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Security Council condemns attacks on civilians in Sudan's Darfur region

25 May 2004 With widespread human rights violations occurring alongside a deteriorating humanitarian situation in the Darfur region of western Sudan, the United Nations Security Council today condemned attacks on civilians and called on the Khartoum Government to reign in the Arab militia carrying out the strikes on the black African population.

Ambassador Munir Akram of Pakistan, which holds the Council's rotating Presidency this month, read out a statement in which the 15-member body voiced its deep concern at the continuing reports of large-scale violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law, "including indiscriminate attacks on civilians, sexual violence, forced displacement and acts of violence, especially those with an ethnic dimension, and demands that those responsible be held accountable."

The Council strongly condemned those acts and stressed that all parties to the humanitarian ceasefire agreement, signed last month in the Chadian capital of N'djamena, committed themselves to refraining from any act of violence or any other abuse against civilians, particularly women and children.

While welcoming that accord, the Council also called on the Government of Sudan to respect its commitments to ensure that the Arab Janjaweed militias - reported to be carrying out attacks against the black African population of Darfur - are neutralized and disarmed.

The Council also welcomed the announcement by the Government that it would issue visas to all humanitarian workers quickly, eliminate the need for travel permits and ease the entrance and clearance of equipment need for humanitarian purposes.

It expressed its serious concern, however, about continued logistical impediments prohibiting a rapid response in the face of a "stark and mounting" crisis, and called on the Government to fulfil its announced commitment to cooperate fully and expeditiously with relief efforts ahead of the approaching rainy season.

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