Over the past 21 months Darfur has been the scene of horrific human rights violations by government forces and allied militia. A million and a half people have been displaced in Darfur; they have been attacked, women raped, people abducted, their relatives killed, villages burnt and looted. Despite the peoples’ cries for help, they still remain unprotected. They are still being denied justice.
Victims who speak out face harassment and intimidation at the hands of the government security forces whilst suspected perpetrators of extrajudicial executions, killings, rapes and large-scale attacks remain at large. Darfuris, including internally displaced persons and town-dwellers, human rights defenders and lawyers are routine victims of arbitrary powers of arrest and detention. These powers conferred upon the security forces, apparently designed to protect the country, are instead used to torture the population with impunity.
The legal system is in need of extensive reform. It is weak and biased, unable or unwilling to hold government forces and allied militias accountable for massive violations of international law. Investigations into human rights violations committed in Darfur are either deeply flawed or simply non-existent. Unfair trials are the norm and special courts handing down summary justice leave little confidence in the ability of the judiciary to address the devastation of Darfur.
Governments must not accept the endless routine of human rights violations in Sudan. Mediators of the Sudan and Darfur peace talks must discuss amendments to the emergency laws and ensure that the millions of victims of grave abuses obtain justice.