The Darfur Consortium

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Letter to Members of the Africa Group of the Human Rights Council

10th December 2007


Your Excellency,

The human rights and humanitarian situation in Darfur, Sudan has been the focus of great concern across the world and in Africa since early 2004. With the United Nations (UN) now reporting over 4.2 million persons in need of aid as a result of the crisis, Darfur is now at a critical juncture, situated within a deeply complicated political and security context.

 More than ever Darfur requires careful and concerted engagement from the international community if efforts to resolve the conflict and ensure basic protection for its beleaguered population are to bear fruit.  The international community, through the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) has a vital role to play in ensuring that the people of Darfur are accorded the peace, security and stability they deserve. The Human Rights Council (HRC) is an essential element of these efforts to find a lasting solution to this deepening conflict.

As you are aware, the HRC established a Working Group of Experts on Darfur by HRC Resolution 4/8 dated 30 March 2007. Since then the Working Group has spent many months assessing the situation and developing recommendations. The Group’s final report of 28 November 2007 (A/HRC/6/19) has carefully reviewed the commitment and efforts of Sudan to implement resolutions and recommendations on Darfur, whether generated by the HRC itself and other organs within the UN human rights system.

 In its conclusion to the report, the Working Group, while acknowledging the cooperation of Sudan, notes that few substantive recommendations have been fully implemented or have had demonstrable impact on the ground. Initial steps taken by Sudan, it says, have not ‘yielded sufficient impact on the ground according to reports received from organizations operational in Darfur.’ The Working Group further notes with concern that the ‘activities undertaken by the Government of the Sudan to date,’ with few exceptions, ‘have not yet led to an improvement of the situation of human rights in Darfur.’

Your Excellency,

The people of Darfur have waited for too long for a return to normal life. It is clear that, despite some progress, much more remains to be done. The people of Darfur are looking to the HRC, as the premier human rights body representative of the international community as a whole, to continue to closely follow developments in Darfur and monitor and make recommendations for the enhancement of their wellbeing, with the assistance of the Working Group.

We therefore earnestly appeal to all HRC members, and in particular, to the Africa Group, to favour extending the mandate of the Working Group of Experts on Darfur as well as that of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan.  The international community’s duty to promote the work of peace and human rights in Sudan must be done through support to, and understanding of, the human rights and humanitarian situation in Sudan as a whole.

Africa in the 21st Century has dedicated itself firmly to resolving its own crises, as demonstrated by Article 4 of the AU Constitutive Act, and the leadership displayed by the deployment of the African Union Mission in Sudan (AMIS) from the early stages of the conflict. Africans are looking to their own leaders and diplomats to actively ensure that the principles and objectives set out in the new AU continental vision become a reality for the people of Darfur. The anguish of one African is the distress of all Africans, and alleviating that pain is the duty of all Africans.

We thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Yours sincerely,

Dismas Nkunda
Co-Chair, Darfur Consortium

African Voices

Sudan

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Action Professionals Association for the People

Aegis Trust Rwanda

African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies

African Center for Development

African Center for Justice and Peace Studies

Africa Internally Displaced Persons Voice (Africa IDP Voice)

African Security Dialogue and Research (ASDR)

African Women's Development and Communications Network (FEMNET)

The Ahueni Foundation

Alliances for Africa

Amman Centre for Human Rights Studies

Andalus Institute for Tolerance

Anti-Slavery International

Arab Coalition for Darfur

Arab Program for Human Rights Activists

Association Africaine de Defense des Droits de l'Homme (ASADHO)

Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies

Centre for Minority Rights Development (CEMIRIDE)

Centre for Research Education and Development of Freedom of Expression and Associated Rights (CREDO)

Citizens for Global Solutions

Conscience International

Conseil National Pour les Libertés en Tunisie

Darfur Alert Coalition (DAC)

Darfur Centre for Human Rights and Development

Darfur Leaders Network (DLN)

Darfur Reconciliation and Development Organization (DRDO)

Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre

East Africa Law Society

Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

Femmes Africa Solidarité

La Fédération Internationale des Droits de l'Homme (FIDH)

Forum of African Affairs (FOAA)

Human Rights First

Human Rights Institute of South Africa (HURISA)

Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa

Institute for Security Studies

Inter-African Union for Human Rights (UIDH)

Interights

International Commission of Jurists (ICJ Kenya)

International Refugee Rights Initiative

Justice Africa

Justice and Peace Commission

Lawyers for Human Rights

Lebanese Association for Democratic Elections

Legal Resources Consortium-Nigeria

Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l'Homme

Makumira University College, Tumaini University

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)

Minority Rights Group

National Association of Seadogs

Never Again International

Open Society Justice Initiative

Pan-African Movement

Rencontre Africaine Pour la Defense des Droits de l'Homme (RADDHO)

Sierra Leone STAND Chapter

Sisters' Arabic Forum for Human Rights (SAF)

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)

Sudan Organization Against Torture (SOAT)

Syrian Organization for Human Rights

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC)

Universal Human Rights Network

WARIPNET

Women Initiative Nigeria (WIN)

 
 
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