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Germany

Germany Augments Aid to Sudan

The German government on Wednesday set aside another €20 million ($24 million) to help Sudanese refugees, bringing the total to €35 million. It also called for a swift UN resolution against the Sudanese government.

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Refugees are in dire need of water and food

The money is earmarked to help refugees in Sudan's Darfur region, who have been fleeing from members of the so-called Janjaweed milita.

According to UN estimates, about 30,000 people have been murdered, one million have fled their homes and more than two million are in desperate need of food and medical aid.

At an EU foreign ministers meeting earlier this week, Germany and Britain pressed for strong action against the Sudanese government to disarm Janjaweed militia - accused of raping and murdering thousands.

German Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul and German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer on Wednesday called on the UN to quickly pass a resolution threatening the Sudanese government with sanctions should it not move to end the violence.

Russians stall on UN resolution

The UN Security Council was scheduled to discuss a resolution on Wednesday, but Russia, which holds a veto in that body, has so far refused to act right away. Sudanese leaders should get a "brief, but appropriate" period of time to get the situation under control it argued.

Demonstration für die Regierung in Sudan

Hundreds of Sudanese women on Wednesday protested the threat of foreign intervention in front of UN headquarters in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum.

Sudanese government officials on the other hand have denied that they are refusing to cooperate and said they are doing all they can to disarm the groups. They also said that they will defend themselves against foreign troops entering the country.

This comes after British government officials said they would be willing to send 5,000 troops to the region to defend refugee camps. The German government has pushed for peace-keeping troops from the African Union to be deployed as soon as possible. Germany funds these troops with €1 million.

Action plan on human rights

Bundesentwicklungsministerin Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul zu Darfur

Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul

Wieczorek-Zeul (photo) on Wednesday also presented the government's first plan of action to strengthen human rights in developing countries.

The plan, which runs until 2007, includes supporting anti-corruption efforts, empowering people to help themselves, the promotion of political, economic, social and cultural rights as well as equal rights for women.

"The sale of women, female circumcision and sexual abuse of children are among the worst violations of human rights," Wieczorek-Zeul said, adding that the government would also work to prevent the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Germany will also help set up an African court of human rights, which has already been approved by the African Union.

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