's foreign ministry, denied that the "no action" motion constituted a defense of Sudan's rights record. He said condemning the Khartoum government would have undermined African efforts to end the country's long-running civil war.

"I should emphasize at the beginning that the African group had chosen to use this rule not as a denial of violations of human rights in Africa but only for the purposes of countering the double standards of the European Union," he said.

The General Assembly also adopted a "no action" motion Wednesday on a similar resolution critical of Zimbabwe.

Anticipating the no-action motion Tuesday, Washington's U.N. Ambassador John Danforth called it tantamount to "condoning atrocities". He said the move would send a message from the General Assembly to the people of Sudan that, "you may be suffering, but we can't be bothered".
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Joint EU-ACP parliamentarians pass resolution

A resolution was passed calling for a comprehensive peace deal for Sudan.

Delegates also called for a halt to the sale of weapons to all sides in Sudan's conflicts, and for the main perpetrators of the violence and crimes related to the wars to be identified and brought to justice.

EU development aid to Sudan -- some 450 million euros (600 million dollars) -- will remain blocked until a peace pact is signed and implemented in Sudan.

The resolution also calls for a fact-finding mission to evaluate the situation in Sudan. It was passed unanimously, but "after long and difficult negotiations," one observer said.

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