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November 24, 2009

Weapons of War still flow into Darfur in violation of UN Embargo

A new report by the UN Security Council panel of experts states that the Darfur arms embargo has been blatantly violated by all parties, including Sudanese government forces, allied Janjaweed militias, rebel groups and insurgents from neighboring Chad. The 2005 embargo restricted arms exports into Darfur but not the rest of Sudan, so while it is permissible for Sudan to import arms, transferring them to Darfur is a violation.

The panel notes the "prominence of Chinese manufactured arms and ammunition found among the material that the Panel documented in Darfur". Although other Chinese companies were mentioned in the report, China North Industries Corporation and China Xinshidai Company are described as makers of the type of ammunition that was described as "omnipresent" in Darfur. Also the attack and transport helicopters, Antonov bombers and jet Fan-Tan bombers. The Panel states that the army and Janjaweed are using hundreds of new Toyota Land Cruisers. The UN panel found that the Sudan Armed Forces in Darfur have been using mostly equipment brought to Darfur after the 2005 sanctions measures. "Almost all the documented ammunition, vehicles and aviation equipment, and much other military materiel is of post-embargo production.."

Sudan also continues to violate the arms embargo by deploying entire armed units to the Darfur region as belligerents.
The report highlights the human costs of warfare in Darfur past and present. It cites the deaths of scores of civilians throughout 2009. It notes that "the women of Darfur, roughly half of the population of the region, continue to suffer from all forms of gender-based violence".

West Darfur is the launching point for Chadian rebel offensives against Chad. Roughly 95% of Chadian rebels are based in Sudan, says General Balla Keita who heads UNAMID, the UN-African peacekeeping force in Darfur. The Chadian rebels are directly tied to the Sudanese Government National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) in terms of supplies, training, and command structure.
In an annex to the UN report is a scanned copy of a signed letter from Chadian rebel commander Timan Erdimi addressed to the Sudanese Director of Security Services. The translated document states, "In my own name, and on behalf of all the combatants of our movement, I would like to express my deep respect and feelings of gratefulness for all the support you have provided us and the efforts you exerted to give us material and moral support in order to help our cause"
The letter included a request for 2,000 vehicles, 12,000 SPG-9 rockets, 10,000 rocket-propelled grenades, 4,800 107 mm rockets, and other armaments. It is dated April 15, 2009, within weeks of a rebel assault into Chad.

Sudanese security personnel provided the equipment to the Chadian rebels, escorted deliveries of vehicles to Chadian bases in West Darfur, and sponsored training sessions.

"Financing provided by the Government of the Sudan to Chadian armed opposition groups enables them to rent houses in El Geneina and in Khartoum, where their leadership has been observed spending months during reunification and alliance-building talks, and to work closely with the Sudanese security services" stated the report. "Convalescent combatants are given housing in Khartoum and are eventually returned to their West Darfur bases in Government of the Sudan aircraft and vehicles."

An except of the Report

Report of the Panel of Experts established pursuant to
resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan

UN Arms Embargo Fails to Stop Flow of Munitions in Darfur
Monday, November 23, 2009
Most of the major armed actors in the Darfur conflict have continued to
exercise their military options, violate the United Nations arms embargo and
international humanitarian and human rights law, and impede the peace process.
The Darfurian population continues to be victimized by the effects of attacks
and counter-attacks involving most of the armed movements that frequently lead to
the disproportionate use of force by the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and their
auxiliary forces, and result in killings, injuries and displacements. Internally
displaced persons continue to suffer from the inability to return to their homes and
from acts of banditry, as well as from the lack of adequate humanitarian services,
partly caused by the expulsion of international non-governmental organizations on
4 March 2009.
All parties to the conflict continue to fail to meet their affirmative obligations
under international humanitarian and human rights law in areas under their control.
The system of administration of justice of the Government of the Sudan has failed to
provide redress to victims of human rights violations perpetrated in the context of the
conflict in Darfur. Lacking adequate systems of justice, rebel movements, both
signatories and non-signatories to the Darfur Peace Agreement, have also failed to
uphold human rights and the rule of law in areas under their control. Perpetrators of
violations of international humanitarian and human rights law are allowed impunity
and victims are not compensated for their suffering.
The women of Darfur, roughly half of the population of the region, continue to
suffer from all forms of gender-based violence. The Panel of Experts has conducted
dozens of in-depth interviews and interacted with hundreds of women of all ages
who have related the various forms of abuse and violence that they are experiencing
and that highlight the failure of the Government of the Sudan and the parties to the
conflict to protect women.
- The Government of the Sudan, while demanding respect for its privileges
as a sovereign State, also falls short in exercising transparency and accountability.
Government officials often object to inquiries made by the Panel under its mandate
and offer lip service while committing sanctions violations. Restrictions placed by
the Government of the Sudan on the freedom of movement of UNAMID flight
operations have had a direct impact on the Panel's ability to conduct some of its
independent monitoring missions.
Representatives of the Government of the Sudan contend that there has been no
need to seek prior approval from the Committee established pursuant to resolution
1591 (2005) in order to move military equipment and supplies into the Darfur region,
as required-
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