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The U.N. Security Council’s new resolution on Sudan fails to provide protection for endangered civilians in the country’s western Darfur region.

“The Security Council will be judged harshly by history,” said Peter Takirambudde, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Africa Division. “The resolution on Darfur is a pitiful response to ongoing murder, rape and ethnic cleansing.”

Despite overwhelming evidence of the Sudanese government’s direct and indirect participation in the killings and the violent displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians, and its repeated failure to disarm the Janjaweed militia, the Security Council’s response fell far short of what is needed to end the atrocities in Darfur.

Human Rights Watch said that the Security Council should have imposed an oil embargo on the Sudanese government rather than just threaten to take action ‘to affect Sudan’s petroleum sector and the Government of Sudan or individual members of the Government of Sudan’ in the event of further non-compliance with Security Council demands. By failing to impose an oil embargo on Sudan, the Security Council has ensured that the Sudanese government will have the resources necessary to continue its scorched-earth campaign in Darfur, Human Rights Watch said.

The Security Council also should have imposed an expanded arms embargo on the Sudanese government. By not expanding the arms embargo to include the government of Sudan, the Security Council has permitted the continued flow of arms to forces committing widespread atrocities.

The resolution approved the deployment of an expanded African Union monitoring force, but it remains an insufficient international presence to ensure the protection of civilians. The resolution also approved the establishment of an international commission of inquiry to establish accountability for human rights violations that have taken place.

“Although the expanded monitoring force and the international commission of inquiry represent a step forward, the Security Council’s response is more notable for what it did not do,” Takirambudde said. “Most critically, the Security Council failed to name the Sudanese government as clearly responsible for continuing atrocities in Darfur.”

Human Rights Watch was particularly critical of those governments—Algeria, China, Pakistan and Russia—that refused to support this lukewarm resolution. “It is inconceivable that while Darfur continues to burn, these four states can afford the luxury of abstaining even on this toothless resolution,” said Takirambudde.

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