The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Rights Group: Security Council Should Immediately Enforce Darfur Arms Embargo


In response to a new report from the United Nations Security
Council's Sudan Panel of Experts citing "flagrant violations" to the
Darfur arms embargo by all parties to the conflict, Human Rights First
called on the U.N. Security Council to take immediate and strong steps
to enforce that embargo.

"Given the Security Council's refusal to act on previous reports of
blatant and widespread violations, no one should be surprised by the
gross embargo violations described in this report," stated Julia
Fromholz, interim director of the Crimes Against Humanity Program at
Human Rights First. "The failure of the Council to take robust action
against violators of the embargo - the Government of Sudan, rebel
groups, and their suppliers - aggravates the violations themselves by
signaling to suppliers and belligerents that they may operate with

Human Rights First is calling for more international attention to be
paid to those countries supplying arms to all belligerents to the
conflict in Darfur. The rights organization has reported that more than
30 countries have supplied the Government of Sudan with weapons or
related material since the Security Council established the embargo.
China and Russia - permanent members of the Security Council - are two
of the largest arms suppliers to Khartoum. Governments that send
weapons to Sudan with knowledge that Khartoum is violating the embargo
are failing to comply with the embargo.

"The surest way to stem the flow of weapons into Darfur is to
convince weapons suppliers to halt their sales," Fromholz observed.
"This aspect of the violence in Darfur - and in the region, including
Chad and the Central African Republic - has received too little
attention from the international community. That must change."

The new U.N. report comes as peace negotiations in the region are
stalled, while violence against civilians, humanitarian aid workers,
and peacekeepers continues unabated. The unwillingness of belligerents
to come to the table for serious negotiations cannot be separated from
the continuing supply of weapons to them.

"It is difficult to imagine a sustainable peace in Darfur when other
countries continue to supply the Government of Sudan and the rebel
groups with weapons. Drying up the flow of weapons to Darfur will not
ensure peace, but it would shift the political dynamics in the right
direction," Fromholz stated.

Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.