Stop Darfur violence, Holy See tells UN

The Holy See has called on United Nations members to act immediately to stop the horrific violence in Sudan's Darfur region, including killing of children, rape of girls and burning of villages.

Addressing the United Nations Human Rights Council, Holy See observer Archbishop Silvano Tommasi called on the international community to act immediately to stop horrific violence including killing of children, rape of girls and women and burning of villages.

Catholic Online reports that Archbishop Tomasi made the comments on Tuesday in an address to the fourth special session of the UN Human Rights Council on "The Human Rights Situation in Darfur".

Describing the conflict between Sudanese government forces, allied militias and rebel groups seeking greater autonomy as "a major humanitarian challenge of huge proportions", Archbishop Tomasi said that Holy See has watched "with grave concern the terrible suffering of the people caught up in the tragic conflicts intermittently erupting in the Darfur region of Sudan."

He pointed to reports that in the last several weeks fighting has escalated and conditions for the civilian population have got even worse.

"The situation on the ground shows a horrific violation of human rights: killing of children, sexual abuse and rape of girls and women, forced uprooting of population, burning of villages, attacks on Internally Displaced People camps, targeting of unarmed civilians," Archbishop Tomasi said.

"To the present human and environmental disaster, the long-range consequences of such indiscriminate violence are adding more suffering," he added.

The Darfur crisis, Archbishop Tomasi said, "has provoked debates and international complaints, but insufficient effective actions".

He called on the council to build a "constructive compromise" focusing on "the plight of the victims".

"In this way," he said, "the international community will not repeat in vain 'never again', but will undertake actions of solidarity and support for a comprehensive, just and durable solution."

Archbishop Tomasi pointed to need to focus on "the plight of the people of Darfur and the protection of their basic human rights".

The priority for the international community is "to end the killings and the abuses over political arrangements and commercial interests," he stressed.

Among those who also spoke at the special session of the 47-member Human Rights Council was UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who called for immediate action to end the nightmare of civilian deaths, mass rape, millions uprooted, indiscriminate bombardment by government planes and rebel abuses.

Stop the violence, suffering, impunity in Darfur region, Vatican urges rights council (Catholic Online, 13/12/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Darfur Genocide

Caritas commits funds for Darfur emergency response (CathNews, 9/1/06)
Caritas partners kidnapped in Darfur (CathNews, 5/10/05)
Vatican denounces violence in Darfur (CathNews, 15/3/05)

14 Dec 2006