Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan
HRC has released today on the internet an advanced (unedited) version of Samar's report to the HRC 7th session.
Unlike her PR statement the report on the general HR situation in Sudan doesn’t condemn rebel faction for the deterioration of HR situation in Darfur. The report is basically a summary of the weekly reports sent by HR component in UNMIS (UNAMD) to OHCHR starting from May 07 until December 07. With the exception of the OiC and Africa group intensify there work to amend the final version. I presume that there will be a slight difference between this advanced report and the final report.
find the report bellow
Advance unedited version Distr.
21 February 2008
HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Agenda item 4
HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATIONS THAT REQUIRE
THE COUNCIL’S ATTENTION
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan
The report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Sima Samar, is submitted in accordance with Human Rights Council ResolutionA/HRC/6/L.50, in which the Council decided to extend for one year the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/82. The present report updates the one (A/62/354) provided to the General Assembly and covers the period September to December 2007.
The Special Rapporteur reports that protection of human rights in the Sudan continues to be an enormous challenge. Some slow progress has been made in particular with regard to drafting of new bills, issuance of orders, and new policies however they have not yet had an effect on the situation. Many of the concerns highlighted in last year’s report remain the same one year on. Despite the potential for democratic transition and optimism created by the Interim national constitution and bill of rights, violations of civil and political rights remain widespread. Delays in the implementation of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) continue to hamper the protection and promotion of human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights.
She notes particular concern regarding women’s rights. In spite of Constitutional provisions guaranteeing equal protection by the law and equality before the law, women continue to be considered as second-class citizens. Early and forced marriages, violence against women and FGM are still widely practiced. Furthermore, women are frequently placed in detention facilities for lack of payment of dowry, family debts, acts committed by family members or on adultery charges. Women are under represented in government institutions, and in positions of leadership, is general.
The Special Rapporteur reports that in all parts of the country common patterns emerge of injustice, marginalization and exploitation. Impunity also remains a serious concern in all areas. She calls on the Government of National Unity (GNU) and Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) to investigate all reports of human rights violations with transparency, make the reports of the investigative committees public, bring perpetrators to justice, provide reparations to victims and promote the rule of law. She urges the authorities to fully cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The Special Rapporteur expresses concern at the repression of fundamental rights and freedoms, excessive use of force, arbitrary arrest and detention and torture and ill-treatment of human rights defenders and political opponents. She urges the Government to fulfil it’s obligations in accordance with international human rights law and international humanitarian law and to ensure that all people of the Sudan are able to enjoy their fundamental rights and freedoms including the political rights in view of the 2009 elections.
Finally, she notes that measures taken by the GoSS to strengthen the administration of justice remain inadequate in light of the thousands of cases of people under pre-trial detention. Considerable numbers of detainees are held in detention and prison facilities for extensive periods without their cases being reviewed and without receiving any kind of legal assistance.
II. GENERAL SITUATION
III. NORTHEN SUDAN
V. EASTERN SUDAN
VI. TRANSITIONAL AREAS…………………
VII. SOUTHERN SUDAN
1. The Commission on Human Rights in its resolution 2005/82 established the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Sima Samar was appointed as mandate holder. The Special Rapporteur was requested to monitor the human rights situation in the Sudan and report to the Commission on Human Rights (now the Human Rights Council) and the General Assembly. The Council, in resolution A/HRC/6/L.50, decided to extend for one year the mandate of the Special Rapporteur, in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/82.
2. From December 2006 to December 2007 the United Nations Human Rights Council maintained its concern with the human rights situation in Darfur. On 13 December 2006 a Special Session of the Human Rights Council was held on Darfur and a resolution adopted calling for a High-level Mission to travel to Darfur to assess the human rights situation and the needs of the Sudan in this regard. The Special Rapporteur was a member of the Mission and the report was presented to the Human Rights Council in March 2007 (A/HRC/4/80).
3. The Council, taking note of the report and its findings, appointed a Group of Experts on Darfur to work with the Government of Sudan to foster effective implementation of previous human rights recommendations. Recommendations in the areas of protection of civilians, humanitarian access, accountability and justice and monitoring of the implementation were prioritized with a timeframe for implementation and indicators for measurement of compliance (A/HRC/5/6). The Special Rapporteur presented the Group’s final report to the Human Rights Council in December 2007 (A/HRC/6/19).
4. In resolution A/HRC/6/L.51, the Council acknowledged the efforts made by the Government of the Sudan to implement the recommendations identified by the Group of Experts, but expressed its concern that, for various reasons, the implementation of many recommendations had not been fully completed so as to lead to the desired level of improvement in the situation of human rights in Darfur. It expressed particular concern at the fact that perpetrators of past and ongoing serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Darfur have not yet been held accountable for their crimes and urged the Government of the Sudan to address urgently this question, by thoroughly investigating all allegations of human rights and international humanitarian law violations, promptly bringing to justice the perpetrators of those violations. The Council urged the Government of the Sudan to continue and to intensify its efforts to implement the recommendations identified by the Group of Experts in accordance with the specified time frames and indicators.
5. In resolution A/HRC/6/L.50, the Council requested the Special Rapporteur to ensure effective follow-up and to foster the implementation of the remaining short-term and the medium-term recommendations identified in the first report of the Group of Experts (A/HRC/5/6) through an open and constructive dialogue with the Government of the Sudan, taking into account the final report of the Group of Experts (A/HRC/6/19) and the replies of the Government thereon, and to include information in this regard in her report to the Council at its ninth session.
6. This report covers the period September-December 2007 and updates the report presented to the sixty-second session of the General Assembly in October 2007 on the human rights situation in the Sudan (A/62/354).
7. The Special Rapporteur would like to thank the Government of National Unity, and the Government of Southern Sudan for their cooperation during her visit and also during the work of the Group of Experts on the Darfur. She would like also to thank the UNMIS Human Rights Office and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights for providing her support and all the people who took the time to provide her information about the situation of human rights in the Sudan, in particular the victims of human rights violations who shared their personal stories. The Special Rapporteur commends the national human rights defenders and the international agencies for their hard work to further promote and protect human rights and to provide humanitarian assistance to the people in need.
II. GENERAL SITUATION
A. International legal framework
8. The Sudan is a State party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Convention on the Rights of the Child; and its both Optional Protocols; the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination; the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide and the Slavery Convention of 1926; and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Sudan is a high contracting party to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and acceded to the two Additional Protocols to the Geneva Conventions in 2006. Sudan is a signatory to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and its signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007. Thus the Sudan is also bound to refrain from acts which would defeat the object and purpose of these instruments.
9. In 2007 the human rights situation in the Sudan was reviewed by the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and the Human Rights Committee. In their concluding observations both Committees emphasized that progress was still needed in the Sudan to address impunity, the protection of women and children’s rights, and to establish an age for criminal responsibility that corresponded to international standards. The Sudan also submitted its third periodic report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHR) for review at the 42nd session of the Commission in November 2007.
B. National framework, institutions and reforms
10. Some progress has been made to implement the CPA during the reporting period. With regard to the national legal framework, according to information provided by the ACHR new legislation was drafted and presented to the 5th session of the National Assembly which convened on 23 October 2007. On 5 November 2007, the Armed Forces Bill was passed in its second reading. The Bill still has to go through two more readings before its final adoption. However, ten political parties issued a joint statement raising issue with a number of dispositions included in the Bill and calling for its non adoption in its current form. The Police Bill was put on the agenda of the meeting of the National Assembly on 27 November 2007, but was later withdrawn without explanation.
11. On 21 October 2007, a group of lawyers and law professionals representing different political parties and civil society organizations submitted a case to the Constitutional Court against the Government of the Sudan on the issue of prosecution fees, Constitutional Court fees and land registration fees. The submission argues that the high fees constitute a violation of constitutional and human rights principles, including the right to property.
12. On 8 November 2007, the Constitutional Court issued a decision on the case raised in May 2007 by the Al Sudani newspaper, which had been suspended for a few days on the basis of article 130 of the Criminal Procedure Act, “Prevention of Public Nuisance”. The Court determined that Article 130 of the Criminal Procedure Act is not meant to be used against the press. In addition, the Court stated that the use of article 130 to suspend newspapers limits freedom of the press, which is a constitutional right guaranteed by the Interim National Constitution.
13. I am concerned to learn that on 17 November, during the Popular Defence Forces (PDF) 18th anniversary celebrations, President Al-Bashir’s called on the PDF “to open their camps and gather the Mujahedeen”.
14. On 11 October, the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement (SPLM) suspended its participation in the ANU invoking violations of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, obstruction of the democratic process, lack of national reconciliation, delay of North-South demarcation and human rights abuses in South Sudan by elements from regular forces.On 3 November, President Al Bashir and First Vice President Kiir announced an agreement on most of the issues.
15. On 17 December 2007 the Government of Sudan Presidency agreed that the ministers of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) would return to the Government of national unity (GoNU). The new ministers were sworn in on 27 December 2007. The standoff between the two parties has had some impact on human rights, most notably with regards to the establishment of the National Human Rights Commission which has been delayed even more due to the present political crisis. A year ago, in December 2006, the National Constitutional Review Commission, which is entrusted by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) to draft the legal framework of the Commission, submitted the final draft of the Human Rights Commission Bill to the Council of Ministers for its approval. There are still some differences among the parties to the CPA on the criteria of membership and the investigation power of the Commission.
16. The third version of the Southern Sudan Human Rights Commission Bill is now largely in line with the Paris Principles. The revisions were based on comments made by the members of the Southern Sudan Human Rights Commission and UNMIS Human Rights.
17. The Commission for the Protection of the Rights of non-Muslims in the National Capital held a meeting on 25 November 2007. The Commission is reportedly working on domestic policies relating to the application by the administration of justice institutions’ of laws to non-Muslims.
18. In summary, there has been some progress, however significant portions of the CPA to strengthen the Sudan’s human rights record have not been implemented and as a result, Sudan’s human rights legal and institutional framework remains weak.
III. Northern Sudan
19. Despite the potential for democratic transition and optimism created by the Interim national constitution and bill of rights, violations of civil and political rights remain widespread.
20. The National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) continue to arrest and detain people for prolonged periods of times without charges and without legal representation, and frequently without the possibility to receive family visits. Detainees are reported to be held incommunicado for weeks or months, and in some cases longer, without being brought before a judge. Reports of torture and ill-treatment are frequent. In some cases, torture is practiced to force confessions that are later employed to implicate those detained in criminal cases in court. These violations of the right to liberty and security and to a fair trial are directly related to the fact that the 2001 National Security Forces Act, under which individuals are arrested and detained, contravenes human rights guarantees contained in the Interim National Constitution and international human rights law and standards.
21. From September 2006, over 70 people of Darfurian origin were arrested in Khartoum in the context of an investigation into the murder of Mohamed Taha, editor of the newspaper Al Wifaq. In February 2007, 19 people were charged with the murder and taken to court. At the end of August 2007, nine defendants, including two women, one of whom was a minor, were acquitted and released after nearly one year of detention. The court found that, in the absence of confessions by these defendants, the material evidence presented by the investigators was insufficient to obtain convictions. On 10 November 2007, the ten remaining defendants, including a 71 year-old and a minor aged 17, who was 16 years old at the time of the crime, were found guilty and sentenced to death by a court in Khartoum North. Defence lawyers are appealing the judgment.
22. The convictions were almost exclusively based on confessions which the defendants made after being detained incommunicado for up to four months. This raises serious concerns on the lack of respect of basic human rights guarantees in pre-trial detention. There have been reports by defendants, their families, defence lawyers and former detainees that many of the detainees were subjected to torture or ill-treatment to force confessions implicating them or other detainees in the murder. The defendants did not have access to legal counsel when their confessions were taken by the judge, and some of them were not informed that they were taken before a judge and that their statements were registered as confessions. The court failed to investigate claims that defendants gave confessions extracted under torture or other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. The court also failed to grant medical examinations to the defendants, as requested by their lawyers at the beginning of the court case that could have been used to support claims of ill-treatment in detention.
23. On 31 December 2007, 31 individuals accused of planning a coup against the State in July 2007 were set free following a public pardon by the President. The accused, who had been held in detention for over five months, included prominent political figures such as Mubarak Al Fadil, leader of the Umma Party Reform and Renewal, and Ali Mahmoud Hassanein, Deputy President of the Democratic Unionist Party. Mubarak Al Fadil had been released ahead of the pardon, on 2 December, following a decision by the Minister of Justice that there was insufficient evidence to bring him to trial. The majority of the other detainees were former military and police officers.
24. During the pre-trial investigations there had been numerous violations of the Sudanese Criminal Procedure Code, such as prolonged detention without charge. Appeals by lawyers to either charge or release the detainees were dismissed by the judiciary. In addition, most defendants alleged that torture and ill-treatment were used to extract confession from them while they were held incommunicado by NISS. Lack of access to legal representation and contact with family members were reported in most of the cases. Several requests by UNMIS Human Rights made to the Advisory Council for Human Rights (ACHR) to access the detainees were not granted, and concerns raised with the ACHR about human rights violations remained without response.
25. Prior to the start of the peace talks on Darfur in Sirte, Libya, a wave of arbitrary arrests and detentions of Darfurian supporters of the Abdel Wahid Al Nur branch of the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA/AW) by NISS began in and around Khartoum. The majority of those arrested were students of Khartoum universities. Between 20 September and 4 December 2007, a total of 30 presumed SLA/AW supporters were arrested, sometimes repeatedly, and held incommunicado for different periods of time. Many were reportedly tortured or ill-treated.
26. On 20 September, eight students were arrested in the central area of Khartoum after participating in a demonstration staged by SLA/AW to protest the new peace talks. They were released on bail at the end of September and taken to court on charges of public order offences in October. On 21 October, at the second hearing of the trial, the eight defendants, as well as some eleven other students who attended the trial in solidarity, were arrested by NISS officers in front of Khartoum North Criminal Court. A further three individuals believed to be SLA/AW civilian members were reportedly arrested by NISS in various areas of Khartoum at the end of October. On 1 December, another five students were seized during the night by NISS in Duem town, White Nile State. On 4 December two student leaders were arrested by security forces at the gate of Khartoum University after giving a public speech denouncing the detention of students by NISS. All but four individuals have been progressively released up until 18 December, after periods of incommunicado detention ranging from fourteen to sixty days. The eight students who were charged for public order offences were released again and remain at liberty pending the outcome of their trial.
27. The construction of two major hydro-electric dams by the Government in the Kajbar and Merowe regions, in Northern State, are being opposed by local communities and tensions with the government have been rising. Communities have been denied adequate representation and some were forced to relocate. Security forces have used excessive force in suppressing protests, most recently when four civilians were killed during the policing of a protest march in April 2007.
28. On and around 27 August 2007 a wave of arrests took place in the province of Northern State, a province north of the capital Khartoum. The arrests targeted members of the Mahas community, a Nubian tribe, who actively oppose the planned hydropower dam near the village of Kajbar. Six people, who were detained for one or two days and released on bail, now face criminal prosecutions on charges related to protest activities.
29. Three activists of the Kajbar Dam Popular Committee were detained by police between 28 and 30 August and released on bail pending the outcome of an investigation on charges of conspiracy and public order offences (Articles 21, 77 and 69 of the Criminal Act). If they are found guilty, they could face a prison sentence of up to one year. Three others had been injured by security forces during a community protest against the dam on 13 June 2007. These three men are now under investigation for “disturbance of public peace” and causing injury (Articles 69 and 142 of the Criminal Act), based on complaints brought by police officers. According to lawyers, no forensic reports or other evidence support the claim that the policemen sustained injuries during the demonstration in which four people were shot dead by security forces.
30. Between 27 August and 20 September, seven other Kajbar activists were held for different periods of time in detention facilities of the National Intelligence Security Servic (NISS) in Northern State. They were not given access to lawyers or allowed to communicate with their families. The men were reportedly told that they were being detained because of their opposition to the dam and because of their open criticism of government policy in relation to the dam. One of them was reportedly arrested to force his brother, who is an active opponent of the dam, to turn himself in.
31. These arrests were part of a pattern of arbitrary arrests and prosecutions in an apparent effort to stifle community protests against the Kajbar dam project. Only days prior to this latest wave of arrests, seven people who had been detained because of their campaigning activities against the dam project were released without charge after over two months of detention by the NISS. Another five people were sentenced to fines in Khartoum for alleged public order offences and for “provoking hatred” because they distributed information about an event on the Kajbar Dam.
32. Khartoum media still experience restrictions on freedom of expression through case-by-case censorship, imposition of public information bans and use of criminal legislation. Since mid August, representatives of the NISS have reportedly been visiting several national Arabic newspapers’ print houses and offices to inspect the editions of the papers prior to printing. On several occasions, NISS officers were reported to have instructed to remove or replace articles and columns from the printing plate. Since the beginning of 2007, a number of public information bans have been imposed preventing newspapers from reporting on court cases of public interest which concern human rights violations. Most recently, on 27 December 2007, local newspapers informed that the Prosecution Office of the Press issued a ban on public reporting on all criminal cases that are under investigation.
33. In addition to these cases of media restrictions, domestic laws can be used to place limitations on the media. The 2004 Press and Printed Materials Act contains numerous provisions which may be used to curb criticism and does not contain clear guarantees for the protection of freedom of expression of media practitioners. The Act also puts in place various restrictions and protocols that make it difficult for new media sources to come into existence. Its application is supervised by the Press Council, a body that is generally perceived to lack political independence. Certain provisions of other laws, such as the Criminal Code and the Criminal Procedures Act, have also been used to restrict freedom of the press.
34. Three journalists and human rights defenders were summoned and questioned by the NISS in Khartoum on 5 and 6 November 2007. The three people, who are known defenders of freedom of the press, believe that the summons and questioning were carried out to intimidate them and discourage them from their activities.
35. On 5 November they were summoned and kept waiting for over six hours at the political department of the NISS in the Bahri district of Khartoum. In the afternoon an NISS official informed them that they should return the following morning. On the following day, the three people were questioned in separate rooms for several hours each. They were reportedly asked about their personal life and about different human rights and journalist groups in whose activities they participate, or whose activities they know about, among them the Sudan Organization Against Torture, the Khartoum Centre for Human Rights, and groups of journalists working on freedom of the press. They were reportedly questioned about the organizations' structures, their sources of funding and the activities they conduct, among other things on freedom of the press, elections and human rights issues. They were released without charge but told that they would be contacted again for further investigation.
36. On the positive side Sawt Al Umma, a newspaper edited by the Umma Party, restarted in late November 2007 for the first time since the coup. Women Awareness Raising Group (called “Awan”) in port Sudan was allowed to start working again in December 2007 after being suspended earlier in the year.
37. Justice and accountability continues to be a challenge. Despite their different circumstances, the abovementioned violations are linked together by the Government’s failure to hold perpetrators accountable. In relation to the killings related to the Kajbar dam, at the end of December 2007, four months after the termination of the investigation, the findings of the investigation committee have not been communicated to victims and their families. According to unofficial reports, the investigation was stalled because police refused to cooperate in identifying those responsible for the killings. There is no indication that anyone responsible for the killing has been identified and it does not appear that any action has been taken by the authorities to hold the perpetrators to account.
38. In Khartoum State, a police investigation was opened into the killing of a man and injury of another during a police search on 14 July 2007 in Omdurman El Salaam IDP camp. As reported, four members of the police force were identified as responsible for the killing of the man. However, it seems that after some time in detention, the four suspects were released on bail. As of December 2007, no information was available as to whether the four suspects continue to serve in the police force and whether they are likely to be prosecuted. Meanwhile, police has initiated a negotiation with the family of the victim of the killing in order to settle the issue outside the judicial system through payment of compensation. In case the family accepts to receive the compensation, the case will be closed without judicial investigation or prosecution.
39. Bringing to justice perpetrators of torture or other forms of ill-treatment has been a rarity. None of the cases of torture or ill-treatment detailed in my report have been prosecuted.
40. As Chair of the Group of Experts on Darfur I participated in a dialogue with the Government of the Sudan to foster effective implementation of pre-existing recommendations for the protection of human rights in Darfur. In our report to the Council we noted Government efforts to prepare laws and instructions that, if fully implemented, could be instrumental in improving the human rights situation in Darfur. However, while acknowledging the activities undertaken by the Government, we remained concerned that reports received clearly indicate that, with very few exceptions, these efforts have not yet led to an improvement of the situation of human rights in Darfur .
41. Concerns continue regarding the Government’s use of disproportionate and indiscriminate means of warfare in violation of international humanitarian law. On 23 November aerial bombardments were reported in the Habila area of West Darfur. Government forces reportedly launched ground and air attacks against a dissident Arab group. On 29 and 30 November 2007, Government forces reportedly carried out several aerial bombardments in areas south of Nyala, South Darfur, in an attempt to flush out another dissident Arab group which had forged an alliance with the SLA/AW group. Unconfirmed reports indicated that there were many casualties including civilians.In West Darfur, several sources, including the police, reported having witnessed aerial bombings by Government Antonov planes in an area south-east of Kulbus, on 4 and 5 December 2007. On 8 December, there were further aerial bombardments in Jebel Moon.
42. Civilians, particularly IDPs, continued to be exposed to violence and abuses either due to deliberate attacks from the government supported militia or some of the rebel groups, or as a result of getting caught in the middle of clashes between warring factions. A number of militia attacks involving physical assaults, harassment, intimidation and sometimes abductions underscore the failure of the Government to protect civilians. On 8 October 2007 a joint attack on Muhajiriya by allied Government of Sudan forces and militia was reported; people praying in a mosque were rounded up and 48 civilians reportedly killed. Fleeing IDPs from attacks on Um Dukhun, on 23 November, and on Umdarota, on 24 November, in South Darfur described large groups of militia in government-style uniforms entering their villages, shooting randomly, stealing animals and setting fire to households.
43. On 2 December 2007 in West Darfur, armed men attacked three female IDPs from Dorti camp, while they were asleep in their home in Um Sebeikha. In another incident, a group of 10 women and girls, aged between 11 and 35, were attacked and held for more than two hours in the Turab El-Ahmar area, three kilometers west of Riyadh camp. A 16 year old girl from the group was gang raped and at least three other women were whipped and beaten with axes. Two women were able to escape and reported the incident to Riyadh police. The community reportedly requested the police and a group of soldiers at a nearby checkpoint to rescue the women; however they refused to proceed to the scene of the incident.
44. The proliferation of weapons, the presence of armed elements inside the camps as well as the increased divisions along tribal affiliations adds to the insecurity felt by IDPs in Darfur. In North Darfur, Abou Shouk IDP camp continues to be the stage of frequent shooting incidents.
45. People also continue to be arbitrarily arrested, held for prolonged periods without being informed of the reason for arrests or brought promptly before a judicial authority. In some instances, they have been subjected to torture and ill-treatment and denied access to counsel. Government security agencies, in particular the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), as well as Government proxy groups continued to arbitrarily detain and often mistreat civilians who are perceived to be aligned with opposing rebel groups.
46. In West Darfur at least five persons from Kulbus, were reportedly detained and ill-treated by NISS, between 27 November and 3 December 2007, on suspicion of supporting Ibrahim Abaker Hashim’s group. Similarly, in South Darfur, arbitrary arrests were perpetrated by militia belonging to the Gimir faction and directed at Massalit men, some of whom are suspected of supporting a rebel group in Umbreida. The detention followed attacks by Gimir militias and Government forces on Umbreida in May 2007. After the attacks, most of the population fled to Antikaina, reports were received of Gimir militias preventing people from leaving the village and forcing them to cultivate the land. In November a Massalit man reportedly tried to escape, but was captured by Gimir men. The man was tied to a tree and whipped; he also had finger nails pulled out. He allegedly tried to report the incident in Antikaina, but the police refused to accept the complaint.
47. Armed rebel movements are also alleged to be violating the rights of civilians. For example, in South Darfur, a man from the Arab Reizigat tribe reported that he was abducted by the Abdul Wahid faction of the SLA (SLA/AW) on 27 October and held in detention for more than twenty days on suspicion of being a Government spy. He was subjected to torture and ill treatment including severe beatings and being hanged upside down from a tree.
48. The female population of Darfur, in particular IDPs, continue to be the target of rape and other sexual and gender-based violence. The established pattern of violence against women which emerged at the beginning of the conflict continued during the reporting period. As documented in many previous incidents, the perpetrators were very often armed men in military uniforms or in civilian clothes travelling in groups on horses or camels. In North Darfur, internally displaced persons were victims in eighty percent of the reported sexual and gender based violence cases. Female IDPs were usually attacked when they left the confines of the IDP camps to engage in income-generating activities, such as the collection of firewood, grass and fruits. The women reported that they continue to risk being attacked by going out of the camp.
49. The majority of incidents of sexual violence often went unreported. Many victims chose not to file complaints because they felt the police cannot or will not take appropriate action against perpetrators. In many cases, police action was limited to receiving complaints without any steps being taken to investigate and bring the alleged perpetrators to justice. In other instances, police “decided” to register a complaint depending on the gravity of the physical harm or injuries indicated on the criminal Form 8 by the examining doctor.
50. August, 2007, the Minister of Justice issued a declaration outlining measures it planned to undertake to eliminate violence against women in Darfur. The Government also publicly condemned violence against women and reaffirmed its zero tolerance policy for such crimes. While acknowledging the efforts of the Government I am concerned that these efforts have not yielded any discernible improvements on the ground, during the period covered by my report, as evidenced by the continuing reports of incidences of sexual and gender based violence in Darfur.
51. Widespread impunity continues to prevail in Darfur. Efforts by the police to investigate crimes allegedly perpetrated by soldiers and other members of the security forces are often frustrated by a lack of cooperation from military authorities. In El Fasher and Kabkabiya, North Darfur, police investigations into two shooting incidents involving soldiers in October 2007 have apparently stalled because the military failed to hand over the alleged perpetrators.
52. The administration of justice in Darfur is severely weakened by the culture of impunity, a poorly functioning law enforcement system, staff and resource shortcomings in the judiciary and public prosecutor’s office, as well as lack of political will. The most prominent of Darfur’s conflict-related accountability mechanisms is the Special Criminal Courts on the Events in Darfur (SCCED), established by decree on 7 June 2005. A number of public statements by the Sudanese Government indicated that the SCCED was established to deal with major criminal offences which had occurred in those states and which could be characterized as war crimes or crimes against humanity. To date, only 13 cases have come before the SCCED and they have all involved ordinary crimes such as theft, possession of stolen goods and murders unrelated to any of the large-scale attacks that have characterized the Darfur conflict. Of the 31 defendants who have appeared before the court so far, nine were civilians involved in non-conflict related activities such as armed robbery, unlawful possession of weapons, and murder. Only one case before the SCCED related to a large scale attack against civilians at Tama, South Darfur in October 2005. The men charged in relation to this attack were found guilty of stealing property at the site of the attack. No one was found guilty of being part of the attack or responsible for orchestrating the attack. One high-ranking official was charged on the basis of command responsibility but was subsequently acquitted. A total of 10 officials were convicted by the SCCED, but they were all low-level officers. Of these, two Military Intelligence officers were convicted for the murder of a 13 year old boy who died as a result of torture while in custody. Although the two defendants were subsequently pardoned for the crime under a settlement reached between them and the relatives of the victim, they were nevertheless sentenced to two years imprisonment by the court. The defendants were later released pursuant to a presidential amnesty decree issued on 11 June 2006, designed for rebels who signed the Darfur Peace Agreement and parties to tribal reconciliation endorsed by the Government. Two other low ranking Military Intelligence officers were also convicted and sentenced to death for their role in the death in custody of a 60 year old man. The two men were hanged on 22 April 2007. No one has been found guilty of war crime or crime against humanity. The issue of command responsibility and holding high-ranking officials accountable is being effectively ignored.
53. The situation in Darfur was transferred to the Prosecutor of the ICC by UN Security Council resolution 1593 of 31 March 2005. On 27 April 2007, after two years of criminal investigation, the Pre-Trial Chamber of the ICC issued warrants of arrest for two persons who committed crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Court transmitted the request to execute the warrants to the Government of the Sudan on 16 June 2007. Interpol red notices were subsequently disseminated. On 5 December 2007, the Prosecutor reported to the Security Council that the Government of the Sudan had not complied with its legal obligation under resolution 1593 to arrest and surrender the accused persons.
54. Humanitarian services continued to be provided despite the obstacles to the majority of the conflict affected civilians, however access in parts of Darfur is very limited due to the increasing insecurity. As a result, humanitarian operations are unable to travel or are forced to relocate staff leaving hundreds of thousands of people in need without access to humanitarian aid.
55. The Arche de Zoe case of child abduction, allegedly involving some children of Sudanese origin, underscored the importance of international legal instruments on the protection of the rights of the child, strengthening the rule of law in the region and justice in accordance with international standards. On 26 December, members of Arche de Zoe were found guilty and sentenced by the Criminal Court to 8 years of forced labor and a financial penalty of 6 million euros. However, I am concerned that the children have not been reunited with their families and are reportedly still in an orphanage.
V. Eastern Sudan
56. I reported on the situation in Eastern Sudan in my report to the General Assembly in 2006 (A/61/469 pg.13) and I remain deeply concerned that the victims of a massacre in Port Sudan have still not received justice. On 18 February 2005 the Government established an investigation committee. However the findings have still not been published and no one has been prosecuted in relation to these events.
VI. Transitional Areas
57. Tribal clashes in Ed Damizin (Blue Nile State); partly resulting from nomads moving their livestock into farmland to graze was reported. Some of the flare-ups are thought to be due to many Arab nomads continuing to be enlisted members of the PDF. In November 2007 clashes between Fallata and nomads occurred near Bikori in Geissan locality (Blue Nile State) during which several persons were stabbed and killed. Even more serious clashes between Arab Nomads and Hausa locals took place near the villages of Bados in Rosaris locality, culminating in the killing of one Arab Nomad and two Hausa men.
58. An annual Dinka Ngok and Missiriya Migration Peace Conference took place in Abyei (Southern Kordofan State) in November 2007. Supported by the UN, the meeting brought together several Missiriya and Dinka leaders from all over Abyei to discuss conflict prevention and addressed human rights violations by preventing inter-tribal cleansings within the communities in Abyei area. Participants decided to deal with cases of murder in relation to possible conflicts which may intervene following the migration season.
59. The conflict between the Nuba and the Misseriya in the area of Abu Junuk (Southern Kordofan) has resulted in 3,000 people being displaced in the past two months. Sources say that the Nuba are surrounded by Misseriya who are blocking the water point which has resulted in a severe water shortage in the area.
60. Reports of SPLM abuses and violations against the civilian population due to religious or political affiliation have been received. Violations by SPLM police and Governement of the Sudan (GoS) police in Southern Kordofan area have also been reported. On 11 November 2007 a priest from a Northern Episcopal Church was arrested and detained by police in Kurchi, (Southern Kordofan State), a SPLM/A controlled area. Police officers tied his wrists and ankles behind his back and then beat him with a whip. The priest’s dead body was found in the woods on 16 November 2007. A police report states the death was caused by two or three bullets from a Kalashnikov. In December 2006 and January 2007 12 members of the church were arrested by the SPLA 25th Brigade in Kurchi and held for up to nine weeks. The tension has taken on political overtones with followers of the Church in the Kurchi area accused of supporting the NCP. The Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) authorities have described the conflict as inter-tribal rather than political. In another incident on 15 November 2007, Northern Episcopal church followers were ordered to dismount with their luggage by Kurchi police while travelling to Kurchi. A group of four priests and a Sheikh were arrested and received 101 or more lashes. Police also tied their hands and legs behind their backs and they were accused of being spies. They were released on 17 November 2007. A group of volunteer polio vaccination workers, including four women and seven men as well as a male driver, were given 20 lashes each by SPLM police in Regifi near Kurchi on 19 November 2007, and made to pay 300 Sudanese pounds. They were accused of being spies.
61. Administration of justice, arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of detainees are concerns. Suspects are often detained for several days without appearing before traditional court. For example, in Abyei, two women, aged 16 and 18, were arrested by JIU and a police officer for allegedly preventing the police officer from beating street children in Abyei market and did not receive any judgment for several days. A manager of a gas station was reportedly arrested on 29 November 2007 by Kadugli police, following nearly two weeks of harassment, after he failed to provide the police with 220 gallons of diesel fuel which he did not have. He filed a suit against a Government of Sudan police captain, who has counter-sued. The police officer sought immunity under section 46 of the Police Act; however, the State Attorney prosecutor dismissed the appeal. The police have appealed against the decision with the Attorney General in Khartoum.
62. Serious deficiencies in the enjoyment of Economic Social and Cultural Rights are common in the Transition Areas. In some areas there is a trend toward favouritism in the distribution of education and healthcare services based on ethnicity and/or political affiliation. In a positive development the National Ministry of Finance launched the Blue Nile Relief Project that will focus on access to water, health, education and roads.
VII. Southern Sudan
63. Serious challenges remain in the protection and realization of human rights in Southern Sudan while institutions struggle with meagre resources, both human and financial, to find redress to this situation. Several of these institutions have or are currently revisiting their plans, budgets, structures, legal frameworks and strategizing on their future and compelling priorities. Several of them have also welcomed and benefited from assistance provided by the international community, including that of the UN, namely in terms of training, infrastructure, logistics and review of basic documentation. However, enormous challenges remain ahead as key laws still need to be passed or amended so as to comply with the CPA, Southern Sudan Constitutions and treaties, adequate protection and viable mechanisms need to be put in place for the protection of basic human rights and increased awareness on human rights needs to be ensured throughout Southern Sudan.
64. The establishment of a Southern Sudan Human Rights Commission (SSHRC) will be of paramount importance to provide the Southern Sudanese with an independent oversight mechanism, one that people can refer to, that will promote human rights standards and bring to the attention of the relevant authorities human rights concerns. Until now the Commission has not been fully operating as the enabling law has not been passed and signed. In September a revised version of the SSHRC enabling bill was made available to the Southern Sudan Ministry for Legal Affairs and Constitutional Development (MOLACD). This new version is in line with the Paris Principles as it recognizes the independent character of the Commission and ensures a pluralistic representation of various forces of society. By the end of December 2007 the Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly (SSLA) had not adopted any of the key bills that would advance CPA implementation as well as important legislation such as the Penal Code, Code of Criminal Procedure, the Child Bill, the Prisons Bill and the Police Bill. Due to the delays in the passing of legislation both at the executive and legislative levels, the executive has indicated its willingness to adopt certain pressing laws, including those related to the Commissions and Codes, by Provisional Orders.
65. For the justice sector institutions of the Government of South Sudan SPLA demobilization and integration into civilian life has been a source of difficulty. The integration of thousands of SPLA members into the Southern Sudan Police and Southern Sudan Prison Services has caused considerable strain as it is being done without due consideration to the skills and numbers required or to the limited resources within these institutions. In addition, former SPLA continue to maintain their old ranks upon transfer into the new services causing some dissatisfaction amongst the professional staff. Of concern is the recent deployment to Jonglei State of a new police unit which appears to be independent of the Southern Sudan Police Service and close to the local Governor and National Security forces.
66. The administration of justice is challenged through interference and abuse of power by officials, both civil and, to a larger extent, military. While several cases have been reported, the Yambio killings of 4 November are certainly a case in point as they openly challenged rule of law institutions and raised underlying tensions at the local level which were fortunately controlled through an opportune intervention of Government of Southern Sudan officials assisted by UNMIS. On 4 November 2007 five JIU (SPLA) soldiers killed three senior members of the local police (SSPS) at the local police station inside Yambio town (Western Equatoria State). The Yambio police headquarters and other police stations were abandoned during that time and many civilians fled the area. A few days after, many people took out to the streets in solidarity with the victims’ families and as an outcry for what the local population considered as an attack against their own people by the Dinka-dominated SPLA contingent. A large number of soldiers have been arrested in connection to this case and are currently awaiting trial in Yambio Central Prison. An Ad Hoc Committee was established and is currently investigating the case. It remains to be seen whether the results of such investigations will bring the perpetrators to justice.
67. Cases of military personnel asserting powers of arrest over civilians continue to be reported. In September, for example, illegal arrests of foreign commercial traders in Wau by security forces were reported. An Ad Hoc committee was formed to investigate the case but the results remain unknown. This situation of military personnel illegally arresting people not only feeds into the already existing levels of mistrust from the population vis-à-vis state authorities and institutions but encourages disrespect for the rule of law institutions.
68. Numerous incidents of loss of lives caused by law enforcement officials have been reported. Many of these occurred while law enforcement officials were intoxicated with alcohol. To name a few incidents, on 5 September 2007 a policeman stabbed to death a leader of the Ugandan trader community in Juba as the man intervened to stop the beating of another man by the police. On 23 October, a shooting involving five SPLA soldiers and two Arab traders occurred in Rubkona market, Unity State, following an argument over food. As a consequence five SPLA soldiers were arrested by military police.
69. Several cases of sexual assault and rape, including of minors, by namely SPLA and JIU members have been reported. In Wau, a fourteen year old girl was allegedly raped by two SPLA soldiers. In September 2007 in Warrab State, serious allegations of abuses and sexual assault by SPLA soldiers were reported during patrolling activities while in Gumbo and Rejaf, not far away from Juba town, incidents of harassment, intimidation, #####ng, occupation of dwellings and land, and sexual violence were registered. In September 2007, Ugandan traders in Juba Customs Market were sexually assaulted by men in uniform. The alleged perpetrators are deemed to be police and military personnel who roam the market during night patrols. Only two SSPS have been arrested in connection with this case in spite of the fact that the other SSPS members involved had been identified and their whereabouts widely known. The SPLA member involved was not arrested. Three Ugandan women were allegedly raped by six SPLA or SPLA/JIU soldiers in the New Market in Torit on 29 December 2007. The victims reported the case to the police but they were referred to National Security. The SSPS has so far refused to take the victims’ statements and to open an investigation, possibly out of fear as it involves SPLA members. In addition, medical evidence has been lost due to the fact that not only the victims did not have the adequate means to pay for the medical examinations but also the due to lack of adequate testing instruments and willingness by medical staff to take such cases seriously. Harassment over dress codes in Malakal has been persistent whereby women have been subjected to lashings, public humiliation and arrest. The Presidential Advisor on Gender and Human Rights as well as a senior SPLA member have raised their voices against such cases. Alarmed by such reports the Central Equatoria Legislative Assembly has established an Ad Hoc Committee to investigate the alleged disappearances of people in and around Juba. The report has not been made public.
70. The establishment of ad hoc Commissions has so far been an inadequate accountability mechanism for such incidents, findings are not public and no prosecution efforts follow against those found to be responsible for violations. For example, in May 2007, 54 civilians from the Didinga tribe, were killed, allegedly by Toposa tribesmen, in Budi county, Eastern Equatoria State. The findings of an ad hoc Commission to investigate the killings have yet to be revealed. A report on the findings was presented by the Peace and Reconciliation Committee of the Government of Southern Sudan Legislative Assembly to the Speaker's Office but has not been disclosed nor discussed at the Assembly.
71. Illegal, prolonged and arbitrary detention continues to be a main concern in Southern Sudan. Large amounts of people in detention have been arrested by unauthorized people, without the mandated legal warrants or even for acts pertaining to their relatives or close ones, or are in prison for their incapacity to pay debts. Furthermore many cases of people in ‘protective custody” without any charges and without their consent have been documented. A considerable amount of women, including with their children, is found in these detention centres under unclear charges of adultery or even accusations of rape. Many of these women are put in detention by their own husbands and relatives and left to their fate. Cases of women placed under detention by customary courts, including in private dwellings, have been reported i.e. Nasser county. Persons alleged to have mental health problems are placed in prison ‘for safekeeping and treatment’ without being charged with any offence. Juveniles and children at very early age have been and continue to be detained although Sudanese laws stipulate that children under 10 are not subject to penal laws. Detainees continue to be held in detention and prison facilities for extensive periods without their cases being reviewed or without receiving adequate legal assistance. Of particular concern are the cases of people on death row who do not benefit from any legal assistance. Cases of illegal transfers from one State to the other without their corresponding files based on orders from senior civilian authorities have been documented and fortunately readdressed following UNMIS Human Rights intervention. Inadequate detention conditions and lack of progress in their files causes widespread dissatisfaction amongst the prison population as it demonstrated by a prison strike in Rumbek on 19 December 2007.
72. Ill-treatment is widely practiced during arrest and in detention by local authorities, namely chief courts and law enforcement officials. It is used as a way to punish the suspects and to extract information. Sometimes this practice is done in public as a way of giving a lesson to others. A case in point is Malakal where the customary court sentenced 10 young females to 50 lashes each under section 232 of the Penal Code for public nuisance. The punishment was illegal as it went beyond what the Southern Sudanese law allows.
73. Tribal clashes over water points, land and cattle continue. In Jonglei/Bor clashes between the Murle and the Dinka Bor were reported on various occasions resulting in human and material loss. Cattle rustling, abduction of children and revenge killings have been continuous. In one attack, reports suggest over 7,000 cattle were stolen by the Murle in Meden Boma leading to a subsequent attack by the Dinka on an MSF hospital where some Murle were undergoing treatment. Reports suggest at least 45 people were killed during the attack. These incidents raised tension among the population and as a result, JIU troops were sent to the area. A high level delegation from Government of Southern Sudan also visited the area to appease the situation. Insecurity in the border area between Warrap and Unity States due to attacks and cattle rustling causing displacement of people was also reported.
74. Organized returns were temporarily suspended in Jonglei due to the insecurity in the area caused by tribal clashes. Concern over the return of refugees from Uganda and Kenya into the Equatorias remain as land continues to be occupied by IDPs and SPLA elements. The conflict between those claiming the land and those occupying it appears in many cases to also be a conflict between ethnic groups. Owing to the gravity of the situation, the Central Equatoria Legislative Assembly has established a Committee of Investigation on Land Grabbing and Malpractices while a draft bill on land tenancy has been submitted to the MOLACD for approval.
75. The poor enjoyment of economic and social rights is of particular concern in Southern Sudan. As a recent Southern Sudan Ministry of Health report show Sudan has the world’s worst maternal mortality rate, 102 infants die in every 1,000 live births, 13/5 % of Southern Sudanese children die before they reach the age of five, to reach a water source it takes an average of 45 minutes, only 16 % of children go to primary school and only 1.9% complete primary school. Access to basic facilities is further endangered by insecurity in certain areas, namely following tribal clashes as well as insecurity provoked by men in uniform, as has been reported in numerous occasions. As an example, women are unable to collect water or work in the field where cases of harassment by men in uniform have been reported, or those displaced as a result of the conflict continue to face enormous challenges to fulfil their basic needs.
VIII. Conclusions and Recommendations
76. The present report updates the report (A/62/354) provided to the General Assembly 2007 and covers the period September to December 2007. The Human Rights Council has expressed its serious concern with regards to the human rights situation in Darfur and undertook a number of initiatives including a special session on Darfur, the appointment of a High Level Mission to Darfur and of a Group of Experts on Darfur to work with the Government of Sudan to foster effective implementation of previous human rights recommendations. I had the honour to Chair the Group of Experts on Darfur and we presented our final report to the Human Rights Council on 11 December 2007. The Council decided to extend the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan for one year and requested that I also continue the work of the Group of Experts whose mandate was discontinued in December 2007.
77. The protection of human rights in the Sudan remains an enormous challenge. In all parts of the country human rights continue to be violated, including freedom of expression and association. Political opposition parties, journalists, students, IDP’s, and tribal leaders continue to be targeted for their activities. This is of particular concern as the country prepares for elections in 2009.
78. Darfur remains a region where gross violations of human rights are perpetrated. The Government of the Sudan has the primary responsibility to ensure protection of civilians. However, so far, the steps taken have been insufficient to have a tangible impact on the ground in Darfur. After all the debates I sincerely hope the deployment of UNAMID will increase security and protection of civilians in Darfur. Unfortunately in December 2007 UNAMID was still facing difficulties including shortages in troops and assets. The Government of Sudan is not facilitating the deployment by opposing some non-African contingents; also flight clearances and access to land and water have faced obstruction. The protection of civilians during armed conflict is an absolute priority
79. Justice and accountability continue to be a major challenge especially for serious crimes. Several investigative committees have been formed following allegations of serious human rights violations in North and Southern Sudan. However, findings have not been made public and according to information received, no perpetrators have been prosecuted.
80. The advancement of economic, social and cultural rights is going at an extremely slow pace. Widespread poverty and marginalization continue to be sources of political unrest throughout the country. This situation is seriously inhibiting the delivery of basic social services such as health, education and water, especially in southern Sudan.
81. The Special Rapporteur reiterates all previous unimplemented human rights recommendations contained in her reports, those of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and of the Group of Experts on Darfur. In addition, she recommends:
To the Government of National Unity:
82. Continue and intensify efforts to implement the recommendations compiled by the Group of Experts on Darfur in accordance with the specified time-frames and indicators (A/HRC/5/6, annex I);
83. Accelerate implementation of the CPA and establish the remaining commissions, in particular the National Human Rights Commission in accordance with the Paris principles;
84. Revise national laws to conform with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the Interim National Constitution, and international human rights standards, priority attention should be given to the National Security Act;
85. Address impunity and ensure that all allegations of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law are duly investigated and that the perpetrators are promptly brought to justice, in particular those with command responsibility;
86. Fully cooperate with ICC and the international community to arrest those who are accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity;
87. Ratify the remaining international instruments for the protection of human rights, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Their Families, and the Statute of Rome;
88. Fully cooperate with the UN and AU to facilitate the UNAMID deployment to Darfur and remove any obstacles that may hinder this humanitarian effort;
To the warring factions:
89. Respect obligations under international human rights law and international humanitarian law, in particular with regard to the protection of civilians, and end all attacks on civilians, including human rights defenders and humanitarian workers;
To the Government of Southern Sudan:
90. To ensure adequate means and resources are provided to the Administration of Justice and rule of law institutions so as to facilitate a much necessary improvement in access to justice, including the provision of legal aid services.
91. Accelerate the process of legal reform, in accordance with the CPA, the ICSS and international standards of human rights;
92. Urge MOLACD and the Southern Sudan legislature to pass the revised enabling legislation for the SSHRC;
93. Prevent SPLA interference in the administration of justice, especially in police and judiciary, and provide appropriate training to former SPLA members integrated into Government of Southern Sudan institutions;
94. Address impunity and ensure that all allegations of violations of human rights are duly investigated, findings of ad hoc Commissions made public, perpetrators promptly brought to justice, and reparations provided to the victims;
To the International Community:
95. Continue to provide technical and financial support to the Government of National Unity and the Government of Southern Sudan, on the basis of needs assessment, to fully implement the CPA and build democratic national institutions for the protection of human rights and equality of all the people in the Sudan;
96. Support UNAMID politically and financially in accordance with the principle of responsibility to protect those who are not being protected by their own Government;
To the UN:
97. Urge UNAMID, in accordance with its mandate, to take necessary measures to protect civilians, to proactively deter attacks on civilians and prevent violations of international human rights law;
98. Provide support and technical assistance to the Government of the Sudan, in accordance with assessed needs, for the implementation of its obligations under international human rights law;
99. Provide technical assistance in the areas of justice and encourage the Government to ensure there is no amnesty for war crimes and crimes against humanity;
100. OHCHR, UNMIS HR and UNAMID HR should continue to provide technical assistance to the Southern Sudan Human Rights Commission.
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