The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern, T.D., said today:
“On reading the UN Secretary-General's report of 5 October 2006, I am even more deeply concerned by the appalling security, humanitarian and human rights situation in Darfur. In this report, the Secretary General warns that Darfur is at a critical stage, with insecurity at its highest levels and humanitarian access at its lowest levels since 2004.
The UN estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in Darfur since 2003, nearly 2 million have been forced to flee their homes –including 10,000 people displaced this week -and over 3 million depend on humanitarian aid for food, shelter and basic health care. Unless security significantly improves, humanitarian groups will be forced to withdrawn or drastically curtail their acutely –needed activities. Overall, the Government has provided over €12 million in humanitarian assistance to Darfur since 2004.
The decision by the Government of Sudan to seek a military solution, coupled with fighting among armed groups, shows utter disregard for the May 2006 Darfur Peace Agreement. It is clear from the killing and suffering being caused to civilians that combatants are not distinguishing between civilian and military targets. I urgently call on all parties in the strongest terms to halt the violence and uphold their obligations to protect civilians.
Ireland is using all avenues to urge concerted international action to resolve the continuing humanitarian and political crisis in Darfur. We are extremely active bilaterally, both at EU level and in the UN context. We will continue to use every opportunity to persuade the Government of Sudan to accept a UN force in Darfur.”
6 October 2006