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UN and Rights groups must join the Darfur’s fact-finding committee


Press Release
May 11, 2004

? Human Rights Commission and Other Human Rights Groups Must Join The DarFur’s Fact Finding Committee

The Sudan Human Rights Organization Cairo Office welcomes a presidential decree (May 9, 2004) establishing a fact finding committee to investigate the DarFur’s Crisis. SHRO-Cairo welcomes further the Sudan Government’s permit to United Nations’ officials to carry out humanitarian programs for the victims of the warring situation in the region that continues to ravage the lives of DarFur citizens, especially the Zagawa, Massaliet, Fur and the other government-Janjaweed ethnically-haunted citizens.
The Organization is gravely concerned top Sudanese officials led by foreign affairs’ and justice senior officials insistently publicized continuous denial of the government’s deep involvement in the State-made crisis of DarFur for which authority biases and wrongful policies are mainly responsible for ethnic cleansing practices and the other atrocities committed against the DarFur’s indigenous peoples.

The Organization holds the foreign affairs and justice senior officials responsible for unacceptable illegal intrusion to influence the Fact Finding Committee even before it begins lawful investigation unto the DarFur’s Crisis. As a committee seeking to find substantive facts on the DarFur’s Crisis to help resolve the conflict with a lasting peaceful solution, the Fact Finding Committee must be protected from all executive interference or government media influence at all stages of investigation, including report submission and public dissemination.

SHRO-Cairo strongly requires the Sudan Government to take full measures to allow fair and truthful investigation of the DarFur’s Crisis which, grounded on the Khartoum’s biased policies against the majority of the DarFur non-Arab citizens, has been largely questioned and/or documented by United Nations and other human rights groups as well as DarFur indigenous sources. The widely reported ethnic cleansing by government troops and militias should be thoroughly investigated and publicly published for the People of Sudan, in particular, and the International Community, in general, without government interference as a direct party to the conflict.

SHRO-Cairo emphasizes the lacking of independent judiciary, the cancellation of the Sudan Judiciary Council, the dismissal of hundreds of judges, the harassment and illegal politicization of the Bar Association, and the replacement of the Sudanese well-established adjudication system with a system of terrorizing Criminal Law as a political tool to subdue the population by bureaucratic subordination to the president and other executives, military or party officials. The military arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, trial, sentence, and execution of tens of citizens in DarFur exemplified the extra-judicial application of penal law by government executives and a large section of the victimized people of DarFur are increasingly helpless women, elderly, and children.

The Organization is aware of the prevailing climate of terror which has largely terrorized the non-Arab citizens of DarFur by perpetrated government assaults as well as Janjaweed atrocities, besides the government’s failure to ensure humanitarian aid to the victimized population and the insistence of the foreign affairs and justice senior officials to influence the Fact Finding Committee even before it starts its judicial mission in DarFur.

To ensure fair investigation of the DarFur Crisis by the Fact Finding Committee, the Organization reiterates previous calls on the Sudan Government and the Human Rights Commission (see for example the SHRO-Cairo call on October 30, 2003) to allow strong, fair, and effective non-governmental representation in an efficient highly authorized fact finding committee. Towards this end, SHRO-Cairo requires the Sudan Government to:

? Include the Human Rights Commission, DarFur indigenous human rights groups in and outside the country, and Bar Association representatives as active members of the Fact Finding Committee;

? Guarantee observer status to international, regional, and national human rights’ representatives in the Committee.

? Ensure effective representation of women from non-governmental sources, especially women related to the DarFur victimized ethnicities, to participate fully in the Committee activities.

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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