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Amnesty calls to give UNAMID unfettered access to Jebel Marra

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Newly displaced persons in Sortoni, North Darfur, who sought refuge near UNAMID's Site following clashes between SLM-AW and government forces in Jebel Marra area on 10 February 2016. (Photo UNAMID=
February 1, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - With the establishment of a new base for Darfur peacekeepers in Golo, Amnesty International has called Thursday to give them unfettered access to protect civilians in Jebel Marra.

The international rights group praised the signing of an agreement to open a Temporary Operating Base (TOB) in Golo, Jebel Marra, in the context of UNAMID’s reconfiguration with a special focus on the mountainous area to protect civilians due to the presence of non-signatory armed group and government militiamen in the area.

"This long-overdue agreement between UNAMID and the Sudanese authorities is a positive first step towards protecting the people of Darfur against further violations by the armed forces and their allied militias," said Amnesty.

"However, the Sudanese government must ensure that UNAMID peacekeepers are guaranteed unfettered access across all of Jebel Marra to protect civilians and facilitate humanitarian aid once the base is operational," it added.

The human rights group pointed to the government campaign in Jebel Marra against the Sudan Liberation Movement Abdel-Wahid in 2016 saying civilians suffered "the unimaginable horror" by the government troops and militias.

“UNAMID must use this opportunity to publicly report on all allegations of crimes under international law and human rights violations committed by any party to the conflict in Darfur, especially in the Jebel Marra area,” said the statement.

In September 2016, Amnesty International accused the government of carrying out 30 chemical weapons attacks in the Jebel Marra. "These brutal attacks left an estimated 200 to 250 people dead and scores more with horrific injuries," the group said.

Despite the government denial and the right groups maintains it has "credible evidence of the shocking use of what are believed to be chemical weapons, against civilians", but the matter remains without investigation.

(ST)

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