Human Rights First Welcomes Abuja Agreement – Calls on the International Community to Redouble Its Leadership So Peace Will Last
New York – Human Rights First welcomes the announcement by the African Union that the government of Sudan and a leading Darfur rebel group have accepted the terms of a proposed Darfur Peace Agreement.
“If this agreement is to succeed there must be ongoing leadership, pressure and attention by the international community at the highest levels,” said Maureen Byrnes, Executive Director of Human Rights First.
Human Rights First calls on the international community to take two immediate steps:
1. Appointment of a UN Special Envoy. The U.N. Secretary General – with the active support of the United States and the other members of the Security Council – should immediately appoint an internationally-respected figure as special envoy to help steer the implementation of the agreement and further related negotiations. A special envoy would work in close cooperation with the African Union and coordinate the commitment of the international community to provide the necessary security and protection for all participants in the dialogue.
“The mistrust on all sides of the table requires that the U.N. appoint a special envoy to closely monitor the implementation of the agreement, especially about issues of security, power and wealth sharing,” said Byrnes.
2. An open and locally based peace process of all parties affected. The Darfur-Darfur Dialogue and Consultation, a community-based reconciliation process in the region, is essential to a lasting peace in Darfur. The DDDC proposed by the agreement must include sheiks and tribal leaders, refugees, internally displaced persons, women, rebel groups, militias, civil society, exiled Darfurians, and others.
“To ensure that the next phase in the peace negotiations will not be as vulnerable to manipulation by the parties, especially the government of Sudan, it will be essential for it to have strong leadership, with the backing of the international community – the envoy can play that role,” said Byrnes.
To learn more about the call for a Special UN Envoy for Peace in Darfur, go to www.hopefordarfur.org