Excerpts from the Chairperson's statement on Darfur at the human rights commission in Geneva.
The Commission on Human Rights is deeply concerned about the situation in the Sudan and in particular in Darfur-Western Sudan. The Commission welcomes the conclusion of the N'djamena peace talks on 8 April 2004 between the Government of the Sudan and the armed groups under the auspices of H.E. President Idris Dedy of Chad, in the presence of international and regional representatives, including the African Union, United Nations agencies, the European Union, the United States of America and international non-governemtal organizations.
The Commission welcomes:
(a) the full involvement of the Commission of the African Union in the peaceful resolution to the conflict in Darfur and calls upon the African Union and its member States to continue their pivotal role in ensuring the effective and speedy implementation of the N'djamena agreement;
(b) the visit by the African Union team to the Sudan at the invitation of the Government with a view to assessing the situation and ensuring respect for human rights and humanitarian law, and the positive response of the Government of the Sudan to the request of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights to dispatch to Darfur a delegation from the Commission which includes the Commissioner in charge of refugees and internally displaced persons...
The Commission shares the grave concern of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Kofi Annan, concerning the scale of reported human rights abuses and the humanitarian situation in Darfur-Western Sudan and welcomes his decision to send a high-level team to Darfur, at the invitation of the Government of the Sudan, to gain a fuller understanding and to establish the facts of the situation in the area.
The Commission calls on all parties to the N'djamena ceasefire agreement to fully respect the agreement and to ensure that all armed groups under their control comply with the agreement. The Government of the Sudan shall commit itself to neutralizing the armed militias.
The Commission calls upon the parties to the conflict in Darfur to observe the humanitarian ceasefire and to grant immediate, full, safe and unhindered access to Darfur and elsewhere in the Sudan aimed at delivering humanitarian assistance to all civilians in need and to cooperate closely with the United Nations Office for Humanitarian Affairs and Operation Lifeline Sudan as a further sign of consolidation of the progress already achieved in many regions.
The Commission expresses its solidarity with the Sudan in overcoming the current situation. The Commission reiterates the important role played by the African Union and its various mechanisms in helping to reach a peaceful settlement of this question. The Commission further appreciates the leadership of H.E. Idris Deby, President of Chad, in hosting and chairing the N'djamena peace talks and expresses its confidence that his sincerity and integrity will enable him to bring this process to a satisfactory conclusion.
The Commission calls upon the international community to continue providing relief assistance to the affected population in Darfur and to enhance the efforts of the Government of the Sudan, supported by the African Union, in the peace process.
The Commission calls upon the Government of the Sudan to actively promote and protect human rights and international humanitarian law throughout the country; the Commission also calls on the international community to expand its support for these activities and to continue its support for the peace process in the Sudan.
The Commission requests the Chairman of the Commission to appoint an independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan for a period of one year and requests him/her to submit an interim report to the General Assembly at its fifty-ninth session and to report to the Commission at its sixty-first session on the situation of human rights in the Sudan. The Commission requests the Secretary-General to provide all necessary assistance to the independent expert to enable him/her to fully discharge his/her mandate.