SUDAN PLANS A BID TO STOP U.N. TROOPS
By Michelle Nichols Fri
Aug 18, 5:37 PM ET
YORK (Reuters) - Sudan's plan to send 10,500 new government troops to its Darfur region would violate a peace
deal and is just a bid by Khartoum to stop the deployment
of U.N. peacekeepers, a rights watchdog said on Friday.
Human Rights Watch said
it had obtained a copy of the plan by Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who is opposed to a U.N. force taking over
from the under-financed African Union troops that have been the only bulwark against violence in Darfur.
Britain and the United States
introduced a Security Council resolution on Thursday to send some 17,000 U.N. peacekeepers to Darfur,
where more than 2.5 million people have been made homeless since 2003 by a campaign of ethnic cleansing.
"The Sudanese government's
plan is a recipe for inflicting even more abuses on a devastated civilian population," said Peter Takirambudde, Africa director at the U.S.-based Human Rights Watch.
wants the U.N. to endorse a plan that would throw out the Darfur peace agreement. It wouldn't
help protect civilians from constant attack or make it safe enough for them to return home."
The May peace deal was signed
by only one of three negotiating rebel factions and rejected by tens of thousands of people in Sudan's vast west.
Then in July Darfur saw
the bloodiest month for the world's largest aid operation since the conflict began with eight humanitarian workers killed
and access to the 3.6 million people dependent on aid is at its lowest ever level.
"This Sudanese plan is just
the latest maneuver to prevent a U.N. force from helping protect civilians in Darfur," Takirambudde
The U.S. and British Security Council resolution, which asks for U.N. reinforcements to be sent
no later than October 1, can be adopted without consent from Sudan but
in practice troops cannot be deployed until Khartoum agrees.
Tens of thousands of people
have died since fighting flared more than 3 1/2 years ago and millions are living in squalid camps in Sudan's arid west or neighboring Chad.
In response to a rebel uprising,
the Arab-dominated central government in Khartoum armed so-called
Janjaweed militias, who conducted a campaign of murder, looting and rape. In recent months, in-fighting among the rebels has
resulted in similar atrocities against civilians.