UNITED NATIONS Refugees are Sudan's responsibility
The 'Plan of Action' requires designation of safe areas.
GENEVA (AP) -- A top U.N. human rights investigator blamed the Sudanese government for atrocities against its civilians in the Darfur region, warning Friday that "millions of civilians" could die.
Moving to safeguard the endangered population, a new U.N.-Sudan agreement finalized Friday requires Sudan's government to create safe areas in Darfur within 30 days so civilians can live without fear of attack.
The "Plan of Action for Darfur" would halt all military operations by government forces, militias and rebel groups in the safe areas, likely to be set up in camps where thousands of Sudanese have taken refuge and around villages that still have large populations.
In the human rights report, Asma Jahangir, the U.N. investigator on executions, said there was "overwhelming evidence" that killings in Darfur were carried out "in a coordinated manner by the armed forces of the government and government-backed militias."
"The current humanitarian disaster unfolding in Darfur, for which the government is largely responsible, has put millions of civilians at risk, and it is very likely that many will die in the months to come as a result of starvation and disease," the Pakistani lawyer said in a report based on a 13-day visit to the region in June.
The scale of violations means they "could constitute crimes against humanity for which the government of the Sudan must bear responsibility," she said in the 26-page report to the U.N. Human Rights Commission.
A leading U.S. lawmaker toured camps in eastern Chad holding hundreds of thousands of refugees and said he would investigate the relationship between the Sudanese government and the militias.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist also said the threat of U.N. sanctions against Sudan was not enough to end the violence.