Nairobi (Kenya), Dec.12 (ANI): The Sudanese government's indiscriminate aerial bombardment and shelling in Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan states has killed and injured scores of civilians since the conflict began more than a year ago, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
Government forces have raided villages, burned and looted civilian property, arbitrarily detained people, and assaulted and raped women and girls.
The 39-page report, "Under Siege," is based on five research missions to the hard-to-access rebel-held areas in the two states and to refugee camps in South Sudan.
It documents the government's indiscriminate bombing and other attacks on civilians since conflict between the government of Sudan and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) broke out in June 2011 in Southern Kordofan following disputed state elections.
The report also describes the effect of Sudan's refusal to allow humanitarian assistance into rebel-held areas.
Hundreds of thousands of people are displaced inside the two states, surviving on very little, while more than 200,000 have fled to refugee camps in South Sudan and Ethiopia.
"Sudan's indiscriminate bombs are killing and maiming women, men, and children, who are running scared and going hungry," said Daniel Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "The international community should end its silence and demand an immediate end to these abuses."
The United Nations, African Union (AU), League of Arab States, the European Union (EU) and its member states, along with other key countries such as the United States, China, South Africa, and Qatar, should forcefully press Sudan to end the indiscriminate bombing immediately and stop blocking access to aid.
The HRW also said that they should call on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to establish a commission of inquiry into violations by both government and rebel forces since the conflict started. Researchers have also received reports of violations by rebel forces, such as indiscriminate shelling of government-held towns, but could not access government-held areas to confirm the reports.
Those responsible for serious crimes should be held to account and subject to targeted sanctions, such as asset freezes and travel bans, Human Rights Watch said.
The need for accountability for mass crimes is especially pressing in Sudan, where President Omar al-Bashir; Ahmed Haroun, the Southern Kordofan governor; and Abdulraheem Mohammed Hussein, the current defense minister, are already subject to arrest warrants by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for atrocities committed in Darfur.
The ICC prosecutor will brief the UN Security Council on progress on the court's Darfur investigation on December 13. (ANI)