Title: Presentation by the Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Sudan
Author: تقارير سودانيزاونلاين
Date: 09-24-2014, 05:52 PM
MASHOOD BADERIN, Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, presenting his third report to the Human Rights Council, noted that Sudan continued to adopt relevant human rights legislation and policy, including passing of the Human Trafficking Act in January 2014 and the adoption of the 2014-2018 strategic plan by the National Commission on Human Rights. The international community should provide the required funds to the United Nations Development Programme to enable it to continue supporting Sudan in the implementation of the recommendations received under the Universal Periodic Review. However, the practical improvement of human rights on the ground still remained protracted and the Independent Expert urged Sudan to amend the 2010 National Security Act in conformity with its constitutional and international human rights obligations, to stop the curtailment of activities of civil society organizations and the continuing press censorship, and to ensure that the National Security Service carried out its operations with due consideration for Sudan’s constitutional and international human rights obligations.
The report also highlighted the continuing negative impact of armed conflicts on human rights in different parts of Sudan; Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile continued to experience sporadic cycles of armed conflicts, violent attacks and banditry, which had serious effects on the lives of civilians. The recurrent armed conflicts between Government forces and armed rebel groups, as well as tribal clashes, continued to result in serious human rights violations and large-scale displacement of civilians in different parts of the country. The security situation in the conflict-affected regions of the country remained precarious. Mr. Baderin commended Sudan for the successful prosecution of perpetrators of gang-rape committed against a United Nations peacekeeper in El-Fasher and urged the Government to increase its efforts in ensuring that all perpetrators of crimes in the conflict areas were brought to justice to deter impunity. It was important for the international community to continue to provide adequate assistance and capacity building to Sudan and civil society organizations in order to address the challenges, and also to provide support to the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Darfur to enable them to continue to support the Government’s efforts in improving the human rights situation in the country.
Statement by the Concerned Country
Sudan, speaking as the concerned country, said that the country was making strides on the road to national reconciliation and dialogue to achieve peace, security and stability. The President had launched an initiative for national dialogue in order to achieve a comprehensive solution with all parties and political components without distinction. This had also led to a dialogue with all components of society. An Independent Expert had been designated in order to provide recommendations needed for technical assistance and capacity building. During his mandate, Sudan had welcomed him several times and cooperated in order to allow the evaluation of technical needs to build capacity in the field of human rights, and Sudan had given him its needs. Unfortunately, Sudan had not received technical assistance since 2011, therefore the mandate had not achieved its objectives and Sudan was taking stock of this experience. Unilateral sanctions were affecting the human rights of the Sudanese, more than they were affecting the Government. It had been hoped that the Special Rapporteur would submit recommendations to the Council in this regard, but he had totally ignored this.
Interactive Dialogue on Sudan
United Kingdom, speaking on behalf of 24 countries, welcomed positive steps taken by the Government of Sudan but remained deeply concerned about remaining human rights violations and urged Sudan to implement recommendations made by the Independent Expert. Sudan should allow full access to the Independent Expert, including where hostilities were taking place and to prisoners and civil society organizations. European Union welcomed the announcement of a national dialogue and the release of detainees. The European Union remained concerned about the human rights situation in Sudan, including the crackdown on the media and civil society. The European Union also condemned international humanitarian law violations in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur, including indiscriminate bombings and recruitment of children in armed forces.
United Arab Emirates, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, welcomed Sudan’s cooperation with the Independent Expert and its initiative for a global national dialogue. It also appreciated all international and regional efforts to support this dialogue, including by the African Union. The Arab Group appreciated that measures had been taken place for the empowerment of women. Ethiopia, speaking on behalf of theAfrican Group, welcomed Sudan’s cooperation with the Independent Expert and the initiative for a national political dialogue aiming at achieving peace. The African Union was participating in the preparatory process of this dialogue. Sudan should be supported in order to overcome the challenges in the country, including through technical assistance and capacity building.
Spain underscored its concern at the deterioration of the human rights situation in Sudan and the situation in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur, including indiscriminate bombing. Spain was concerned about restrictions on freedom of expression and freedom of religion, and violence against women. The use of the death penalty for the crime of apostasy was alarming. Qatar underlined the constructive cooperation of Sudan with the Independent Expert and welcomed the initiative for a national dialogue. Qatar noted the challenges faced by Sudan, and had made efforts to support reconstruction projects in Darfur. Qatar had recently committed to allocate $ 88.5 million for development in Darfur.
Czech Republic said the human rights situation in Sudan remained of serious concern, especially in Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur. It condemned the aerial bombings, killings of civilians, rampaging of villages, destruction of property, and sexual and gender-based violence perpetrated by Government forces in Sudan. Montenegro was alarmed to hear of increasingly harsh measures targeting political protestors, journalists, students and civil society organizations. The Government was encouraged to further intensify its efforts towards an inclusive national dialogue, where participants could discuss political reform, economic equality, religious tolerance, and other issues. United States was greatly concerned by the escalation of violence and deterioration in the human rights situation in Sudan. Given that the Government was impeding international access to conflict areas, how could the international community take immediate action to assuage the adverse effects of attacks on the civilian population and assist in ending the armed conflict altogether?
United Arab Emirates said that through the report it had understood how the Government had responded to facilitating the mission of the Independent Expert. It was underlined that Sudan had made great steps to promote and protect human rights in the country. It had no doubt that the Government had the political will to overcome all challenges. Venezuela valued efforts made by Sudan to ensure that human rights in the country were respected. Sudan continued to make progress in legislative reforms required to improve the human rights situation. The Council should condemn the imposition of unilateral sanctions, which hurt the most vulnerable sectors of society and daily life.
Belgium supported the call on Sudan to implement recommendations by the Independent Expert. Belgium welcomed efforts and improvements, but remained extremely concerned about remaining challenges and violations in the conflict zones. Belgium urged Sudan to put an end to atrocities and bring those responsible to justice. Sudan should also take further steps to strengthen freedom of expression. Belarus noted the cooperation of Sudan with the Independent Expert, and welcomed Sudan’s constructive work in the field of human rights, including measures to combat human trafficking, establish a national dialogue and eradicate poverty. Belarus supported the call on the international community to provide technical assistance to Sudan. Togo noted with satisfaction that Sudan had engaged constructively with the Independent Experts and welcomed Sudan’s commitment to promote and protect human rights. Togo called on all parties to the conflict to find a peaceful solution, and called on the international community to support efforts by Sudan and provide it with technical assistance.
Italy shared concerns on the insufficient protection of civilians in conflict areas, restrictions on freedom of expression and harassment of civil society organizations. Italy welcomed the recent Addis Ababa agreement and the release of political prisoners, and would be ready to provide technical and financial support to initiatives for peace. Italy called on Sudan to ensure that freedom of religion and belief was protected. Sri Lanka took note of the peace negotiations and political dialogue initiated by Sudan, and welcomed efforts by Sudan to implement its human rights action plan, strengthen the protection of women, and combat human trafficking. The international community should provide technical assistance to Sudan. Norway welcomed Sudan’s willingness to improve the human rights situation in the country, but fully shared the concerns by the Independent Expert. Norway called on Sudan to lift restrictions against human rights defenders. Equally important was the protection of civilians in conflict zones, including from sexual violence. Full humanitarian access should be allowed.
Ireland said the report acknowledged that Sudan had made some progress in putting in place legislation, policies and structure to promote and protect human rights. Nonetheless, implementation remained a significant challenge. Sustainable long term change would not come about until a culture of peace was embedded across Sudanese society. Indonesia recognized the challenges faced by Sudan in pursuit of the promotion and protection of human rights. It believed that these challenges would be effectively addressed through constructive engagement between Sudan and the international community, taking into account the need to provide technical assistance as underlined by the Independent Expert. Mali was very pleased by the level of cooperation established between the Independent Expert and the Government of Sudan, which it encouraged Sudan to continue. It noted with great interest the 10-year Plan of Action drawn up by the Government, and Sudan was encouraged to step up its efforts aimed at implementing this plan. Yemencommended the cooperation and efforts deployed by the Government of Sudan in facilitating the tasks of the Independent Expert and cooperating with him. Yemen lauded the initiative of the President to hold an all-inclusive national dialogue in order to address the challenges facing the country in a just and comprehensive manner.
Pakistan acknowledged the efforts of the Government of Sudan for the protection and promotion of its people. However, a number of challenges faced by Sudan as a result of the absence of sustained peace due to rebel attacks and unilateral coercive measures could not be ignored and undermined the capacity of the Government to achieve sustained economic growth. Algeria noted with satisfaction the numerous measures undertaken by Sudan aimed at improving the human rights situation. Efforts deployed had temporarily improved the situation, particularly economic and social rights. These were encouraging, but were being hampered by foreign debt and unilateral coercive measures.
Egypt said despite remaining challenges, the situation and efforts by the Sudanese Government had improved over the past few years. Egypt welcomed the decision to initiate a national dialogue and called upon all stakeholders to provide technical assistance to Sudan. Egypt was concerned that representatives of donors subjected the allocation of financial support to the respect of human rights by Sudan. Kuwait was pleased to note the cooperation of Sudan with the Independent Expert, which demonstrated the willingness of Sudan to improve the situation and its willingness to receive technical assistance and capacity building. Kuwait welcomed the national dialogue initiated by the Government of Sudan. Germany welcomed that Sudan cooperated with the Independent Expert, and called on Sudan to allow him unhindered access to all parts of the country. Germany welcomed the initiative to hold a national dialogue. This had to be inclusive and allow the participation of all stakeholders, free of harassment. Germany called on Sudan to ensure accountability and the realization of the right to freedom of religion.
South Sudan commended the Independent Expert’s engagement with the Sudanese Government and other stakeholders, and Sudan’s cooperation with the mechanism. South Sudan encouraged all parties to work towards achieving peace. Sudan was facing challenges that needed support from all stakeholders. The situation in Sudan should continue being followed under item 10 of the Human Rights Council. Moroccohighly valued Sudan’s efforts for the promotion and protection of human rights, including its cooperation with the Independent Expert. Morocco welcomed the national dialogue initiative and took note of positive measures such as the adoption of national legislation to combat human trafficking and the law on political participation of women. Cuba was as a matter of principle opposed to country specific mandates against countries of the South, and the use of item 10 of the Council to establish politicized country-mechanisms. Cuba however welcomed Sudan’s achievements in the promotion and protection of human rights. Cuba urged the international community to stand up against unilateral sanctions imposed on Sudan.
France said the Independent Expert on Sudan was a crucial mechanism to monitor the deeply concerning human rights situation in Sudan, especially in Darfur and South Kordofan where massive rights violations had taken place. The Government should fight impunity decisively; the indiscriminate bombing attacks on medical and humanitarian facilities and the targeting of humanitarian workers should not go unanswered. United Nations Children’s Fund said the humanitarian situation in Sudan was one of the worst children’s crises in the world. Over two million Sudanese children suffered acute malnutrition every year. Despite encouraging trends, much more needed to be done to address the nutrition crisis and the use of child soldiers. New legislation prohibiting female genital mutilation was commended, but the law had to be implemented. Australia expressed deep concern about human rights violations in Sudan with regard to freedom of religion or belief as well as restrictions on the freedom of the press, arbitrary detention of political leaders and serious abuses in Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile. Concern was also expressed about interruptions to vaccination campaigns.
Eritrea said it did not accept any country-specific mandates. However, as the mandate was established with the support of the concerned State, Eritrea said it would comment to commend the ongoing positive measures taken by Sudan to promote and protect human rights despite challenging circumstances. The lack of technical assistance since the establishment of the mandate was a great concern and Eritrea urged the international community to improve its support. China commended Sudan for progress made including its 10 year National Action Plan for Human Rights, advances in human rights education, poverty reduction programmes and legislative measures such as the new human trafficking act and the amendment of election laws to increase women’s participation. Côte d’Ivoire praised Sudan’s measures taken to enhance the national dialogue on human rights and encouraged the Sudanese authorities to continue their efforts to provide security to people living in conflict areas. It urged the international community to support Sudan in those endeavours.
East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project said the human rights situation in Sudan continued to deteriorate as one of the most hostile and dangerous environments for human rights defenders in the world. Sudan one year ago cracked down on popular protests, resulting in the death of 170 people. Perpetrators of this violence had not faced justice. United Nations Watch was deeply concerned about the deteriorating situation in Sudan. Bombings had intensified in the Blue Nile region, mostly targeting civilians. Peaceful protestors were seriously injured in Khartoum, and other incidents occurred against human rights defenders. There was widespread impunity in Sudan. The situation in Sudan should be moved to item 4. Society Studies Centre (MADA ssc) said the situation in Sudan had to be perceived in the local context, taking into consideration that Sudanese people had been suffering from the imposition of unilateral measures and years of civil war. In this view, the Council should terminate the mandate of the Independent Expert and the international community should support the efforts for peace by Sudan.
International Federation for Human Rights Leagues was concerned about the deterioration of the human rights situation in Sudan, and the failure by this Council to adequately address the gravity of the situation there. Media and civil society associations continued to be victims of harassment and violence. Perpetrators of killings of peaceful protestors one year ago had still not been held accountable. Al Zubair Charitable Foundation in a joint statement with Eastern Sudan Women Development Organization regretted that civil society organizations had not received adequate support in Sudan. Financing civil society organizations had to be a priority for this Council, to allow them better cooperation with United Nations human rights mechanisms. The Council should end the Independent Expert’s mandate. Working Women Association said that it had worked on the empowerment of women in Sudan, including internally displaced women and rural women. Working Women Association required better support from the United Nations to support the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in Sudan.
Human Rights Watch urged the Council do more on Sudan than just technical assistance, saying it should condemn in the strongest words the indiscriminate attacks on civilians, and that 11 years on, Sudan had made no meaningful progress in holding to account those responsible for crimes in Darfur. Maarij Foundation for Peace and Development asked the Independent Expert and the Council how the 18-year long sanction regime against Sudan had been effective, given its damaging impact on civilians leading to a reliance on humanitarian aid. More than half of Sudan’s population had lived their entire lives under sanctions.
Concluding Remarks by the Concerned Country
Sudan, in concluding remarks, thanked the delegations which had commended its efforts in promoting and protecting human rights. Regarding remarks made by the European Union and others, Sudan emphasized that it had fully cooperated with the Independent Expert, including on his visits to the country. Yes, there were discrepancies in the way Sudan promoted and protected human rights, but civilians were being attacked by rebels, not the Government. It was not true that there were still political detainees as the President of Sudan recently released them; those still detained had been arrested for common law crimes. Non-governmental organizations were allowed free access to all parts of Sudan and the number of non-governmental organizations operating in the country had increased by more than 150 per cent to 91.
Sudan had provided the Independent Expert with a report on the legal measures it had taken regarding the events of 2013; it was trying to end impunity and ensure the rule of law. Sudan asked the Council why some Members had not responded positively to its efforts such as the new National Human Rights Action Plan. The international community had failed to provide any technical assistance to Sudan. It was time for the international community to lift the unilateral sanctions on the people of Sudan.
Concluding Remarks by the Independent Expert on Sudan
MASHOOD BADERIN, Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, said that the purpose of the mandate was to assess and verify the human rights situation in the country to determine what kind of capacity building and technical assistance was required. The main issue that affected the human rights situation in Sudan was the armed conflict. In order to encourage the ongoing national dialogue, it was essential to respect freedom of expression and transparency and to include political parties and actors. There were four urgent letters or appeals sent to Sudan during the reporting period; they were confidential in nature and the delegations wishing to know what they were in relation to should contact the relevant Special Procedures. One of the results of the capacity building efforts in Sudan was the creation of the National Human Rights Commission. The recently adopted 10-year National Action Plan was the ground to continue the cooperation with the Government and plan for the capacity building and technical assistance. The African Union/United Nations hybrid operation in Darfur (UNAMID) was doing a lot of work in community policing, especially in areas of armed conflict where Government institutions were absent. Technical assistance and capacity building must be attached to institutions which addressed the human rights situation on the ground, namely the judiciary, the police and civil society organizations. The Independent Expert supported the call of Sudan for the removal of the sanctions which adversely affected institutions and essential sectors such as health and education. There was a need to put pressure on the rebel groups controlling conflict areas to allow access to the Independent Expert.