Saturday, June 12, 2004


Sudan: Act now to end the human rights crisis in Darfur

Sudanese boys in a refugee camp in Chad. Copyright by Phillip Cox

The latest evidence from Darfur, western Sudan, reveals a population in crisis. An estimated one million people have been forced to flee their homes. More than 10,000 have been killed. Human rights violations are being carried out on a massive scale by the Janjawid, a government-backed militia, which often operates alongside government troops.

The testimonies collected by Amnesty International all bear witness to what appears to be a systematic campaign of abuse. Men have been killed inside mosques, women raped in front of their husbands and old women killed when their homes have been set alight � all acts designed to humiliate and destroy the fabric of community life, over and beyond the individual atrocity.

"I was at home when the military came along with the Janjawid on horse back and on camels. They surrounded the village, set fire to a number of houses and shot at people, my brother was killed in front of me."

A refugee interviewed by AI delegates, May 2004.
Civilians in Darfur and those who have fled into the neighbouring country of Chad live in fear of further attacks and face a daily struggle to survive due to insufficient humanitarian assistance.

Although governments around the world, together with organizations such as the African Union, the European Union and the Arab League have lined up to condemn human rights violations in Darfur, their fine words have failed to translate into decisive action.

The international community should have the courage of its convictions and apply the strongest pressure on the government of Sudan to rein in the Janjawid and end human rights violations in Darfur.

Take action!

You can write directly to Lieutenant-General Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, President of Sudan:

Your Excellency,

I am writing to urge you to take strong action to put an end to human rights violations being committed by the Janjawid in Darfur.

I have read testimony of civilians being killed, raped and abducted, their homes burnt and possessions looted, and hundreds of thousands having to flee their homes.

Your government has the responsibility to protect all of its citizens from human rights violations. I would urge you to ensure that Janjawid militia members are disarmed and that those individuals responsible for human rights violations are brought to justice. As an immediate step, I urge you to stand by your promise to facilitate rapid access to Darfur for humanitarian agencies trying to judge and respond to the needs of the displaced. Human rights monitors should also be allowed into Darfur as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Please send appeals to:
Lieutenant-General Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir
President's Palace
PO Box 281

Fax: + 24911 771651/783223/779977
Communications to Sudan can be erratic, if you fail to get through, please try again.

Please let us know if you will be taking this action by sending an e-mail to

1 June 2004 - AFR 54/056/2004 - WA 22/04