UN Says Sudan Failing to Probe Alleged Rights Abuses in Darfur

Sudan’s authorities are failing to investigate accusations of rights abuses in the country’s Darfur region last year, including alleged killings and sexual assaults, the United Nations Human Rights Office said.

The joint UN-African Union mission in the western Sudanese region documented 411 cases of alleged violations committed by all parties to the conflict, of which “very few were investigated or resulted in arrests,” the UN rights agency said Friday in a statement on its website.

A report by the UN office “paints a very grim picture of the systemic failure, or outright refusal, by the authorities to take human rights violations seriously,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in the statement.

Sudanese Information Minister Ahmed Bilal Osman said by phone that the government will respond to the UN report after it meets early next week.

Insurgents took up arms in Darfur 2003, accusing President Umar al-Bashir’s government of neglecting the region. The conflict has led to the deaths of as many as 300,000 people, mainly due to illness and starvation, with about 2.5 million people currently displaced, according to UN estimates.