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Testimony at the UN

Darfur Mission is Credible and Its Report Must Be Respected
 

Speech to UN Human Rights Council, 4th Regular Session
Debate on Report by Mission to Darfur Headed by Jody Williams
March 16, 2007

Delivered by Hillel Neuer



Click for original UN video   
(requires RealPlayer program)

 

Mr. President,

The Darfur Mission asks the Council to recognize what every ordinary citizen already knows:  that Sudan bears responsibility for large-scale international crimes.

The world now looks to this assembly. The credibility of this Council is at stake.

The arguments of Sudan are like those of the child who murders his parents and then asks for mercy on the grounds of being an orphan.  Sudan refused the Mission entry to Darfur, connived to have their representative on the team resign, and now invokes these as grounds to disqualify the report.  Both arguments are hollow and, as stated by Ghana, contrary to prior precedent.

We are also deeply disappointed by comments made by the Arab League, the OIC, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba and many others, challenging the legitimacy of the mission and treating its work as a “non-report.”  The country that invoked the Most Compassionate and Merciful showed neither compassion nor mercy for the victims of Darfur.  A great power acted not with greatness, but out of Olympic-sized commercial interests.


UN Watch urges these parties to recognize that the Mission and its report are eminently credible, and not to ignore the following basic facts:

  • First, that the mandate of this Mission respected the principles of due process.  It did not prejudge.  The Mission was instructed “to assess the human rights situation in Darfur and the needs of the Sudan in this regard.”  Unlike the missions on Israel, this one did not begin backwards, by starting with the verdict and then seeking facts to support it.

  • Second, that the mandate respected the principles of objectivity and non-selectivity.  Unlike the missions, this one was not limited to examining the violations of only one actor in the region of concern.  Its scope covered the actions of all parties.  Indeed, the team noted violations on all sides.

  • Third, that Sudan participated in the mandate’s negotiation, together with the groups of which it is a member.  This privilege was not afforded to the concerned country in the council’s previous special sessions.  Sudan was given fair treatment, even deference.  The team was instructed to consult with the Khartoum government, and it repeatedly attempted to do so.  Sudan promised cooperation, and was even praised for cooperation in the resolution.  But it has not cooperated.

  • Fourth, that Sudan and its allies participated in negotiating the team’s composition.  As a result, unlike previous Council missions, this one saw the appointment of ambassadors from governments who often voted with the country concerned, one of whom had defended and praised Sudan at the December session. 


Mr. President,

The government of Sudan and its supporters have no claim against this mandate or this team.  It has been judged by an eminently fair proceeding, and it must respect that judgment.

If this Council cannot endorse the recommendations of this report, it will cast a shadow upon the reputation of the UN as a whole.

Thank you.





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