U.N. Rights Council Stops Short Of Blaming Sudan

Friday, March 30th 2007, 7:52 am

By: News On 6

GENEVA (AP) _ The U.N. Human Rights Council expressed concern over the situation in Darfur on Friday, but stopped short of criticizing Sudan's government.

The compromise resolution passed by consensus without a vote after Germany agreed to remove any mention of holding Khartoum responsible for the ``armed attacks on civilian population and humanitarian workers, widespread destruction of villages, and continued and widespread violence.''

The resolution took note of a report released earlier this month by a group of experts that accused the government of President Omar al-Bashir of orchestrating attacks by Arab janjaweed militiamen against civilians in Darfur.

The resolution _ which bridged the positions of the European Union and African countries led by Algeria _ also expressed regret that the group led by American Nobel laureate Jody Williams was unable to visit the western Sudanese region. However, it neither criticized Sudan's government for blocking the mission or officially adopted the report's findings.

Khartoum refused to grant visas to Williams' six-member team to visit Darfur because it said one of the experts was biased.

The council's resolution called on Sudan to allow a new group of experts to visit the region. As at the last team's establishment, Khartoum immediately pledged cooperation.

More than 200,000 people have been killed and more than 2.5 million driven from their homes in Darfur in four years of fighting between rebels and militias.

The resolution passed by the 47-nation council makes no mention of the recommendations in the Williams report that U.N. peacekeepers be deployed to Darfur in support of a poorly equipped African Union force there, and that Sudan cooperate with prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in The Hague examining war crimes allegations.

The issue of Darfur is seen as a key credibility test for the council, which replaced the discredited U.N. Human Rights Commission last year but has already suffered its own share of criticism for focusing heavily on alleged Israeli abuses, while ignoring crises in other parts of the world.

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