Human Rights Watch and WITNESS have released a new video (watch it | buy a copy, schedule a screening) documenting atrocities committed against civilians in Darfur, western Sudan. The video includes scenes of burned and bombed villages and extensive interviews with the civilian victims of the crisis. Villagers interviewed for the video describe attacks by "Janjaweed" militias operating in concert with Sudanese government forces, including an attack as recent as mid-July 2004.
As Human Rights Watch has documented, the government of Sudan is responsible for "ethnic cleansing" and crimes against humanity in Darfur, one of the world's poorest and most inaccessible regions. The Sudanese government and the Janjaweed militias it arms and supports have committed numerous attacks on the civilian populations of African groups, including Fur, Masalit, Zaghawa, and others. The government and its Janjaweed allies have killed thousands of civilians-often in cold blood-committed systematic rape, looted livestock, and destroyed villages, food stocks, and other supplies essential to the civilian population.
On September 18, 2004, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution threatening the Sudanese government with sanctions if it did not rein in the Janjaweed. But the new resolution failed to name the Sudanese government as responsible for the atrocities in Darfur, and did not call for enough African Union soldiers to protect Darfuri civilians. In light of the gravity of the human rights and international humanitarian law violations in Darfur, Human Rights Watch believes that the Security Council should impose an arms embargo on the Sudanese government and prevent it from selling oil abroad.
Human Rights Watch recently sent an investigative team on a more than three-week mission deep into rebel-held areas of North Darfur. Its new video, made up of footage shot in July and August 2004 by a Human Rights Watch researcher, shows regions of Darfur that no journalists or aid workers have reached. It was edited and produced in collaboration with WITNESS.
More videos from Darfur: