UN rights council drops Darfur group
( AP ) - The U.N. Human Rights Council on Friday dissolved a group of experts tasked with monitoring abuses in the Darfur region after demands from African countries to ease political pressure on Sudan.
The unanimous decision to halt the mission of the seven rights experts comes a week after the group accused Sudan of failing to protect civilians in Darfur from rape, torture and other violence.
The task of overseeing the Sudanese government's progress in protecting human rights in Darfur will now fall to the U.N.'s special envoy to Sudan, Simar Samar, whose mandate was extended for a year.
Rights groups condemned the decision not to renew the experts' mandate.
"There has been an unacceptable compromise by the council on the issue of Darfur," Julie de Rivero of the New York-based Human Rights Watch told reporters.
"We feel that Sudan has been rewarded for its obstruction and its failure to implement recommendations" made by the expert group, she said
De Rivero said negotiations this week between the main blocs within the council - the European Union, African states and the Organization of the Islamic Conference - appeared to have been aimed at appeasing the government of Sudan and its allies.
European officials expressed satisfaction at the council's decision, noting Samar would be able to continue working.
More than 200,000 people have died and more than 2.5 million have been displaced since 2003 in the conflict between Darfur's ethnic African rebels and the Arab-dominated Sudanese government and its militia allies.