25 May 2004 Expressing grave concern over the deteriorating humanitarian and human rights situation in the Darfur region of Sudan, the United Nations Security Council today underscored the responsibility of the country's Government to neutralize the armed Janjaweed militias operating in the region.
In a statement read out at a formal meeting by the current Council President, Munir Akram of Pakistan, the 15-member body noted that thousands have been killed and warned that hundreds of thousands of others are at risk of dying in the coming months.
“The Council also expresses its deep concern at the continuing reports of large-scale violations of human rights and of international humanitarian law in Darfur, 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,” Ambassador Akram said.
Issuing its strong condemnation of these actions, the Council stressed that “all parties to the N'djamena humanitarian ceasefire agreement committed themselves to refraining from any act of violence or any other abuse against civilian populations, in particular women and children, and that the Government of Sudan also committed itself to neutralizing the armed Janjaweed militias.”
The Government was expressly called on to “ensure that the Janjaweed militias are neutralized and disarmed.”
The Council called on opposition groups and the Government to facilitate the immediate deployment of monitors in Darfur, and to ensure their free movement throughout the area.
All parties were urged to put an end to violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. They were also called on to ensure the protection of civilians and to allow “full, unimpeded access by humanitarian personnel” to the affected population.
The Government must facilitate the voluntary and safe return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes and provide protection for them, according to the statement, which also stressed that all parties must promote the safety, security and freedom of movement of humanitarian personnel.
While welcoming the Government's announcement that it will take steps to facilitate the relief effort, the Council voiced serious concern about continued logistical impediments “prohibiting a rapid response in the face of a stark and mounting crisis” and called upon Khartoum to cooperate fully with efforts to provide assistance to the imperilled populations of Darfur.
The presidential statement also called on the international community to respond “rapidly and effectively” to the consolidated appeal for Darfur.