At least 250 people including dozens of children may have died as a result of exposure to chemical weapons in the Jebel Marra area of Darfur.
Amnesty International says it has evidence that Sudan’s government carried out at least 30 likely chemical weapons attacks in the area since January.
“During these attacks, hundreds of civilians have been shot at, tens of thousands have been displaced, and in one of the most sickening twists in the conflict in Darfur is we have discovered credible evidence that the Sudanese government has been using chemical weapons on the civilian population,” said Tirana Hassan, Amnesty International’s Director of Crisis Research.
The rights group used satellite imagery, conducted more than 200 interviews and obtained expert analysis of images showing injuries consistent with chemical weapons attacks.
Tirana Hassan explained, “We gave all of the evidence that Amnesty International collected to two independent experts who viewed the evidence, and said that there is credible evidence that there has been the use of some sort of chemical agent and in particular, there is a high possibility of the use of a vesicant, or a blistering agent such as lewisite, or sulfur mustard gas.”
“The only difference between 2004 and what is happening in Darfur today is the world has stopped watching. The abuses which have been perpetrated by the Sudanese government on the civilian population are as bad as they were in 2004. And we need to have the sort of international engagement in Sudan that the level of this crisis actually requires.”
The Sudanese government says the allegations are ‘baseless and fabricated’.
Amnesty has called for an investigation and for international pressure on Sudan’s government to allow humanitarian access to the area.
Khartoum has been fighting rebels in Darfur since 2003.