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‘Disappointment’ after Sudan re-elected to UN Human Rights Council

October 13 - 2022 NEW YORK / GENEVA / KHARTOUM
The 17th plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly held to elect members of the Human Rights Council on Monday (Photo: UN photo / Cia Pak)
The 17th plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly held to elect members of the Human Rights Council on Monday (Photo: UN photo / Cia Pak)

Lawyers and human rights defenders have voiced their disappointment after Sudan was re-elected by the UN General Assembly on Monday to serve on the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) for the period 2023-2025. Announcing the results, Assembly President Csaba Kőrösi said that Algeria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Georgia, Sudan, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Morocco, Romania, South Africa, and Viet Nam will serve on the HRC for three years, beginning January 1 next year.

Breaking down how each of the successful candidates fared in relation to their competitors, Kőrösi announced that South Africa topped the voting for African nations, with 182 votes, followed by Algeria (178), Morocco (178), and Sudan (157).

As previously reported by Radio Dabanga, prior to the ballot, activists and prominent NGOs within Sudan and abroad appealed to UN member states to revaluate the candidacy of Sudan to serve in the HRC, saying “the human rights practices in Sudan are clearly incompatible with the well-defined criteria for membership of the HRC”.

On Friday, the opposition Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council (FFC-CC) called for Sudan’s re-election to the United Nations Human Rights Council to be rejected because “Sudan’s current unconstitutional regime has continuously and systematically violated the human rights of its citizens since 25 October 2021” when the military seized power in a coup d’état.

Speaking to the Talk of the Day programme on Radio Dabanga, Sudanese human rights defender Abdelbagi Jibril, says that Sudan’s re-election to the HRC is disappointing for human rights defenders, but at the same time, he stressed that “the decision does not mean a victory for the current authority because the selection was made by the African group within its quota. which has four seats”.

He pointed out that the election of Sudan is indeed problematic for the United Nations and the HRC, noting “the great challenges it faces in the protection and promotion of human rights, the widespread violations, and the loss of hope for a return to the democratic path”.

He pointed out that the conditions for membership of the Council set by the United Nations do not apply to Sudan and a number of countries. “The conditions are to respect the highest standards of human rights protection in their countries and to contribute with the international community to stop any violations,” saying that as Sudan does not meet the conditions, the election of the country “will affect the credibility of the Council”.

He said that the responsibility rests with the African group and the regional blocs, and expressed his astonishment at Sudan’s election to the council despite the suspension of its membership in the African Union.

Darfur Bar Accociation

In a separate statement, the Darfur Bar Association (DBA) said that Sudan’s re-election to the HRC for a second term represents “an incentive for the regime to commit more violations”.

The DBA brands Sudan’s re-election, “despite the deteriorating human rights record and irrefutable United Nations reports, as a violation of standards, and subjects the practices of the United Nations to political settlements”.

The DBA cautioned that “the decision undermines the capacity of the HRC and its ability to carry out the tasks of monitoring and correcting the human rights situation in the countries of the world,” adding that “the decision will kill the efforts of the UN in Sudan, and strip it of credibility and respect among the Sudanese public”.

Geneva Institute for Human Rights

Nizar Abdelgadir, Director of the Geneva Institute for Human Rights, points out that while Sudan gained 157 votes in Monday’s ballot, rating it ninth, during the last session in 2019, it ranked first with 175 votes.

He said that the Sudanese government is required to implement the voluntary pledges it made to win the membership of the HRC and implement the decisions issued by the HRC, the most important of which is the restoration of the civilian government.

Sudan was first elected to the HRC in October 2019 after the December Revolution and the formation of the civilian-led government led by former Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, which worked hard to improve the human rights situation in the country.

On September 2, UN Secretary-General António Guterres submitted a detailed report on Sudan’s political, economic, and security situation between May and August this year. Guterres’s damning report paid particular attention to the deterioration in human rights experienced in Sudan.

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