HRW: Sudan Abuses in Darfur Escalate

Posted June 6th, 2011 at 8:20 am (UTC-5)
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Human Rights Watch says abuses in Sudan's Darfur region have increased in the last six months while the world's attention was largely focused on south Sudan's upcoming independence.

The rights group says there has been a surge in government-led attacks on populated areas of Darfur and aerial bombings since December.

A report released Monday says the campaign has killed scores of civilians, destroyed property and displaced more than 70,000 people — mostly from the ethnic Zaghawa and Fur communities linked to rebel groups.

Human Rights Watch is urging the U.N. Security Council and the African Union to pressure Sudan to stop the attacks and to do more to ensure those responsible for war crimes are held accountable.

HRW's Africa director, Daniel Bekele, said it is is especially important to step up pressure now, a month before Sudan splits in two.

Rebels in Darfur took up arms against the government in 2003, accusing Khartoum of neglecting their region.

The United Nations says more than 300,000 people have been killed in the Darfur conflict, and 2.7 million others have been displaced. Sudan's government puts the death toll at 10,000.

North and south Sudan fought a separate 21-year war that ended in 2005. South Sudan voted to separate from the north in a January referendum.