A cluster of 18 NGOs, based both within Sudan and internationally, have called on the permanent representatives and all member states of the United Nations, to revaluate the candidacy of Sudan to the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in the forthcoming vote in New York on Tuesday. In an open letter to all UN member states, the group argues that “the human rights practices in Sudan are clearly incompatible with the well-defined criteria for membership of the HRC”.
In the open letter, the signatory organisations say they are “deeply concerned that the de facto government of Sudan, which was composed after the military coup d’état of October 25, 2021, is running for re-election for one of the HRC seats slated for Africa”.
They point out that “Sudan is a country that commits gross and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms and therefore it fails to fulfil the standards outlined in resolution 60/251 adopted by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on April 3, 2006*”. The letter also draw the attention of members to the fact that that “due to this illegal takeover of government, Sudan’s membership in the African Union has been suspended by the continental organisation since October 17, 2021”.
‘The human rights practices in Sudan are clearly incompatible with the well-defined criteria for membership of the HRC…’
The signatories lament that following the military coup d’état junta “abrogated the Constitutional Document of August 2019 and toppled the civilian-led government of Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok. This unconstitutional regime change has been followed by a disturbing spate of serious and heinous human rights violations, including unlawful killing of about 120 peaceful protesters, internet shutdowns, harassment of journalists, rape of women protesters, arbitrary arrests, and countless forced disappearances of prodemocracy activists.”
They also point out that there is reported increase in the level of violence and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Darfur. “The country also faces growing dangers of hate speech and calls for ethnic hatred, while the authorities remained idle. The human rights practices in Sudan are clearly incompatible with the well-defined criteria for membership of the HRC.”
‘We strongly believe that voting for Sudan would undermine the Council’s credibility and institutional integrity…’
In conclusion, the signatories urge UN member states not to support Sudan’s candidacy in the forthcoming vote in New York on Tuesday. “We strongly believe that voting for Sudan would undermine the Council’s credibility and institutional integrity and therefore ask your delegation not to support Sudan’s candidacy. We further urge all states to accord paramount consideration to the promotion and protection of human rights and the respect of the substantive Council membership criteria outlined in resolution 60/251 during the elections of members rather than privileging political considerations over human rights.”
The letter echoes the statement by Sudan’s Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council (FFC-CC) last week, calling for Sudan’s re-election to the United Nations HRC 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”.
Sudan was first elected to the Human Rights Council 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. The report stated that the total number of people killed during demonstrations, since October 25 2021 military coup, stands at 117, including 20 children, and one woman.
- African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies, Banjul
- Atrocities Watch Africa, Kampala
- Darfur Bar Association, Khartoum
- Darfur Civil Society Forum, Khartoum
- Darfur Network for Monitoring and Documentation, Kampala
- Interfaith International, Geneva
- Nuba Bar Association, Khartoum
- Omar Al-Mukhtar International Association, Geneva
- Pan-African Congress (PAC-SD), Khartoum
- Pan-African Forum on Rights and Development, New York
- Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (RADDHO), Dakar
- Sudan Documentation Centre, Geneva
- Sudan Human Rights Network, Washington
- Sudanese Civil Society Initiative, Khartoum
- Sudanese Human Rights Initiative, Khartoum
- Sudan’s Doctors for Human Rights, UK
- The Framework Mechanism, Geneva
- The Regional Centre for Training and Development of Civil Society, Khartoum
* Paragraph 8 of resolution 60/251 states that the UNGA: “Decides that the membership in the Council shall be open to all States Members of the United Nations;” and 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 […]. Furthermore, in Paragraph 9 of resolution 60/251, the UNGA decided 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 […].”