Sudan's Bishops Ask U.N. to Protect Human Rights in Country

RUMBEK, Sudan, APRIL 9, 2003 ( The Sudan Catholic bishops’ conference called for the renewal of the mandate of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the country.

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The presence of a U.N. envoy is necessary because “military action of armed groups supported by the Khartoum regime continued to violate the lives and safety of villages in the oil-rich areas in the recent months.”

The request is included in a statement of the bishops of southern Sudan, the Catholic Information Service for Africa reported last month. It is signed by Bishop Cesare Mazzolari of Rumbek.

The urgency not to delay control in the region has led bishops to exert pressure on representatives of the African governments attending the 59th Session of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights, which is taking place in Geneva through April 25.

“The primary victims of violence so far are civilians, who in the thousands have fled the violence,” the bishops stressed.

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