IPS/allAfrica

United Nations — Russia and China, two veto-wielding permanent members of the Security Council described as key arms suppliers to the embattled regime in Syria, are now accused of supplying weapons and fuelling an ongoing conflict in another military hotspot: Sudan.

In a report released Thursday, the London-based Amnesty International (AI) said weapons sales by China and Russia, including ammunition, helicopter gunships, attack aircraft, air-to-ground rockets and armoured vehicles, have resulted in serious human rights violations in Darfur, Sudan.

AI said that arms supplied to the government of Sudan are used in Darfur both directly by the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and government- backed militia, including the Popular Defence Force (PDF).

The PDF formally commanded and equipped by SAF operates alongside them, including by being deployed on SAF vehicles, while Chinese-made small arms ammunition is being used in Darfur by SAF, other Sudanese security agencies and SAF-backed militia groups.

“These arms transfers highlight the urgent need to strengthen the existing ineffectual U.N. arms embargo and for governments to agree on an effective Arms Trade Treaty (which is currently under negotiation),” it said.

Asked about these weapons sales, Pieter Wezeman, a senior researcher at the Arms Transfers Programme of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), told IPS that AI’s conclusions are fully in line with those of the reports of U.N. panels of experts which have investigated arms flows into Darfur, and which have described the weapons used in Darfur.  Read more…