The UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur has withheld evidence about Sudan’s involvement in serious crimes. An immediate investigation is needed.

UNAMID 20100217 - Albert Gonzalez Farran - JSRVisitNyala_42Today United to End Genocide joined 46 activist groups, rights groups, and Diaspora associations in delivering a letter to Ambassador Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, urging American leadership for an immediate Security Council investigation of recent allegations against the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

Information recently made available by Aicha Elbasri, the former spokesperson of UNAMID, “indicates that UNAMID has collected extensive evidence of the Government of Sudan’s involvement in serious crimes, including aerial attacks and the continued use of Janjaweed proxy militias to target civilians, in violation of UNSC Resolutions 1591 (2005) and 1556 (2004).”

UNAMID officials have allegedly withheld a great deal of collected evidence on these crimes and on the direct link between the Sudanese Government and the Janjaweed’s targeted attacks against civilians, not only from the public but also from other United Nations entities, including the Security Council.

The seriousness of these accusations and the reliability of the sources demand that they be treated with the utmost seriousness.  The letter asks Ambassador Power to introduce a Security Council Resolution ordering a full investigation of Ms. Elbasri’s allegations, as well as the apparently unreported Sudanese violations of previous Security Council Resolutions.

The letter further calls for Ambassador Power to use this shocking new information as a catalyst to reevaluate the United Nations approach to Sudan, beginning with embracing a comprehensive peace plan in Sudan as a way to address the root causes of the numerous conflicts within its borders.

Peace is possible in Sudan, but it requires charting a new course. Ms. Elbasri’s courage in revealing the true nature of what is taking place in Darfur should compel Ambassador Power and the entire Security Council to break with the past, failed policies in Sudan—and chart a new course toward peace and justice.

It is long past time for the world’s leaders to show the people of Darfur, and all of Sudan, that they are committed to ending impunity and restoring democracy.

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