March 17, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Amnesty International on Friday decried the appointment of Sudanese ambassador to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) as the deputy-chairperson of its executive body, saying it "is a slap in the face for victims".
Earlier this month, the OPCW appointed Sudan’s ambassador Rahma Salih Elobied Salih, as one of four chairpersons of its executive council. She was nominated by the organisation’s African member states.
The appointment took place nearly six months after the release of a report by Amnesty international accusing the Sudanese government of using chemical weapons in Darfur’s mountainous of Jabel Marra where the army carried out attacks to clear the area of armed rebels last year.
The rights group in its report of September 2016, said almost 250 civilians had been killed following exposure to the chemical weapons.
“It is a total disgrace that a government accused of using chemical weapons is now at the centre of the organisation set up to prevent such attacks,” said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.
“Instead of being investigated for its alleged flagrant violation of the chemical weapons ban, Sudan has been rewarded with a seat at the high table. This is not only disappointing to victims, but also amounts to a conflict of interest since the suspect is now the sheriff,” he further said.
The Sudanese government rejected the report, pointing that its finding was collected through telephone interviews and satellite photos. However, the group insists that the report provides credible evidence and was confirmed by experts.
Recently, Amnesty issued a statement calling on the OPCW executive council to obtain clarification from the Government of Sudan about its alleged use of chemical weapons in Jebel Marra.