HL Deb 26 May 2004 vol 661 c142WA
Lord Alton of Liverpool

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What weight they attach to the identification by the United Nations of Darfur as "the world's worst humanitarian crisis"; and whether they will set out their policy in relation to human rights violations by the Janjaweed militia in this province of Sudan. [HL2858]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

The Government are fully seized of the seriousness of the situation and the Department for International Development has committed over £16.5 million in response to the crisis.

Our priority has been to stop the fighting, so we are urging the parties to ensure their full compliance with the 8 April ceasefire agreement. For the Sudanese Government, this includes neutralising the Janjaweed. My right honourable friends, the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary of State for International Development, and my honourable friend the Minister for Africa (Chris Mullin), made clear to the Sudanese Foreign Minister when he visited London on 11 May that the Sudanese Government needed to act now to rein in the Janjaweed. Quick deployment of the African Union-led ceasefire monitoring mechanism is also key, as we expect it to have a positive impact on the security situation and in particular the protection of civilians. Should the Sudanese Government fail to take these steps, we will need to consider with all partners what further pressure can be brought to bear. We, and our EU partners, have made clear that all alleged attacks should be thoroughly investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice.