U.N. Adopts Resolution on Sudan

The U.N. Human Rights Commission (search) on Thursday adopted a resolution condemning abuses in Sudan, passing by consensus compromise wording on how to improve the situation in the embattled Darfur region.

The resolution had support from Sudan (search) and other African nations, the United States, the European Union (search) and others. It was approved after the EU withdrew a more stiffly worded document.

The final resolution was the result of weeks of heavy negotiations between the EU, the United States and African nations.

The Africans agreed to remove wording that praised the Sudanese governments steps to improve the situation in Darfur (search), while the Western countries dropped specific condemnation of the Sudanese government.

The resolution said, "The commission condemns continued, widespread and systematic violations by all parties of human rights and international humanitarian law" in Darfur.

It specifically condemned "the violence against civilians and sexual violence against women and girls, destruction of villages, widespread displacement and other violations."

Although the resolution didn't specify the government, human rights organizations have accused Khartoum of being responsible for much of the violence either directly or through militias it backs in putting down a rebellion.

Former U.S. Senator Rudy Boschwitz (search), who heads the United States delegation, said that while there had been improvements overall in Sudan in recent weeks, "the terrible tragedy continues in Darfur."

"Violence, atrocities and crimes against humanity regularly occur," he said. "Attacks on humanitarian workers continue. Displaced people, especially women, are vulnerable to murder, rape and abuse.

"While the African Union has done a commendable job of reducing violence in areas it patrols, the security situation remains precarious in large portions of Darfur," Boschwitz said.

The western Sudanese region of Darfur has been the scene of what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis. An estimated 180,000 people have died in the upheaval and about 2 million others have been displaced since the conflict began in February 2003.

The Darfur conflict began when rebels took up arms against what they saw as years of state neglect and discrimination against Sudanese of African origin. The government is accused of responding with a counterinsurgency campaign in which the Janjaweed, an Arab militia, committed wide-scale abuses against the African population.