HL Deb 01 July 2004 vol 663 cc37-8WA

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, in view of the finding by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Execution that summary executions have been carried out in Darfur, they will invite President Omar el-Beshir to co-operate with the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights in setting up an independent international inquiry into the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur. [HL3246]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: We fully endorse the report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the situation in Darfur, and have discussed the findings of the report with the Government of Sudan.

Subsequent to this report the OHCHR produced 90-day action plan for the Promotion and Protection o Human Rights in Darfur, which provided for the deployment of eight human rights monitors to Darfur. We fully support this plan and are providing financial support to the OHCHR for this purpose.

The UN Security Council took note, in its presidential statement of 25 May, of the OHCHRs recommendation for the establishment of an international commission of inquiry to investigate alleged human rights abuses in Darfur. The Security Council may wish to revisit this proposal in light developments in Darfur, including the work of the national commission of inquiry set up by President Beshir.

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether, in view of alleged attacks by Sudanese Janjaweed militia on Chadian territory, they consider the situation in Darfur to be a threat to peace within the meaning of Article 39 of the United Nations Charter; and, if so, whether they will propose a resolution to the Security Council under Article 40, calling on the Sudanese Government to take immediate and active steps to disband the militia. [HL3343]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

We are concerned by reports of incursions by the Janjaweed militias into Chad. We welcome President Beshir's announcement of 18 June of his intention to disarm all outlaws, Janjaweed and armed militias in Darfur. We have consistently urged the Sudanese Government to act quickly to rein in the Janjaweed and are encouraging them to translate this statement into action.

There have been several discussions about Darfur in the Security Council. UN Security Council Resolution 1547 of 11 June called on all of the parties in Sudan to halt the fighting in the Darfur region and to conclude a political agreement without delay. Our priority now is to respond to the humanitarian crisis and support the rapid deployment of the African Union-led monitoring mission. However we will continue to consider with all partners what further pressure can be brought to bear.