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Vatican denounces violence in Darfur

The Vatican criticised daily brutality in Sudan's Darfur region and said an institution was needed specifically to deal with the plight of internally displaced people.

"The attacks are brutal and violent and human rights violations are a daily occurrence," said a statement released on Monday that quoted Monsignor Fortunatus Nwachukwu of the Vatican mission to the United Nations and UN agencies.

"Particularly vulnerable are women subjected to rape and other forms of degradation," he told delegates last week at a meeting in Geneva of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Nwachukwu said those who succeeded in leaving Darfur -- where Arab militias backed by the government are razing villages in a war against rebels from the black population -- and gaining access to refugee camps across the border in Chad were the luckier ones.

"If individuals and families stay behind, they end up joining one of the largest internally displaced families in the world, often at high risk and where security cannot be guaranteed," he said.

The UNHCR agency is mandated to help and protect refugees, thus people who have left their country, and its access to people who have fled their homes but remain in their country remains problematic.

Vatican denounces violence in Darfur, urges more aid for displaced (AFP/ 14/3/05)

15 Mar 2005