A delegation of five MEPs from the EP Development Committee will visit Darfur from 30 June to 6 July, where they will visit camps of displaced people in Darfur as well as camps of Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad. The delegation will be led by Josep Borrell, the chair of the Development Committee.
In the light of the humanitarian situation in Sudan, Mr Borrell hopes that "preparations to deploy the mixed African Union-United Nations peacekeeping force will speed up" in the western province of Darfur, where the conflict has since 2003 left over 200,000 people dead, while 2.5 million have been displaced, both inside the country and to neighbouring countries such as Chad.
Thierry Cornillet (ALDE, FR), the EP's standing rapporteur on humanitarian aid, said "the important thing is to save lives. We must increase the European Union's humanitarian aid, while not forgetting that a political solution is needed to the conflict and that work towards that must go on in parallel".
The delegation is also due to meet representatives of the Sudanese government and the Sudanese national assembly on 4 July.
The decision to send this delegation follows the appearances at the EP of Nobel Prize winners Jody Williams and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who, at a special meeting on Darfur with MEPs on 5 June, argued that protecting people against ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and genocide is a responsibility of the international community requiring coordinated action and sanctions.
In an urgent resolution adopted on 15 February this year, Parliament called on the EU to adopt "targeted sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes". It added that "sanctions against Sudan should also include the threat of an oil embargo".
The other members of the EP delegation are José Ribeiro e Castro (EPP-ED, PT), Frithjof Schmidt (Greens/EFA, DE) and J=FCrgen Schröder (EPP-ED, DE).