GENEVA, (Reuters) – The United Nations new human rights watchdog agreed on Wednesday to send a high-level mission to Sudan’s Darfur to probe allegations of worsening abuses against the civilian population.
The 47-state Human Rights Council, which is holding its first special session on Darfur, approved a consensus proposal leaving the naming of the five “highly qualified” team members up to the council chairman.
The council, launched in June as part of U.N. reform, was under pressure to show it can act effectively on Darfur where aid officials say more than 200,000 have died in violence over the past three years.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the opening session on Tuesday the council had to help end the “nightmare” of violence by sending a “clear and united message … that the current situation is simply unacceptable”.
After two days of tough haggling over membership of the mission, it was agreed that council chairman, Mexican ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, should name the team and that it would be accompanied by the U.N. special investigator for Sudan, Sima Samar of Afghanistan.