Instead of being upset about the substance of the report, they seem to be only upset about the leak. From AP, with thanks to Twostellas:
GENEVA (AP)–Muslim countries Thursday protested the leaking of a U.N. report that accused Sudanese forces of raping non-Arab women and girls, bombing civilians and committing other atrocities in what may amount to “crimes against humanity.”
“This is a matter of concern to all of us,” said Pakistani Ambassador Shaukat Umer in demanding an investigation into who passed the report to reporters.
Umer, who was joined by delegates from Bahrain and Sudan in his protest, noted that Bertrand Ramcharan, the acting U.N. high commissioner for human rights, had denied that the report had been given to the news media by his office.
“The fact remains that this report has been leaked. It has been leaked from somewhere,” Umer said. “Since member states apparently do not have this report, it would be reasonable to assume that it has been leaked from the office.”
The 13-page report was the latest expression of U.N. alarm about indications that thousands of civilians had been killed and hundreds of thousands driven from their homes following a rebellion in the province.
The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, which has been trying to care for refugees who have reached neighboring Chad, noted as early as last September reports of alleged atrocities in the province.
Ramcharan said he received the report Monday from a team of U.N. experts just back from visiting the refugees and had intended to make it public.
But he said held off because of a last-minute invitation from the Sudanese government for the team to be able to try to verify the allegations by visiting Darfur province.
The team was dispatched Tuesday, less than 24 hours after the invitation was received, and they are already in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum, Ramcharan said.
“I have held to the belief that I will not release the document since my team is on the ground and I am sensitive to the security implications of this,” he said.
He said, however, he would issue the report immediately if the team encounters “any difficulties on the ground.”
Ramcharan said he also held back on the release to give the team an opportunity to look at the situation first hand and to review the document before it became public.
The report, based on interviews with some of the estimated 110,000 Sudanese refugees in Chad earlier this month, was obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press.
“The mission was able to identify disturbing patterns of massive human rights violations in Darfur, many of which may constitute war crimes and/or crimes against humanity,” it said.
The government has denied that it is responsible for any atrocities.
The report said the atrocities against Africans were being committed by government forces and by Arab militias.
The team originally was supposed to visit to Darfur in connection with the visit to Chad, but the Sudanese government delayed granting permission.
Human rights groups said they were suspicious that the last-minute invitation from the government was part of an attempt to keep the report from coming before the commission before it adjourns its annual six-week session Friday.
“Denying the United Nations access is one of the delaying tactics the Sudanese government is using to pull the wool over the eyes of the international community,” said Joanna Weschler of Human Rights Watch.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan told the commission earlier this month that he had “a deep sense of foreboding” about reports that Arab militia groups, with government backing, were engaged in “ethnic cleansing” against Africans in the province.
The report from the team that went to Chad said the government’s campaign to put down a rebellion in a conflict that has intensified since early last year. The rebels have been demanding the government do more for the large, poverty-stricken area.
“There was a remarkable consistency in the witness testimony received by the mission in all places visited and in discussions with refugees who had entered Chad both many months ago and also very recently,” the report said.
It said many witnesses said the government was using aircraft to attack villages and towns and that government forces or militias followed up with land attacks.
It said the attacks were often to destroy crops and property, but that there were also frequent reports of killings.
It also said, “a policy of using rape and other serious forms of sexual violence as a weapon of war seems to exist.”
“There are consistent reports amongst refugee women from various locations that ‘men in uniform’ raped and abused women and young girls.”
Rape was often committed by more than one man, sometimes in front of the victim’s family, it said.
The effect was to cause hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes, it said. It said that, besides the refugees already in Chad, 700,000 people were believed to be homeless in Darfur as a result of the campaign.
The report was obtained as officials from the Sudanese government and two rebel groups met in Chad to discuss a peaceful end to a rebellion.