Amnesty: Chinese, Russian arms sales fuel Darfur violence

Arms sales from China and Russia are fuelling serious human rights violations in Darfur, Amnesty International said Feb. 8. A new briefing, “Sudan: No end to Violence in Darfur,” documents how China, Russia, and Belarus continue to supply weapons and munitions to Sudan despite compelling evidence that the arms will be used against civilians in Darfur. Exports include supplying significant quantities of ammunition, helicopter gunships, attack aircrafts, air-to-ground rockets and armored vehicles. Although the war has largely disappeared from global headlines, an estimated 70,000 people were displaced from eastern Darfur in 2011, in a renewed wave of ethnically targeted attacks against the Zaghawa community by Sudanese government forces and militias. Amnesty said that arms supplied to the government of Sudan are used in Darfur both directly by the Sudan Armed Forces; and government-backed militia including the Popular Defense Force. (AI, Feb. 8)

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir meanwhile accused foreign groups of profiting from the crisis in Darfur. Bashir made his remarks in a speech delivered Feb. 8 during a packed rally held at the stadium of El Fashir, capital of North Darfur state, to celebrate the inauguration of the Darfur Regional Authority, established under the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, signed last July between the Sudanese government and the Liberation and Justice Movement (LJM) rebel group. Bashir singled out the Save Darfur Coalition, a US-based advocacy group, as an example of those who made profits out of Darfur. He told the crowd that those in charge of coalition had raised gigantic amounts of fund to help Darfur, but they ended up putting that money in their own pockets. (Sudan Tribune, Feb. 9)

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