|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Secretary-General deeply concerned by deteriorating security situation in Darfur,
consequences for wider region, including chad, Central African Republic
The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:
The Secretary-General is deeply concerned about the worsening security situation in Darfur and its consequences for the wider region, including Chad and the Central African Republic. He is alarmed by the devastating impact the violence is having on the civilian population in the region, and strongly condemns the recent attacks and destruction of dozens of villages in North Darfur. More than 80,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in the last six weeks alone, 50,000 of them in Darfur and 30,000 in Chad. Several hundred civilians, including women, children and elderly, have been killed and there are very disturbing reports of mass rapes and other gross violations of human rights.
The Secretary-General also deplores the fact that the escalating violence is cutting off almost 1 million people across Darfur from desperately needed humanitarian relief. Recent clashes between armed militia and SLA (Minnawi) elements in El Fasher have forced the relocation of United Nations and non-governmental organization staff and are threatening relief operations for more than 1.3 million people across North Darfur. The fighting has also interrupted United Nations support to the African Union Mission in the Sudan. Violence in Chad is disrupting relief operations to more than 300,000 people. In both Darfur and Chad, relief workers are being attacked on a daily basis, and dozens of their vehicles have been hijacked in the last few weeks, threatening the humanitarian lifeline for a total of 4.3 million people in the region.
The Secretary-General appeals to all parties in the strongest terms to immediately cease hostilities and stop all attacks against civilians. Those violating international humanitarian law by attacking civilians and relief workers must be held accountable. He further calls upon the Government of Sudan to reestablish law and order in the areas under its control, especially El Fasher and El Geneina, and calls on all parties to ensure unimpeded humanitarian access to all those in need.
Moreover, the Secretary-General calls on the Government to engage all groups and provide opportunities for grievances and aspirations to be addressed through political discussion. The United Nations and the African Union stand ready to provide co-mediation and to extend all necessary support to the urgently needed Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation.
* *** *For information media • not an official record