For Immediate Release
Frank Donaghue, Chief Executive Officer—Physicians for Human Rights (PHR):
"PHR commends International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo's request for an arrest warrant against Sudanese President Omar Al Bashir on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The world's governments, which referred the case of Darfur to the ICC through the UN Security Council, must urgently support the prosecutor's efforts to bring Al Bashir and other senior Sudanese officials to justice.
Prosecutor Moreno-Ocampo's allegation that Al Bashir's regime committed genocide including by deliberate and systematic infliction of 'conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction' of the people of Darfur is supported by PHR's repeated investigations in the region, commencing in 2004 and culminating in Assault on Survival, a 2006 PHR report. Our researchers found credible and compelling evidence that Janjaweed militias, supported and coordinated by the Sudanese government, sought to annihilate the livelihoods of Darfur's Fur, Zaghawa and Masalit tribes and their basic communal infrastructure. PHR documented how the wholesale destruction of shelter, markets, food and water supplies in Darfur was as devastating a tool of genocide as murder, rape, and displacement.
PHR takes seriously concerns about the potential impact the issuance of an arrest warrant for Al Bashir may have on civilian security and humanitarian access in the region. These valid concerns can only be addressed through the international community finally fulfilling its obligation to hold perpetrators to account while protecting civilians. Al Bashir's threat against humanitarians and others in the wake of today's events cannot be allowed to intimidate governments or undermine life-saving humanitarian assistance. They are all the more reason to speed the deployment of the stalled EUFOR and UNAMID forces and to end impunity for this regime."
PHR's Darfur Survival Campaign mobilizes health professionals, students, and members of the general public to press for urgently needed security in Darfur, including the full deployment of the UNAMID peacekeeping force of augmented African Union troops and a UN peacekeeping force of 31,000, as authorized by UN Security Council Resolution 1769. In addition, the Campaign insists on compensation and restitution for survivors.
PHR's advocacy efforts on behalf of the people of Darfur are supported by research conducted in three investigations in the region. Investigators traveled to the Chad-Sudan border to interview survivors of the genocidal attacks and to Darfur to document the devastation of three villages. Their findings are presented in two reports, The Use of Rape as a Weapon of War in the Conflict in Darfur, and Darfur – Assault on Survival: A Call for Security, Restitution and Justice.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.