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UN: Sudan must ratify human rights conventions

October 4 - 2020 KHARTOUM
Flooded streets in Shangil Tobaya, North Darfur (Ahmed Addouma / Unamid)
Flooded streets in Shangil Tobaya, North Darfur (Ahmed Addouma / Unamid)

The Independent United Nations Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, Aristide Nononsi, has called on Sudan to ratify international human rights conventions, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Convention Against Torture.

In his report to the UN Human Rights Council at the 45th session on Friday, he also called on Khartoum to consider ratifying and cooperating with the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

In his report, Nononsi urges the Sudanese government to establish the 12 independent commissions stipulated in the Constitutional Document, especially the ones concerned with peace, legal reforms, transitional justice, human rights, and women's rights.

The human rights expert called on the international community to support the Sudanese government to develop and implement a comprehensive transitional justice plan, including the prosecution of perpetrators of human rights violations. There is also a need for assistance in the initiation of a comprehensive and victim-centred transitional justice process, led by the Transitional Justice Commission to address past abuses, including gender-based violence.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, expressed her concern about the continuing cases of tribal conflict in a number of regions in Sudan, especially recent attacks on sit-ins in Darfur. Despite this, she praised the government’s response to protesters’ demands.

The report calls for the lifting of the economic sanctions imposed on the country due to Sudan remaining on list of State sponsors of terrorism of the USA: “Although the sanctions were put in place to encourage behavioural change and were meant to respect and promote international law, they have proven catastrophic for the most vulnerable groups and have led to reinforce the power of oppressive elites of the former regime.”

Bachelet also welcomed the positive developments in Sudan, praising the government’s cooperation, especially through the opening of the country offices of the UN Human Rights Commission, which has already started its work.

On September 23, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet signed an agreement with the government of Sudan to open a UN Human Rights Office in Khartoum and field offices in Darfur, Blue Nile, Southern Kordofan and East Sudan.


The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is an international treaty adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly. Described as an international bill of rights for women, it was instituted on 3 September 1981 and has been ratified by 189 states.

The USA and Palau have signed, but not ratified CEDAW. The Holy See of Rome, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, and Tonga did not sign the treaty.

The regime of Omar Al Bashir, ousted in April 11 last year, was opposed to the equation of men and women. In February 2017, Islamist groups strongly resisted constitutional amendments that would give women more rights in marriage and inheritance affairs.

In post-Al Bashir’s Sudan, feminists have appealed for Sudan’s new government to sign the Convention, more women participation in the government, and in the peace negotiations more than once.

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