UN Rights Council appoints Nobel Peace laureate to lead mission to Darfur

26 January 2007Jody Williams, winner of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize and co-founder of the Nobel Women’s Initiative, will lead a five-person high-level mission to evaluate the human rights situation in the war-ravaged Darfur region, the United Nations Human Rights Council announced today. The Council’s President, Mexican Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, appointed the five “highly qualified persons” comprising the Darfur mission after conferring with the Council and Sima Samar, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, who will also participate in the mission.The other four members of the mission are: Mart Nutt, an Estonian Parliament Member and Member of the Council of Europe’s European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance; Bertrand Ramcharan, the former Acting and Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; Patrice Tonda, Gabon’s Permanent Representative to the International Organizations in Geneva; and Indonesian Ambassador Marakim Wibisono, President of the 61st session of the Commission on Human Rights. These members will serve in their personal capacity.The appointments come more than a month after the decision to convene a high-level panel to assess the human rights conditions in Darfur, which has witnessed countless instances of abuses, among them mass rape, abduction and forced relocation. Over 200,000 people have been killed in the region since 2003 and another 2 million displaced from their homes due to prolonged fighting among Government forces, allied militias and rebel groups.

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