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For Immediate Release

PHR Cautiously Welcomes UN Security Council Authorization for Peacekeepers in Darfur

Sudan Should Not Be Allowed to Delay Rapid Deployment of Force

Cambridge, Mass - 09/01/2006

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) cautiously welcomes the passage of UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 1706, which calls for the deployment of up to 20,500 peacekeepers to Darfur. Though the Resolution 'invites the consent' of the Sudanese Government, serious international pressure should now be exerted on Khartoum so that the forces can deploy as soon as possible. Operating under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the force authorized yesterday by the UNSC has full power do whatever necessary to "maintain international peace and security."

Not only has the Sudanese Government announced its opposition to the UN force’s deployment, it is also right now amassing troops and materiel in northern Darfur. Recent news reports state that they have now begun a military offensive on rebel groups that did not sign the Darfur Peace Agreement. PHR condemns this clear continuation of the GOS' aggression against the people of Darfur.

"Failure by the international community to prevent Sudan from obstructing the deployment of the UN force will make a mockery of the will of the UN Security Council and hasten the total collapse of humanitarian operations that thousands rely on for their basic survival," stated Susannah Sirkin, Deputy Director of PHR, who recently returned from Darfur. "As recent attacks in north Darfur by the Government of Sudan show, Khartoum will continue its campaign of violence for as long as it believes it can get away with it."

The Darfur Peace Agreement (DPA), which was signed in May by the Government of Sudan and the rebel faction led by Minni Minnawi , has so far been repeatedly violated by both parties without serious consequences from the international community, including attacks on civilians and rape of women. PHR is urgently calling on the UNSC to ensure that the GOS and Minni Minnawi’s faction adhere to their obligations under the DPA.

"For the Darfur Peace Agreement to be more than just a piece of paper, the international community must start pressuring both parties to make good on the promises they made almost four months ago in Abuja," said Sirkin.

In addition, it is vital that the concerns over security and compensation for enormous losses, which have prevented the other rebel groups from joining the peace agreement, be addressed as a matter of the utmost priority.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is an independent organization that uses medicine and science to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. We are supported by the expertise and passion of health professionals and concerned citizens alike.

Since 1986, PHR has conducted investigations in more than 40 countries around the world, including Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Sudan, the United States, the former Yugoslavia, and Zimbabwe.

  • 1986 — Led investigations of torture in Chile gaining freedom for heroic doctors there
  • 1988 — First to document the Iraqi use of chemical weapons on Kurds providing               evidence for prosecution of war criminals
  • 1996 — Exhumed mass graves in the Balkans and Rwanda to provide evidence for               International Criminal Tribunals
  • 1997 — Shared the Nobel Peace Prize for the International Campaign to Ban Landmines
  • 2003 — Warned US Policymakers on health and human rights conditions prior to and               during the invasion of Iraq
  • 2004 — Documented genocide and sexual violence in Darfur in support of international               prosecutions
  • 2010 — Investigated the epidemic of violence spread by Burma’s military junta
  • 2011 — Championed the principle of noninterference with medical services in times of               armed conflict and civil unrest during the Arab Spring
  • 2012 — Trained doctors, lawyers, police, and judges in the Democratic Republic of the               Congo, Kenya, and Syria on the proper collection of evidence in sexual               violence cases
  • 2013 — Won first prize in the Tech Challenge for Atrocity Prevention with MediCapt, our               mobile app that documents evidence of torture and sexual violence

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