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U.N. Envoy to Darfur Discusses Continuing Crisis

The genocide in Sudan's Darfur region was named the worst human rights abuse of 2006, according to a U.S. government report released Tuesday. Jan Eliasson, who has served as the U.N. envoy to Darfur since December, discusses the crisis.

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    The killings in the Darfur region of Sudan were the focus of reports today by the U.S. government and at the United Nations. Despite international attention and concern over the past four years, the conflict continues between Darfur rebel groups and the Janjaweed militias backed by the Sudanese government.

    Hundreds of thousands have died, and more than 2.5 million are refugees.

    In an annual survey of global human rights practices, the State Department today called the genocide in Sudan "the world's worst case of abuse." And at the U.N., the special envoy for Darfur reported to the Security Council on the situation there.

    Swedish diplomat Jan Eliasson has been the U.N. envoy since December. Last month, he traveled to Sudan and met with the Sudanese president and rebel leaders. He joins us now from the United Nations.

    Welcome to you.

  • JAN ELIASSON, Swedish Diplomat:

    Thank you very much.


    So you briefed the Security Council today. What did you tell them about the situation on the ground?


    Well, I told them that it's a critical situation on the ground. We have a crisis of humanitarian operations. We have harassment of U.N. personnel and the NGO community.

    There's increased tribal fighting, which has less to do with the government and the Janjaweed, the movements.

    But one piece of good news is that the aerial bombardments in the north have ceased from the government side and also attacks from the movement, so there is some piece of good news, but generally the situation is critical.

    I flew over Darfur. I saw the camps. I saw the deserted villages. And we need now to really move on the political front to try to deal with the basic issues.