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FFC rejects Sudan re-election to the UN Human Rights Council

October 7 - 2022 KHARTOUM
UN Human Rights Council in Geneva (Elma Okic/UN Photo)
UN Human Rights Council in Geneva (Elma Okic/UN Photo)

The Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council (FFC-CC) call 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 took power in a coup d'état, they said in a statement yesterday.

The statement by the FFC's External Relations and Communications Committee explains that the next elections for membership of the UN Human Rights Council are scheduled to take place during the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York on October 11 and will decide which member states will sit on the council for the next three-year membership term.

"Sudan is standing for re-election despite a military junta taking over power in a coup on 25 October 2021," they write.

Sudan was first elected to the Human Rights Council in October 2019 after the glorious 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.

Following the October 25 military coup, which toppled the civilian-led government and abrogated the 2019 Constitutional Document, Sudan was suspended from the African Union (AU). The FFC-CC explains that the coup halted the democratic transition and reversed the progress that had been achieved by the civilian-led government.

Despite suspending Sudan from the union itself, the AU is still enabling the country's re-election to the Human Rights Council.

The FFC-CC explains that "despite suspending Sudan and condemning the military coup, the African Union has failed to withdraw its endorsement for Sudan’s re-election and Sudan is still included on the African group’s 'closed slate' of candidates for the African region [to sit on the Human Rights Council], which means that there are the same number of candidates as there are seats". Hence, "Sudan will not face any competition from other African candidates for re-election".

Human rights abuses

The FFC point out the hypocrisy of electing Sudan's military junta leadership to the Human Rights Council, especially taking into account its membership criteria.

The criteria for Human Rights Council membership are set out in UNGA Resolution 60/251, adopted in 2006. Article 8 of this resolution states that “when electing members of the Council, Member States shall take into account the contribution of candidates to the promotion and protection of human rights and their voluntary pledges and commitments made thereto” whilst Article 9 of this Resolution states that “members elected to the Council shall uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights and fully cooperate with the Council”.

'Far from promoting and protecting human rights, Sudan’s current unconstitutional regime has continuously and systematically violated the human rights of its citizens since 25 October 2021' - FFC-CC

"Far from promoting and protecting human rights, Sudan’s current unconstitutional regime has continuously and systematically violated the human rights of its citizens since 25 October 2021. For example, it has committed serious human rights violations against peaceful protestors, routinely using live ammunition. Around 120 peaceful protesters have been killed and thousands more injured," the FFC states.

It further points out that insecurity, killings, human rights violations, and hate speech have increased in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile state, and eastern Sudan "without any effective response from the de facto authorities". And the list goes on: "Human rights defenders and journalists have been harassed and women protestors have been raped. There have also been arbitrary arrests, incommunicado detentions, and enforced disappearances as well as extended internet shutdowns".

The forces also stress that there is still "no agreement on a clear plan for Sudan to transit out of the current chaotic situation and return to civilian democratic rule" and even point out the contrary; "the military junta has been facilitating the return of political Islamists from the terrorist regime" of Omar Al Bashir, which was responsible for many human rights violations including genocide in Darfur

This does not bode well for the country's current human rights situation. Sudan's junta leader, Sovereignty Council Chairman Lt Gen Abdelfattah El Burhan, has also been accused of having blood on his hands as someone involved in the Darfur genocide and as leader of the army that has been responsible for mass killings of protesters

Co-orchestrator of the military coup and Vice-Chairman of Sudan's Sovereignty Council Gen Mohamed Hamdan 'Hemeti' Dagalo has also been condemned for great human rights abuses carried out by his Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which grew out of the Janjaweed militias that carried out the Darfur genocide under Omar Al Bashir. 

Only weeks ago, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) expressed its deep concerns over the continued human rights violations in West Darfur, often involving the RSF, including killings, detentions, illegitimate use of the Emergency Law, and other rights abuses.

The FFC-CC also points out that "the junta’s representatives in the Council have refused to condemn Russia’s aggression against Ukraine". "Moreover, the economic and social rights of Sudanese citizens have suffered severely as a result of the accelerating economic crisis since the coup, resulting in a sharp decline in living standards and rapidly increasing food insecurity," they state.

Integrity

"We would therefore call on all UN member states to refrain from voting for Sudan by leaving the ballot blank and only voting for candidates who meet the criteria outlined in the Human Rights Council’s founding resolution 60/521," the FFC writes. If Sudan fails to get a simple majority of 97 votes in the anonymised ballot election, its candidacy will be rejected.

'Given the regime’s track record of grave human rights violations, Sudan’s re-election for another three years, in current circumstances, would undermine the integrity and credibility of the Human Rights Council' - FFC-CC

"Given the regime’s track record of grave human rights violations, Sudan’s re-election for another three years, in current circumstances, would undermine the integrity and credibility of the Human Rights Council," the forces write. Re-election "would be a travesty of human rights values and would be a betrayal of the aspirations of the Sudanese people" to achieve freedom, peace, and justice.


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