Darfur Consortium statement on the Abuja peace talks on Darfur

(NAIROBI, June 22, 2005 ) The Darfur Consortium and its member organizations are greatly concerned with the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Darfur. Violence and military activities in the region continue consequently the numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and war-affected people are in steady increase. We are also concerned that some parts of the region experience a killer famine because of aggressions and assaults against relief workers and blockade of access routes.

The convening of the Fifth Round of the Inter-Sudanese Peace Talks on Darfur is an important opportunity for a peaceful negotiated settlement of the conflict. However, we are very concerned that precious time was lost since the beginning of the Talks on 10th June 2005 and that little progress was made. The situation on the ground, especially the living conditions of IDPs and war-affected people, is so acute and so dire that it requires immediate and decisive action on the part of the negotiating parties. There is an urgent need to end violence and crimes committed in the region, in particular against women and children. Information we received confirmed that military operations, attacks and counterattacks continue while the negotiators are meeting in Abuja. This hardly creates conditions conducive to a healthy atmosphere for the negotiations to come to a successful conclusion.

We, therefore, call on the negotiating parties to agree on the following:

1. A real ceasefire agreement that puts an end to all kinds of hostilities in the region. This arrangement should be monitored by independent observers instead of the current mechanism, which proved to be ineffective.
2. Immediate disarmament of the Janjaweed militia and arrest of their leaders in accordance with numerous demands made by African Union (AU) policy-making organs, UN Security Council and other regional and international institutions.
3. Ensure full participation and inclusion of women in the Talks in line with the AU Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa and the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security.

ENDS