High Level Mission to Darfur 2007

Dates: February 2007
Location: Chad Darfur region

Description

A high-level mission to Sudan’s Darfur region, decreed by the UN Human Rights Council and led by Nobel Peace Laureate Jody Williams, began its work on 5 February 5th with briefings, interviews, and discussion in Geneva. The mission departed to Addis Ababa on February 10th. It retuned to Geneva in early March to prepare and present a report to the Human Rights Council during its Fourth Session.

The Government of Sudan derailed plans for the second part of the mission by withholding visas to members. The Mission as a group decided to continue its work to assess the situation by visiting Darfurians outside Sudan, in Chad.

Jody Williams from N’Djamena, Chad, reported:

“Yesterday, Sunday, 18 February, I was in a refugee camp near the border with Darfur. I asked to have time alone with Darfurian women. Another woman on our team was with me, along with a female translator. When we first entered the steamingly hot building and sat on the floor with the 30 women, there was one woman at the side, sitting in a chair. She had wrapped her shawl — blue with black designs — all around her face, and then over her head. She was too ashamed to show her face. She had been so traumatized by gang rape during an attack, that she would not talk. About one-half hour into our ongoing discussions, she unwrapped the shawl and showed her face. In the space of the little over one hour of time we had with the women, we were told stories of eight rapes — six of those women were in the room. All were from different villages, and all had been gang raped.”

Laureate

Jody Williams

Delegates

Mart Nutt, Estonian parliamentarian 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

Makarim Wibisono, Indonesian Ambassador, President of the 61st session of the Commission on Human Rights.

Find out more

Media Coverage

Lacking visas, UN mission on Darfur to carry out work without visit to Sudan. UN News, 14 February 2007