United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour is scheduled to visit Sudan's western volatile region of Darfur later this week, the UN said on Tuesday.
The UN said in its news release that the week-long visit beginning on Saturday is Arbour's second trip to Sudan and comes barely a month after UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland was banned from touring the strife-torn area.
"In addition to Khartoum, the capital, and Darfur she is scheduled to go to Juba in southern Sudan where a peace agreement in January 2005 ended two decades of war between government and rebel forces," the news release said.
Arbour is currently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where she was meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and senior judicial and law enforcement officials as well as representatives of parties from across the political spectrum and human rights staff of the UN Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea.
She will then go to Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss human rights issues related to Somalia with the UN Political Office for Somalia, headed by the UN Special Representative for the Horn of African country, Francois Lonseny Fall.
Since her first visit in 2004, Arbour has issued two major reports on the situation in Sudan, one focusing on sexual violence and the other on the general human rights situation.
She now intends to see how the situation has progressed since the 2004 visit, the release said.
Early this month, the Sudanese government prevented Egeland from visiting Darfur and refugees in Chad prompting tensions between the UN and the Khartoum government.
Egeland's plane was refused permission to land in Darfur on April 2 at the start of a five-day visit to Africa's largest country, where the UN is heavily involved in trying both to ease the Darfur crisis and to promote the rehabilitation of the recently pacified South.
Egeland has described the situation in Darfur and in the refugees camps in neighboring Chad the worst humanitarian crisis in the world right now.
The UN has indicated it could send peacekeepers by the end of the year or at the beginning of 2007 to take over from AU troops, which have failed to restore peace in Darfur.
(Xinhua News Agency April 26, 2006)