EU Darfur Draft Falls Short, NGOs Demand Endorsement of Jody Williams’ Recommendations

PRESS RELEASE

Coalition of 60 NGOs:  Credibility of Council is at Stake

Geneva, March 21, 2007   —  An international coalition of 60 leading non-governmental organizations, including the Save Darfur Coalition, the World Federation of United Nations Associations, the Presbyterian and Anglican churches, and UN Watch, issued a joint appeal today urging the UN Human Rights Council to fully endorse the recent recommendations of the high level mission to Darfur headed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams. (See full text of appeal below). The NGO appeal comes as the European Union and the African group at the Council have submitted competing draft resolutions addressing the Williams report.

 

Hillel Neuer, Executive Director of UN Watch, a Geneva-based human rights monitoring organization, issued the following statement:

 

The EU resolution just tabled to the Council falls short and fails to endorse the minimum recommendations of the Jody Williams report.  Although we commend the EU for seeking to finally cite Sudan for violations—something the Council has shamefully failed to do since its inauguration in June—its draft of today is weak and ignores key recommendations made by the Williams report, including its call on the Council to:

  • take action regarding compensation for victims
  • call on the UN General Assembly to compile a list of foreign companies that have an adverse impact on human rights in Darfur and ask UN entities to stop doing business with them, and
  • address what the report called the Sudanese government’s “manifest failure in its responsibility to protect civilians.”

The EU text compromises basic principles to appease the political forces that dominate the Council.  If adopted, the EU-sponsored resolution would treat Sudan with deference by saying that the Williams Mission “could not visit Darfur”—obscuring that it was Sudan that barred them entry.  Worse, the EU draft minimizes Jody Williams’ attribution of primary responsibility for Darfur war crimes to the Government of Sudan, equating the regime’s violations with those of the rebels, who are actually listed first (see par. 3 of the EU draft) . Regrettably, the EU today showed it did not have the guts to say the truth as Jody Williams did:  the Khartoum regime “has itself orchestrated and participated” in “large-scale international crimes.”

 

If, as some diplomats claim, this is the strongest possible text that has a chance of winning a majority vote, that is an indictment showing the Council’s inability to properly address the world’s greatest human rights crime.  Tragically, even this soft text is expected to be watered down further to compromise with the draft submitted by Sudan’s allies in the African group, itself a complete whitewash of Khartoum’s crimes.

 

As NGOs from around the world have said today, if the report’s recommendations are not endorsed in full, the Council will face a credibility crisis that will cast a shadow upon the reputation of the UN as a whole.
UN Watch spoke on behalf of the largest NGO coalition at the Council’s special session on Darfur in December, and will be convening a Darfur Activist Summit at the Council on March 28.

 

Full Text of NGO Appeal is Below

 

URGENT NGO APPEAL FOR UN ACTION ON DARFUR REPORT
March 16, 2007

 

We, the undersigned non-governmental organizations, urge the UN Human Rights Council to fully endorse the recommendations of the report of the High-Level Mission on the situation of human rights in Darfur, and to implement them immediately.  The Council must delay no longer in acting on this ongoing human rights and humanitarian catastrophe.

 

Contrary to what was alleged by Sudan and its allies at the Council debate this past Friday, the report was prepared by a credible team with a fair mandate.  Its findings confirmed what has long been widely known: that the government of Sudan is responsible for “large-scale international crimes in Darfur” and that other parties to the conflict also have committed gross violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.

 

The report urges the Council to:

  • condemn the continuing violations by all sides
  • address the Sudanese government’s “manifest failure in its responsibility to protect civilians” and to call for such protection
  • take action regarding compensation for victims and accountability for perpetrators
  • establish a dedicated mechanism to continue to monitor the situation in Darfur and to measure compliance with international recommendations
  • actively support the establishment of a credible, independent national human rights commission for the Sudan

The Council should do all of these things without further delay.  It also should strongly urge the other actors to whom the report also made recommendations to implement them immediately.  Particularly important are that the government of Sudan cooperate fully in the deployment of the proposed African Union/United Nations peacekeeping force and with the International Criminal Court; that all UN member states provide adequate funding and support for the proposed peacekeeping mission; and that the UN General Assembly compile a list of foreign companies that have an adverse impact on human rights in Darfur and ask UN entities to stop doing business with them.

 

As team leader and Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams told the Council on Friday, the time for reports is over.  The Council, and the international community as a whole, must now take urgent action to protect and aid the long-suffering civilians in Darfur.

 

We object to the insulting and even ad hominem attacks made by Sudan and its allies against the Darfur team’s legitimacy, and against Jody Williams in particular.  These contradict the Council’s founding principles of dialogue and cooperation.

 

We fully support Jody Williams’ response to the Council:  “About credibility—it’s not about ours, it’s about yours.  If the council chooses not to consider our report…it will have impact on the credibility of the Council but not on this mission.”  We also support Ms. Williams’ reminder to the Council that “Responsibility to protect is meant to protect civilians, not abusive governments.”

 

The Council must fully endorse the report and its recommendations, as it has done with another report being addressed at this session, and the High Commissioner should be mandated to ensure follow-up.

 

In 2005, then Secretary-General Kofi Annan described the Commission on Human Rights’ “credibility deficit.”  If the Council fails to perform its minimum duty and adopt the Darfur report’s recommendations in full, it will face a credibility crisis.  And this will cast a shadow upon the reputation of the Council, and upon the reputation of the United Nations as a whole.  For the millions of victims suffering in Darfur, we urge the Council to act now.

 

 

UN Watch
Hillel Neuer, Executive Director
Switzerland

 

World Federation of United Nations Associations
Daphné L. Romy, Director
Switzerland

 

Anglican Consultative Council
Trevor Davies, Main Representative, Geneva & Vienna
Switzerland

 

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)
Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
United States

 

Save Darfur Coalition
David Rubenstein, Executive Director
United States

 

Bahrain Coalition for Darfur
Nasser Burdestani, Executive Coordinator
Bahrain

 

The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies
Moataz el Fegiery, Programs Director
Egypt

 

German United Nations Association
Dr. Beate Wagner, Secretary General
Germany

 

Save Darfur Canada
Tara Tavender, Executive Director
Canada

 

Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative Africa
Nana Oye Lithur, Coordinator
Ghana

 

Sudan Divestment UK
Hamish Falconer, Director
United Kingdom

 

Dr. David Swann
Member, Alberta Legislative Assembly
Canada

 

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
Angela C. Wu, International Director
United States

 

Centre for Minority Rights Development
Adam Hussein Adam, Diversity Programmes Manager
Kenya

 

France Libertés Fondation Danielle Mitterrand
Catherine Legna, General Director
France

 

Union Internationale des Avocats
Paolo Lins e Silva, President
France

 

Waging Peace
Louise Roland-Gosselin, Director
United Kingdom

 

Maharashtra Foundation
Sunanda Mane, Member of the Board
United States
STAND: A Student Anti-Genocide Coalition
Meredith Burak, Europe Coordinator
United States
STAND Canada
Ben Fine, Executive Director
Canada

 

Association of World Citizens
Douglas Mattern, President
United States

 

World Evangelical Alliance
Geoff Tunnicliffe, International Director
Canada

 

Women’s International Zionist Organization
Rama Enav, UN Representative
Geneva

 

Federation of American Women’s Clubs Overseas
Pamela Perraud, NGO Director
United States

 

Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law
Yevgeniy Zhovtis, Director
Kazakhstan

 

Lismore Presentation Sisters.
Anne Shay, Justice Coordinator
Australia

 

AfricaTalks.org
Dr. Amos Anyimadu, Convenor
Ghana

 

International Multiracial Shared Cultural Organization
Frank Weston, Chairman
United States

 

San Francisco Bay Area Darfur Coalition
Silvestro Akara Bakhiet, Chairman
United States

 

Swedish Architects for Peace and Development
Sven Thiberg, Chair
Sweden

 

Femmes Africa Solidarité
Julia Sestier, Networking Coordinator
Geneva/Dakar

 

Environmental Protection Society
Abdul Wahab, Chairman
Pakistan

 

Save the Nations of Darfur
Seraphya Berrin, Co-Founder
Israel
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Charlie Clements, President and Executive Director
United States
World Federation for Mental Health
Myrna Lachenal, Representative to the UN
Switzerland
3HO Foundation
Deva Kaur Khalsa, Chief Administrative Officer and Main Representative
Spain
The International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
Mary Lawlor, Director
Ireland

 

Greek Helsinki Monitor
Panayote Dimitras, Spokesperson
Greece

 

International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies
Dr. Yael Danieli, Senior Representative
United States

 

European Union of Public Relations
Alessandro Pettenuzzo, President
Italy

 

Union People of Darfur in U.K. & N. Ireland
Yahia Elbashir, Human Rights Officer
United Kingdom

 

United Help for International Children
Yong Shin Executive, Director
South Korea
Fundacion “8 de Marzo” para la promoción de mujeres y jóvenes
Pilar Checa Relvas-Tavares, Vice-President
Spain
UN Reform Advocates
Dr. Harris O. Schoenberg, President
United States

 

University of Regina
Dr. Shreesh Juyal
Canada

 

Ingenieurs du Monde
Francois Ullmann, Chair
France

 

Solidarity in Partnership for One World in Diversity
Peter Hesse, Consul
Germany

 

International Humanist and Ethical Union
Roy W. Brown, Main Representative
Switzerland

 

Darfur Call
Ahmed M. Mohamedain, Director Advocacy and Activism
The Netherlands

 

Darfur Relief and Documentation Centre
Abdelbagi Jibril, Executive Director.
Switzerland

 

Hope for Africa International
Dr. Charles Mwape, Regional Director
Zambia

 

Society for Threatened Peoples
Ulrich Delius, Chair, Africa Desk
Germany
Association Des Etudiants Israélites de Genève
Nathalie Bilman, President
Switzerland
International Council of Jewish Women
Léonie de Picciotto, UN Representative, Geneva
Switzerland

 

Association for World Education
Rene Wadlow, Representative to the UN, Geneva
Switzerland

 

Macao Human Rights
Ht Chu
China

 

Darfur Friedens/Darfur Peace and Development Centre (DPDC)
Gibreil I. M. Hamid, President
Switzerland
The Temple of Understanding
Deva Kaur Khalsa, Geneva Representative
United States
Transnational Radical Party
Matteo Mecacci, TRP representative to the UN
Italy

 

World Population Foundation
Frans Baneke, Executive Director
The Netherlands

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