Canada Concerned Over Reported Arrests of Darfur Human Rights Workers and Journalists

(No. 354 - November 5, 2010 - 5 p.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement expressing concern over the Government of Sudan’s reported recent arrests of human rights workers and journalists in Darfur and its closing down of Radio Dabanga in Khartoum:

“Canada is deeply concerned over Sudan’s arrests of several Darfur human rights workers and journalists, as well as its closure of the Khartoum office of Radio Dabanga. This crackdown on independent media and human rights workers calls into question the government’s commitment to the reconciliation it promised in its own Darfur Strategy.

“These actions aggravate tensions in an already precarious situation and create an environment of intimidation that undermines civil-society participation in peace consultations. They send exactly the wrong message at a time when the international community is hoping for stable conditions for a free and fair referendum in January for Southern Sudan self-determination.

“Canada calls upon the Government of Sudan to allow civil society organizations, including human rights groups and the media, to operate free from harassment and intimidation. Canada also urges the government and all other parties to allow the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Mission in Darfur and humanitarian agencies full, safe, unhindered access to protect civilians, ensure security and deliver much-needed assistance to vulnerable communities in Darfur.

“Canada’s main objective is long-term peace and stability in Darfur and all of Sudan.”

Sudan is one of Canada’s foreign-policy priorities. Canada has contributed over $800 million for peace, humanitarian assistance, development aid, security and peacebuilding in Sudan since 2006. For more information on Canada’s engagement in Sudan, please consult Canada: Active in Sudan.

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For further information, media representatives may contact:

Jacques Labrie
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874