UN Expert's human rights report on Sudan; EU ‘extremely concerned’
On Wednesday, the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan presented his third report to the UN Human Rights Council meeting in its 27th Session in Geneva, Switzerland. The EU delivered its statement on human rights to the Council on 16 September, expressing its support of the establishment of an effective mechanism to report on human rights abuses in the country.
In its statement to the UN Human Rights Council, the EU said it is “extremely concerned about the further deterioration of the human rights situation in Sudan”.
“There are continuing conflicts in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile with significant humanitarian and human rights abuses on the civilian population, including indiscriminate aerial bombardments and scorched-earth tactics. We are also concerned about gender-based violence, extrajudicial killing of protesters, continued use of arbitrary detention and torture, restrictions on the media and violations of the right to freedom of religion or belief.
“The situation is compounded by the general lack of accountability. The gravity of the situation requires a renewed and increased response by this Council; we therefore support the establishment of an effective mechanism to monitor and report on the human rights situation in Sudan.”
During the reporting period, October 2013 to July 2014, the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mashood Adebayo Baderin, visited the country twice, in February and June 2014. Apart from Khartoum, he travelled to North Darfur, East Darfur, Central Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile states.
In his statement to the Council, Baderin appraised the Sudanese government’s continuation to adopt relevant human rights legislation and policy during the reporting period. “Two notable examples were the passage of a Human Trafficking Act in January 2014, which is a welcome step towards combating the problem of human trafficking in the country, and the adoption of a promising four-year strategic plan for 2014 to 2018 by the National Commission on Human Rights.”
The government has also established a National Committee for the implementation of its 10-year National Action Plan for the protection of human rights. “A human rights adviser has been assigned to the Ministry of Education to advise on the inclusion of human rights in the educational curriculum and a high level committee was established in the Ministry of Education to monitor the implementation of the action plan nationally.”
With regard to remaining human rights challenges, the Independent Expert stated “that there are some recommendations in my previous report that have not yet been implemented.
“Also, I noted that the practical improvement of human rights on the ground still remains protracted. The situation was compounded by some notable human rights encroachments that occurred during the reporting period.”
He furthermore referred to the “precarious” security situation in conflict-affected Darfur, South Kordofan and the Blue Nile. These regions “continue to experience sporadic cycles of armed conflicts, violent attacks and banditry, which have had serious effects on the lives of civilians during the reporting period”.
“The recurrent armed conflicts between Government forces and armed rebel groups, as well as tribal clashes, continue to result in serious human rights violations and large-scale displacement of civilians in different parts of the country. “
Baderin urged the Sudanese authorities to consider his recommendations in the current report, which include among others:
- to set up an independent judicial enquiry into the killings and human rights violations that occurred during the September 2013 demonstrations in Khartoum;
- to ensure that the shooting of the third-year University of Khartoum student in March 2014 is fully investigated and made public;
- to amend the National Security Act of 2010 in conformity with its constitutional and international human rights obligations, to stop the curtailment of activities of civil society organisations;
- to stop the continuing press censorship and ensure that its security agents desist from confiscating newspapers; and
- to improve, generally, the protection of civil and political rights as well as economic and social rights in the country.
He also urged “the National Security Service to carry out its operations with due consideration for the Sudan’s constitutional and international human rights obligations”.
The Independent Expert furthermore stressed the need for the international community to provide adequate technical assistance and capacity building to the Sudanese government, civil society organisations and international humanitarian agencies working in the country.
Mashood Adebayo Baderin's statement can be downloaded below.
File photo: A Sudanese in Khartoum shows bullet casings, after government forces had dispersed demonstrators during the 2013 September protests with tear gas and live ammunition.
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