UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has welcomed the signing of the comprehensive peace agreement signed by the Sudanese government and the Sudan Revolutionary Front rebel alliance in the South Sudan capital Juba yesterday as a major step in ending the suffering and human rights violations and abuses inflicted on the Sudanese people over the past decades.
“I hope that this hugely positive development can herald a final comprehensive accord with all parties to ensure peace prevails in Sudan,” said Bachelet. “I urge all sides to ensure that human rights are kept at the heart of the peace deal and how it is implemented.”
The High Commissioner said she was heartened that the parties had agreed to establish a special criminal court for crimes committed in Darfur, to establish transitional justice and reconciliation mechanisms, and to cooperate with the International Criminal Court.
‘These commitments now need to lead to justice, truth and remedies for victims and their families’ – UN High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet
“These commitments now need to lead to justice, truth and remedies for victims and their families. All those responsible for human rights violations and abuses committed during Sudan’s conflicts must be held to account, in accordance with due process and without unjustified delays,” Bachelet stressed. “In addition, there needs to be the continued consultation, participation and representation of the Sudanese population in the establishment of these transitional justice and reconciliation mechanisms.”
Bachelet urges Sudan to accede to the international human rights treaties that it has not yet ratified, and to ensure a consultative approach to reforming the National Human Rights Commission with a broad mandate to protect and promote human rights. The High Commissioner notes that her office remains ready to continue providing technical assistance on this and a variety of other human rights issues.
However, in a reminder of the huge challenges that Sudan faces, the High Commissioner voiced deep concern that inter-communal violence had erupted in the cities of Port Sudan and Kassala, in eastern Sudan in recent weeks, with dozens of people reportedly killed or injured.
“It is clear that inter-communal clashes, often stemming from lack of development and ongoing competition over resources, could pose a significant challenge to Sudan’s stability and its path a solid democracy. Amid the recent violence in eastern Sudan, I call on the Government to take all necessary measures to ensure that civilians are protected and that these incidents are the subject of a thorough, independent, and impartial investigation,” the High Commissioner said.
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