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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 a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to stop mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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