Grave Violations against Civilians in Darfur

For immediate release
Suppression of Peaceful Protests and the Grave Violations against Civilians in Darfur
The Human Rights and Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND), in the strongest terms, condemns the use of excessive force by the Sudanese security forces to quell peaceful demonstrations that started from a number of cities and Sudanese universities in January and February 2011, demanding democratic change, as well as civil, economical and political rights. HAND calls upon the Sudanese security forces to respect the right of the people to express their views in accordance with Article (19) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and to comply with the political and civil rights granted under the constitution of Sudan. HAND also calls upon the authorities for immediate release of all the political detainees and to investigate reports of torture and rape during interrogations.
HAND would like to drive the attention of the international human rights organizations and the international community to the continuation of the policies of violence and the culture of impunity in Sudan.  Government troops and allied militias are still launching attacks against civilians in Darfur, increasingly so since August 2010. Civilians have been systematically targeted in large scale attacks along areas of Tabit, Galab, Shangil Tobayi, east of Jebel Marra and Dar es Salaam localities in North Darfur. Large numbers of civilians have been forcefully displaced from Khor Abeche, Muhajiriya, Shaeriea and Khazan Jadeed, as well as some other villages in the eastern part of South Darfur state. Well organized campaigns of deportation and displacement were organized by the militiamen of Nazir/Musa Jalis, the top leader of the Birgid tribe, against the followers of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) of Mini Minawi, the former senior assistant to the president, who declared war against the state in January 2011. Some hundreds of Zaghawa families have reportedly arrived in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in North and South Darfur escaping the systematic targeting.  
The attacks of Nazir/Musa’s militiamen on the innocent civilians in South Darfur have left more than 95,000 people IDPs in less than 30 days from February 15 to March 14, 2011. More than 100 villages were totally burned or emptied of its population. Civilians in the areas mentioned above were killed, injured, raped and humiliated by the militias of Birgid tribe.
HAND also condemns government’s blockade and searching of ZamZam IDP camp in El Fasher, North Darfur, on February 2011. HAND has noticed that there were several violations during the joint army/national security operation in ZamZam camp, including confiscation of properties, arrests and summary killing of civilians by both the military and the security forces. 
HAND reminds the international community that the UNAMID peacekeeping mission in Darfur still suffers limitation in bringing its mandate of protecting civilians to a satisfactory level. Civilians were killed and displaced right next to UNAMID compounds without the mission moving its troops to redress the situation. HAND also monitored closely the expulsion of one international organization from South Darfur by the Governor of the state. HAND warns about the negative consequences of intimidating humanitarian originations and putting obstacles in front of relief work in Darfur. The current government strategy of peace from within adds more difficulties to peacemaking efforts in Darfur and keeps Darfuri civilians divided along the tribal lines, achieving nothing but the government’s evil plan of extending the suffering of the innocent people living there. Suppressions of freedom of expression and threatening the independent media and human rights organizations operating in Sudan is part of the regime’s plan to sustain power. HAND calls for urgent actions to protect civilians in Sudan from the systematic government attacks and policies. 
For more information please contact:

Dr. Ismail Abraham – HAND Coordinator, United States
Email: – Phone: +1-443-653-2925

Michaela Leiss – HAND spokesperson, Europe, United Kingdom
Email: – Phone: +44-7587-102-207

Al-Fadil Noor – HAND Internal Networking and Regional Advocacy Component (INRAC) & Uganda office Coordinator
Email: – Phone: +25-67-0271-3221
Human Rights and Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND)

The Human Rights and Advocacy Network for Democracy (HAND) is a network of Darfuri grass root organizations registered as an NGO in Kampala, Uganda. One of the main goals of HAND is to improve the human rights situation in Darfur – and to give Darfur’s civilians hope for a better future – through reporting human rights violations, advocacy, promoting democracy and rule of law, vocational training, decreasing tribal tensions, capacity building, awareness raising, and peace building. The overall objective of HAND is to help efforts to end the armed conflict in Darfur and to lift the human suffering faced by the people of the region. It endeavors to create a democratically vibrant society in Darfur where human rights and fundamental freedoms are upheld.

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