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Human Rights Council holds interactive dialogues on Situation of Human Rights in Syria and in Sudan

Human Rights Council
AFTERNOON

19 September 2011

President of Costa Rica Addresses the Council

The Human Rights Council this afternoon held interactive dialogues on the situation of human rights in Syria and in Sudan. It also heard a statement by the President of Costa Rica.

Laura Chinchilla Miranda, President of Costa Rica, said her Government was committed to protecting certain vulnerable groups such as children, women, indigenous peoples and migrants and noted the establishment of a national network for the care of children from an early age and for older persons. Costa Rica had ratified nearly all the conventions and treaties on human rights and had recently established the Inter-institutional Commission for the Implementation of International Human Rights Obligations as a standing body of the executive power.
The principles of universality, objectivity, impartiality, constructive dialogue and cooperation were essential for promoting and protecting human rights. The Human Rights Council had a major challenge to monitor and protect human rights around the world and President Miranda called for a strengthening of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights which required independence, financing and an elimination of any political tendencies.

In the interactive dialogue on the situation of human rights in Syria, Kyung-wha Kang, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ fact-finding Mission on Syria had found a pattern of widespread or systematic human rights violations by Syrian security and military forces, including murder, enforced disappearances, torture, deprivation of liberty and persecution. It was the assessment of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that the scale and nature of these acts could amount to crimes against humanity. It was regrettable that the Government of Syria had not given access to the Mission, despite repeated requests. Nonetheless, the Mission had gathered credible, corroborated and consistent accounts of violations from victims and witnesses, including military defectors and Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries. The Mission concluded that while demonstrations had been largely peaceful, the military and security forces had resorted to an apparent ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy. As of today, over 2,600 people had been killed by military and security forces since mass protests erupted in mid-March.

Syria, speaking as a concerned country, expressed astonishment and shock concerning the unreasonable assessment of the human rights situation in Syria and the report introduced by the Deputy High Commissioner, based on false information and undocumented data. It was indicative that the report was biased and had been drawn up by ulterior motives to satisfy certain governments. Reforms had been undertaken by the Government of Syria and violent gangs had generated sedition by attacking civilians, destroying police stations and attacking police officers.
Those in the Office of the High Commissioner did not comply with the resolution, which requested that the report be credible and unbiased. The events taking place had nothing to do with peaceful protests; these were dangerous acts which were undermining safety and security, damaging the economy and tourism. Syria would continue to implement its reform programme and fulfil the legitimate demands of its citizens, including continuing to protect them and their property. It would not allow terrorism and fanaticism to destabilize its society.

In the interactive dialogue on Syria, speakers expressed concern about the number of civilian victims in Syria and reports of summary executions and enforced disappearances. Investigating atrocities in Syria was essential. All parties in Syria should use maximum self control to avoid a further escalation of the situation which would result in more bloodshed and death. The crisis in Syria should be resolved through opening up a more tolerant political process and all parties should engage in and carry out dialogue. Some speakers did not share the view that the alleged protection of human lives could serve as a pretext for intervention in a country. They supported initiatives in full respect for the sovereign rights of Syria aimed to cooperate in the search for peaceful solutions and categorically rejected any attempt to undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. Other speakers said the High Commissioner had noted 2,600 deaths in Syria and that some of the incidents may constitute crimes against humanity. Each individual State had the obligation to protect its citizens and if a State manifestly failed to protect its population from serious international crimes, the international community had the responsibility to step in by taking protective action in a collective, timely and decisive manner.

Speaking in the interactive dialogue on Syria were Chile, China, Cuba, France, Maldives, Kuwait, European Union, Romania, Belgium, Spain, Republic of Korea, Germany, Mexico, India on behalf of Brazil and South Africa, United States, Sweden, Italy, Japan, Israel, Turkey, United Kingdom, Thailand, Russian Federation, Norway, Croatia, Canada, Australia, Switzerland, Venezuela, Denmark, Iran, Slovakia, Portugal, Uruguay, Belarus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Austria, Botswana, and Indonesia.

The following non-governmental organizations also took the floor: International Commission of Jurists, Movement contre le Racisme et pour l’Amite entre les Peuples, Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, and Rancontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme.

In the interactive dialogue on Sudan, Mohamed Chande Othman, the Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Sudan, said that since his last address to the Human Rights Council, several key developments had taken place in Sudan, most prominent of which was the successful referendum and the birth of a new nation of South Sudan. The human rights situation in Sudan remained fraught with challenges, particularly the full realisation of political and civil rights. While the referendum had been a milestone in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, limited progress had been made by the parties to resolve many other outstanding issues including border demarcation, the sharing of wealth and security arrangements between Sudan and South Sudan.

Turning to the new South Sudan, the Independent Expert had noted enormous challenges faced by the Government, including the urgent need for the authorities to accelerate its transition from a military movement to a responsible and accountable government. Violence and systematic abuses of human rights that continued to occur in an environment of impunity also remained of a great concern and needed to be addressed by the new Government. The Independent Expert called on the international community to provide the people of South Sudan with the needed assistance in pursuing its objectives, in particular in ratifying core international human rights treaties and creating normative framework for national legislation that would promote and protect human rights. In closing, Mr. Othman said that the human rights situation in both Sudan and South Sudan remained precarious and warranted the undivided attention of the Human Rights Council.

Sudan, speaking as a concerned country, said that Sudan’s positive cooperation with the Independent Expert on Sudan reflected the desire of the Sudanese Government to cooperate with the international community in general and engage with United Nations mechanisms in order to promote human rights in Sudan. The successful conduct of the self-determination referendum and the efforts made to ensure the security for the referendum in particular demonstrated the respect of freedom and human rights in respect of South Sudan. There had been a number of positive areas of progress regarding human rights in Sudan. These included the appointment of a special prosecutor for those detained by the Sudanese Armed Forces and the release of those convicted of minor offences; the reduced cases of tribal violence in the period covered by the Independent Expert’s report; and the intensive efforts of the police in the time. Sudan had made considerable progress in the field of developing human rights.

South Sudan, speaking as a concerned country, said that as a new country everything was a priority, but the Government had addressed the priority of the priorities, economic and social rights. South Sudan sought to have functioning institutions to address the needs of its people and reiterated the commitment of its Government to promote and respect human rights. South Sudan intended to cooperate with the Council and the international community in all issues pertaining to the promotion and protection of human rights. Technical support in setting the mechanisms of protection was necessary. South Sudan was convinced that human rights could only be achieved in an atmosphere of peace and democracy. The situation was difficult given economic and developmental realities. South Sudan first of all aimed at poverty reduction and institutions capable of delivering basic services, women rights, children rights and education and would need technical support in order to achieve these goals.

The Council will resume its work at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, 20 September for a full day meeting, during which it will conclude the interactive dialogue on the situation of human rights in Sudan, and will then hold an interactive dialogue on the oral report by the High Commissioner on the situation of human rights in Belarus.

Statement by the President of Costa Rica

LAURA CHINCHILLA MIRANDA, President of Costa Rica, said Costa Rica was a nation deeply committed to the cause of human rights. One hundred and ninety years ago, the country began its independent life with the first Governor of the nation who was a school teacher by profession and who sowed the seeds for democracy. In 1859, Costa Rica was one of the first nations to abolish the death penalty and in 1948 it was one of the first nations to give up the army. Aware of the importance of a healthy environment for peoples, the Government decided to allocate 25 per cent of its national territory for environmental protection. President Miranda said her Government was committed to protecting certain vulnerable groups such as children, women, indigenous peoples and migrants and noted the establishment of a national network for the care of children from an early age and for older persons. Costa Rica had ratified nearly all the conventions and treaties on human rights and had recently established the Inter-institutional Commission for the Implementation of International Human Rights Obligations as a standing body of the executive power.

Costa Rica was a firm supporter of multilateralism. The Inter American Court of Justice and the Inter American Human Rights Court were both based in Costa Rica, demonstrating its commitment and support of multilateralism. Costa Rica’s candidacy for the Council was proposed and received strong backing from the international community. Costa Rica had received the visit of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and had presented its reports to the Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. The results of all of these processes would be helpful in strengthening human rights in Costa Rica. The Government would also implement the recommendations from the country’s Universal Periodic Review. The protection of the most vulnerable groups was a priority for Costa Rica. The principles of universality, objectivity, impartiality, constructive dialogue and cooperation were essential for promoting and protecting human rights. The Human Rights Council had a major challenge to monitor and protect human rights around the world and President Miranda called for a strengthening of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights which required independence, financing and an elimination of any political tendencies. Costa Rica had advocated that the funds paid by States should be voluntary and should not be earmarked to specific contributions. There was a need to keep a human focus in considering human rights and Member States in the Human Rights Council should promote the tasks of a development agenda that showed solidarity and inclusiveness.

Documentation

The Report of the High Commissioner on the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, (A/HRC/18/53), was prepared pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution S-16/1, in which the Council requested the High Commissioner to dispatch urgently a mission to the Syrian Arab Republic to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law and to establish the facts and circumstances of such violations and of the crimes perpetrated, with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring full accountability.

Presentation of Report of High Commissioner on Situation of Human Rights in Syria

KYUNG-WHA KANG, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, in opening remarks, said that she was pleased to open the interactive dialogue on the situation of human rights in Syria on behalf of the High Commissioner who was currently on an official visit to New York. The Council, in its sixteenth Special Session on 29 April 2011, had requested that the High Commissioner dispatch a fact-finding mission to Syria to investigate all alleged violations of human rights law and report on the situation of human rights in Syria to the Council during its eighteenth session. The advance version of the report of the fact-finding Mission was released on 18 August and in a closed session on the same day the High Commissioner had briefed the members of the Security Council on the key findings of the report and encouraged them to consider referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court. On 22 August, the High Commissioner addressed another Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the situation of human rights in Syria which decided in resolutions S-17/1 that an independent international commission of inquiry appointed by the President of the Council would be dispatched to Syria.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ fact-finding Mission on Syria had found a pattern of widespread or systematic human rights violations by Syrian security and military forces, including murder, enforced disappearances, torture, deprivation of liberty and persecution. It was the assessment of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights that the scale and nature of these acts could amount to crimes against humanity. It was regrettable that the Government of Syria had not given access to the Mission, despite repeated requests. Nonetheless, the Mission had gathered credible, corroborated and consistent accounts of violations from victims and witnesses, including military defectors and Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries. The Mission concluded that while demonstrations had been largely peaceful, the military and security forces had resorted to an apparent ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy. Snipers on roof tops had targeted protestors, bystanders who were trying to help the wounded and ambulances. The authorities, using heavy artillery and military vehicles, including tanks and mortars, imposed de-facto blockades on several cities and effectively deprived inhabitants of basic goods and services. The Mission found that security forces had pursued a policy of arbitrary arrest and detention of individuals suspected of having taken part in demonstrations, and acts of torture, including beatings, electrocution, stress positions and psychological abuse were widespread. Children were among those tortured.

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights had called upon the Syrian Government to immediately put an end to the human rights violations, including the excessive use of force against demonstrators, torture and ill-treatment of detainees and enforced disappearances. It further called on the Syrian authorities to take immediate steps to end impunity and to ensure the immediate and unconditional release of detainees held on the basis of their participation in peaceful demonstrations and other political prisoners. The Mission had called on the Government to allow for the safe and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their areas of origins in Syria, and to take immediate measures to ensure full and unhindered access for humanitarian workers to provide aid and assistance to those in need in Syria. In its communications to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Government of Syria had denied allegations of wrongful acts and continued to claim that the majority of the victims were the military and security forces killed by ‘armed gangs.’

As of today, over 2,600 people had been killed by military and security forces since mass protests erupted in mid-March. Ms. Kang emphasized the importance of holding perpetrators of crimes against humanity accountable. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights had found that such crimes may have been committed in Syria and it was against this backdrop that the High Commissioner encouraged the Security Council to consider referring the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court. Despite the mounting international pressure in the past six months since the start of protests, the bloody crackdown in Syria had intensified. In the past few weeks large protests across Syria had appealed for international protection and the presence of international monitors. Ms. Kang said the recent protests were indicative of the increasingly dire human rights situation in Syria and the urgency of an effective international response to address it and urged the Council and its members to continue to use all means available in this regard.

Statement by Syria as a Concerned Country

FAYSAL KHABBAS HAMOUI (Syria), speaking as a concerned country, expressed astonishment and shock concerning the unreasonable assessment of the human rights situation in Syria and the report introduced by the Deputy High Commissioner, based on false information and undocumented data. It was indicative that the report was biased and had been drawn up by ulterior motives to satisfy certain governments. Reforms had been undertaken by the Government of Syria and violent gangs had generated sedition by attacking civilians, destroying police stations and attacking police officers. Many of these gangs’ members had confessed to shooting at protesters to incite violence. Many satellite channels had displayed videos of wounded people which were fabricated or scenes of violence which had taken place somewhere else; parties had provided the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights with names of allegedly dead people who had turned out to be alive. The High Commissioner had only mentioned a small amount of the information provided by the Syrian Government, including official documents which were corroborated by videos.

Syria said those in the Office of the High Commissioner did not comply with the resolution, which requested that the report be credible and unbiased. The Office of the High Commissioner had neglected this important information. The events taking place had nothing to do with peaceful protests; these were dangerous acts which were undermining safety and security, damaging the economy and tourism; and the report had contributed to weakening the fabric of Syrian society. Syria would continue to implement its reform programme and to fulfill the legitimate demands of its citizens, including continuing to protect them and their property. It would not allow terrorism and fanaticism to destabilize its society. Syria expected the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to carry out its work to protect civilians, human rights and construct a frank dialogue in accordance to the mandate General Assembly resolution 48/141. Any measures otherwise would only harm Syrian people and this would make the Office of the High Commissioner a partner in the plot to destabilize Syria and its people and these unprofessional reports issued by the Office would no longer be credible and would impede the dialogue and credibility. The Office of the High Commissioner would have to be credible and objective in the future.

Interactive Dialogue on Situation of Human Rights in Syria

VICENTI ZERAN (Chile) said Chile was deeply concerned about the situation in Syria. Syria had deep ties with Chile. Chile was moved by the number of civilian victims in Syria. Chile was particularly concerned about reports of summary executions and enforced disappearances. The Human Rights Council had held Special Sessions and had sent an independent fact-finding Mission. Investigating atrocities in Syria was essential. It was up to those governing to ensure peace.

XIA JING GE (China) said China had noted the report submitted on the human rights situation in Syria and attached great attention to the development of the situation in the country. China called on all parties in Syria to use maximum self control to avoid a further escalation of the situation which would result in more bloodshed and death. The crisis in Syria should be resolved through opening up a more tolerant political process and all parties should engage in and carry out dialogue. Syria itself should decide the future of Syria and the international community should respect the sovereignty of Syria.

RODOLFO REYES RODRIGUEZ (Cuba) said Cuba denounced the interventionist aims of a group of countries led by the United States. Destabilization and regime change in Syria were the strategic objectives of Israel and the United States, as part of their aim to reshape the Middle East. Cuba shared the concern about the loss of innocent lives; however Cuba did not share the view that the alleged protection of human lives could serve as a pretext for interventions. Cuba expressed its concern with the attempts to deal with a domestic issue in the Security Council given the pressure of Western powers. The role of the international community should be to provide support to protect peace and stability and not to provoke deaths, crime and aggression of innocent citizens. Cube supported initiatives in full respect for the sovereign rights of Syria aimed to cooperate in the search for peaceful solutions and categorically rejected any attempt to undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. Cuba reaffirmed its commitment to Syria’s right to self-determination and its confidence in the Government’s capacity to address its domestic problems.

JEAN-BAPTISTE MATTEI (France) said France’s thoughts went out to families of the victims of repression in Syria. The High Commissioner had noted 2,600 deaths and that some of the incidents may constitute crimes against humanity. France welcomed the appointment of highly respected personalities to form part of the fact-finding Mission. The identification of those responsible was a duty to the thousands of victims in Syria. Syria had to comply with the various United Nations mechanisms and allow journalists to fully access its territory. Syria must put an end to the violence in Syria. France called on Syria to put an end to the kidnappings and violence.

IRUTHISHAM ADAM (Maldives) said that there were more than 1,900 names of persons who had been killed in Syria since the beginning of the protests. If the Maldives could have its way, it would ask for each name to be read before the Council to demonstrate that the Council was here to defend individual human beings and not Governments. There was no sign of improvement in the human rights situation in Syria. It was an unfortunate but unavoidable fact that the Government of Syria had no intention of stopping these human rights violations and the Maldives stressed that each individual State had the obligation to protect its citizens and that if a State manifestly failed to protect its population from serious international crimes, the international community had the responsibility to step in by taking protective action in a collective, timely and decisive manner.

DHARAR ABDUL-RAZZAK RAZZOOQI (Kuwait) recalled and reaffirmed its intervention during the seventeenth session of the Council concerning the situation in Syria. Kuwait was concerned about the situation in Syria, which had led to a number of deaths and injuries among the civilian population and called upon the Syrian Government to put an end to the continuing violence. Wisdom was necessary to deal with the root causes of this violence in order to move ahead with a process of serious reform to respond to the legitimate aspirations of people. The respect of territorial sovereignty was important and earnest decisions might lead to serious consequences. Kuwait called on Syria to engage in dialogue with all stakeholders and opposition members. Stability in Syria was crucial for regional stability; thus Kuwait called upon Syria to fully collaborate with the international community to ensure a process leading to adequate solutions for the suffering and conveyed Kuwait’s condolences to the victims.

Ms. ZEPPIE (European Union­) said the European Union was deeply concerned that the Mission was not allowed access to Syria. The European Union was deeply concerned about the arrests and torture of the human rights defenders and their deaths in custody, especially the conclusion of the report that the attacks may constitute crimes against humanity. The fact-finding Mission had compiled a list of 50 perpetrators at various levels of government. The European Union asked if the High Commissioner foresaw any action being taken against these individuals. The European Union urged the Syrian authorities to cooperate fully with the Commission of Inquiry. The European Union demanded that President Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian Government stop their campaign without delay and release all detained protestors.

MARIA CIOBANU (Romania) said Romania regretted that the work of the Fact-Finding Mission was hampered by the Syrian Government which had not granted access or provided cooperation. There were an unacceptable number of civilian victims, including children and there was no justification for such violence. Political reforms and national dialogue were needed to meet the requests of citizens asking for democratic participation. Romania called on the Syrian Government to engage in dialogue with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. According to findings of the report, what measures would be necessary to fulfill the impunity gap between international human rights law and the national laws in Syria?
FRANCOIS ROUX (Belgium) said that the fact-finding Mission mentioned in its report that the Syrian authorities had committed serious human rights violations, including systematic attacks against the civilian population. The murder of a peaceful protester, Ghiath Mata, and the exposure of Yahya Shurbaji, Ma’an Shurbaji, Mohamed Tayseer Khoulani and Mazen Zyadeh, arrested at the same time, to torture illustrated the continuous repression of the Syrian regime against its inhabitants. Concerning this situation and the importance Belgium conceded to the fight against impunity, Belgium supported the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry and expressed regret with the fact that the Commission had not been allowed into Syrian territory. Belgium called on the Syrian authorities to cooperate with the Commission.

BORJA MONTESINO (Spain) said Spain firmly condemned the deaths of civilians, acts of torture and the general nature of the Syrian Government’s response to the Syrian people’s peaceful demonstrations to reach their aspirations. Spain exhorted the Syrian authorities to allow the members of the Commission of Inquiry to enter Syria. The reforms of the Syrian Government would only have been credible if there had been a cession of violence.

KWON HAERYONG (Republic of Korea) said the Republic of Korea expressed its deep concern about the fact-finding Mission’s report and was especially troubled by the fact that the death toll had risen above 2,600. The Republic of Korea called on the Government of Syria to immediately stop such violence and urged them to work with its people for the future of the country. The Republic of Korea reiterated its strong condemnation of any use of excessive force by the Syrian Government and called on its leaders to immediately put an end to such violence. The Syrian Government should cooperate with the Fact-Finding Mission and urged the Government to render its full cooperation with the Commission of Inquiry. The Republic of Korea said that the Syrian Government should respect the democratic aspirations of its people and that the current leadership should demonstrate a full commitment to protecting and promoting the fundamental human rights of its citizens.

REINHARD SCHWEPPE (Germany) said the Council had witnessed for more than six months a massive and brutal crackdown by the Syrian regime on its people with killings, arbitrary detention, torture, repression and intimidation. More than 2,600 people had been killed, including women and children who had been tortured to death. The Council had been very clear in condemning in the strongest terms the brutal campaign that the Syrian regime was waging against its own people; and it had shown its responsibility by raising its voice and convening two Special Sessions to address the unacceptable situation in Syria. Germany commended the High Commissioner for her report to the Security Council on the work of the fact-finding Mission as a result of the first Special Session. Germany highly appreciated that during its second Special Session in August, the Council had mandated an international and independent Commission of Inquiry. During the upcoming Universal Periodic Review session of the Council, Syria would be on the agenda but so far Syria had not handed over a national report, in a serious lack of cooperation. Syria had to immediately stop the brutal repression and widespread and massive use of violence. It had to ensure access by international humanitarian, human rights organizations and international media and to end all forms of blockade of media. All those responsible for the brutal use of violence and ongoing violations of human rights in Syria should be held accountable. Germany stood ready to support initiatives, including by civil society activists, documenting these violations and thus contributing to accountability.

SALVADOR TINAJERO (Mexico) said the Human Rights Council had had to meet on two occasions to deal with the unacceptable situation in Syria. Not only had the repression not come to an end, it had worsened. Mexico emphatically rejected the use of violence against legitimate demonstrators. Mexico agreed with the report of the High Commissioner that the Government of Syria’s duty was to be primarily concerned with protecting the human rights of its population and that it was failing in this responsibility. The Human Rights Council must continue to assume its responsibility and take important decisions that could not be postponed.

GLORIA GANGTE (India), in a joint statement on behalf of Brazil and South Africa, said that on 10 August 2011 a high-level delegation representing India, Brazil and South Africa had visited Syria to discuss the current situation and the way forward. According to the Syrian Government free and fair parliamentary elections would be held in Syria before the end of 2001 and the process of revision of the constitution would be completed by February/March 2012. Opposition groups must be encouraged to participate in this process. All voices must be able to express themselves freely and without intimidation. The human rights situation remained a matter of grave concern. Reports from United Nations mechanisms indicated a continued cycle of violence and human rights violations. India, Brazil and South Africa condemned all acts of violence in the country and regretted the loss of life. All violence must be stopped immediately. The Syrian authorities had promised to stop violence against peaceful demonstrators and urged full respect for human rights and international human rights law. India, Brazil and South Africa reaffirmed their recognition of the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Syria and regretted that the fact-finding Mission of the Office of the High Commissioner was not allowed to discharge its mandate. They called upon Syria to cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry recently established by the Council and to take this opportunity to show the credibility and impartiality of the independent judicial committee established to investigate the violence and to share its preliminary findings.

EILEEN CHAMBERLAIN DONAHOE (United States) said the United States had profound concerns about the situation in Syria. The United States had welcomed the formation of the Commission of Inquiry. The High Commissioner’s report had noted that the Syrian Government was continuing its campaign of repression and was now responsible for over 2,600 deaths of it own citizens. The senior members of Syrian regime who bore responsibility for safeguarding their people had betrayed the people and must be held to account. The Assad regime must step aside and let Syria transition peacefully to a representative and inclusive democracy that supported and defended the universal rights of all Syrians. The United States stood with the Syrian people as they strove to determine their own destiny in a peaceful transition to a representative and inclusive government and urged those who would hinder it to step aside.

JAN KNUTSSON (Sweden) said Sweden condemned the unacceptable killings, torture, excessive use of violence, disappearances and intimidation by the army, police and various security forces in Syria. Sweden urged the regime to allow independent reporting from inside the county and asked the Deputy High Commissioner what would be the most constructive role for the Office of the High Commissioner to play considering the current circumstances in Syria? Sweden stood firmly behind the view that Bashar al-Assad had completely lost his legitimacy in the eyes of the Syrian people and needed to step aside from power in Syria. Sweden reiterated its hope for a genuine and inclusive dialogue that would shape the future of Syria and stood ready to support such a process.

LAURA MIRACHIAN (Italy) said that Italy and the entire European Union remained strongly focused on the situation of human rights in Syria, which warranted additional restrictive measures, including asset freezes and travel bans for those involved in the ongoing brutal repression and a ban on the oil import. Italy noted that the Arab League had paid similar attention to the grave violations occurring in the country. The report of the fact-finding Mission confirmed the serious concerns that led to convening the Council’s Special Session a few weeks ago. Italy reiterated its firm condemnation of the crimes. Hope that the Syrian leadership would decide on a u-turn from its deplorable behavior was fading and Italy called on the Syrian authorities to fully comply with the Council resolutions S-16/1 and S-17/1, to put an immediate end to the unacceptable violence against their people, and to grant unimpeded access to international humanitarian agencies, human rights organizations and the media. Italy welcomed the well-balanced appointment of the members of the Commission of Inquiry, wished them success and urged Syrian authorities to promptly allow them to visit the country.

KENICHI SUGANUMA (Japan) said Japan had been urging Syria for an immediate halt to violence against civilians and prompt and concrete implementation of the various reforms. Japan acknowledged some positive steps such as the visits to Syria by the United Nations humanitarian mission and the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross and issuing of a new draft law which paved the way for political reform. Syrian security authorities continued to use excessive force in response to peaceful demonstrations causing death and injuries among the general public. Japan urged Syria to cooperate fully with the Commission of Inquiry.

WALID ABU-HAYA (Israel) said Israel had grave concerns about the deteriorating situation in Syria and condemned the widespread and systematic attacks against the civilian population, including killings, arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture and enforced and involuntary disappearances. Israel was shocked at the detailed accounts of crimes in the High Commissioner’s reports. The last few days had seen a significant military escalation adding scores of civilian causalities every day. Such escalation coincided with the opening of the school year in Syria and raised major concerns and worries with regard to the safety of children while carrying out their daily lives. Israel hoped that the Syrian struggle would lead to all Syrians living in an open and free democratic society that respected individual freedoms and adhered to the rule of law.

YAPRAK ALP (Turkey) said that Turkey was following with deep concern the developments in Syria. Turkey had extended a hand of friendship and tried to convince the Syrian leadership to shape the future of the country on the basis of the legitimate aspirations of the Syrian people. Turkey had asked the Syrian leadership to stop the bloodshed, expedite the reform process and to address the current challenges through dialogue with the opposition. Turkey had also made it clear that the reported level of human rights violations in the country was unjustifiable and requested that military operations against protesters to stop. The Syrian people were legitimately asking for and deserved greater democracy, freedom, justice and dignity. It did not seem that the Syrian authorities understood the nature of the movement. Repression had not ceased, this was a dead end. A serious erosion of Turkey’s confidence in Syrian leadership had occurred. Reform promises had to be turned into action and should be done now with the participation of the Syrian people. Turkey underlined that the Arab League, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, and the Gulf Cooperation Council had started to take a more critical approach towards Syria. Turkey, which was not associated with any particular group in Syria, would continue to stand by the legitimate democratic aspirations of the Syrian people.

PETER GOODERHAM (United Kingdom) said that the human rights situation in Syria was still deteriorating despite many promises and the United Kingdom was shocked by the actions taken to stop the peaceful protests. The United Kingdom once again called for the immediate release of all prisoners of conscience and those arbitrarily arrested. The United Kingdom noted the finding of the fact-finding Mission that the pattern of human rights violations might constitute crimes against humanity. The perpetrators of violations and those who sanctioned them must be taken to account. Given the shocking catalogue of violations, the United Kingdom urged the Human Rights Council to transmit the Report of the Fact-finding Mission to the Security Council. The violence in Syria must stop now and President Assad must step down and give freedom and liberty to the people to choose their own leaders.

SIHASAK PHUANGKETKEOW (Thailand) said Thailand remained deeply worried by the political conflicts and violence in Syria, which had immensely disrupted the welfare and safety of the Syrian people as well as foreign nationals. The grave human rights and humanitarian situation on the ground demanded the immediate and full attention of the Syrian authorities and Thailand reiterated its calls to the Syrian authorities to fulfill their promises by, among others, expediting the process of reform and addressing all allegations of human rights violations with a view towards bringing perpetrators to justice. Thailand said that the current situation in Syria should finally be resolved through an internally-led political process which ensured an inclusive, credible and genuine national dialogue that respected the will of the Syrian people.

MIKHAIL LEBEDEV (Russian Federation) said the Russian Federation welcomed the clarifications made by Syria to the report introduced by the Deputy High Commissioner. The Russian Federation was concerned about the situation in Syria; however, despite existing tensions, it believed the crisis did not constitute a threat to international peace and security. Any solution should be carried out without intervention from abroad and on the basis of legality and the search for national accord. Only on the basis of constructive dialogue could the stable and democratic development of Syria be achieved. The Russian Federation noted the efforts of the Government to implement political reform, to allow for humanitarian access and to receive missions from the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The Russian Federation deplored the violence, including against state authorities and the abuses that had led to victims in the last months. It hoped that investigations in this regard would be transparent and independent and that they would bring the perpetrators to justice. Instead of focusing on sanctions, the interaction among parties should be promoted. Dialogue and agreement were needed to put an end to the conflict.

HARRIET E. BERG (Norway) said Norway remained deeply concerned over the human rights situation in Syria where the regime’s prolonged crackdown on the demonstrators had led to more than 2,600 killed and many more injured and arrested. The Syrian leadership must stop the use of violence immediately and President Assad must step aside. The indicated willingness of the authorities to engage in the reform had been followed by nothing but a continued violent clampdown against the people of Syria. Norway was pleased by the recent decision of the Human Rights Council to establish the Commission of Inquiry to investigate all alleged violations of international human rights law in Syria and the quick appointment of the high-level experts as members of this Commission. It was important that the international community, led by the United Nations, was united in the critical response to the grave situation in Syria and that those who had committed crimes were brought to justice.

VESNA VUKOVIC (Croatia) that Croatia was gravely concerned about the continued suffering of the Syrian people and particularly of children and was appalled by the fact that children had not only been targeted by security forces, but also repeatedly subjected to the same human rights and criminal violations as adults, including torture, with no consideration for their vulnerable status. Croatia strongly called on the Syrian authorities to stop all acts of violence in order to permit a Syrian-led inclusive political process that would enable the country to move towards a peaceful resolution of the actual situation and further strengthening of democratic standards and rules of law.

ALISON LECLAIRE CHRISTE (Canada) said Canada was disturbed by the human rights violations documented by the report of the High Commissioner. Canada deplored that the situation on the ground continued to worsen and the reactions whereby peaceful demonstrations had been met with indiscriminate and excessive use of force, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearances, or worse. This abhorrent campaign of repression continued. The international community must continue and accelerate its efforts to ensure that the Assad regime lived up to its obligations under the international human rights instruments it had ratified and that it was held accountable for the grave violations of human rights occurring. States officials and security forces must no longer be immune and true multiparty elections should be held. The Government must also allow access to international human rights monitors whose presence had been demanded by the people of Syria. Canada continued to stand with the victims of human rights violations and would continue to work with the Council to end these crimes and hold the perpetrators accountable.

RUTH STONE (Australia) said Australia condemned in the strongest terms possible the ongoing violence committed by the Syrian regime and thanked the High Commissioner for her report on the human rights situation in this country. Australia urged Syria to implement the recommendations in the High Commissioner’s report, in particular putting an immediate end to gross human rights violations, ending impunity, releasing detainees, enabling the safe return of refugees and internally displaced people, and allowing unrestricted access to journalists, humanitarian workers and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Australia welcomed the widespread international condemnation of the violence in Syria, particularly those coming from governments in the Middle East and from the Arab League. In closing, Australia urged the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court.

DANTE MARTINELLI (Switzerland) said that Switzerland regretted that the High Commissioner had not received permission to visit Syria during the fact-finding Mission. Extra judiciary, summary and arbitrary executions had occurred in places of detention and Switzerland said these acts should be investigated. The Syrian authorities should release all those who had been detained illegally and must honour protection of the wounded by permitting medical and humanitarian teams access. Switzerland called on Syria to cooperate with the members of the Commission of Inquiry and asked what concrete actions and measures could the Human Rights Council take to ameliorate the situation of human rights in Syria.

EDGARDO TORO CARRENO (Venezuela) said Venezuela deplored the deaths that had taken place in the internal conflict experienced in Syria and condemned the use of violence as a way to solve the conflict, and made a call for political dialogue as dialogue was the only way out of the current crisis. Venezuela feared that the conflict might depend on fear that terrorists might have infiltrated the system and that an international media campaign was promoting civil strife promoting destabilization, as a pretext for hegemonic interventionist pretentions. The Syrian Government had been applying a series of political reform concerning those who peacefully manifested and had nothing to do with armed extremist groups, ensuring political participation, political parties and political participation. Venezuela was pleased that the activities of the humanitarian mission were facilitated and firmly believed in the capacity of the Government and the people of Syria to solve their internal problems without international intervention and in full respect of the sovereignty and self-determination of peoples.

STEFFEN SMIDT (Denmark) said Denmark thanked the High Commissioner for the work on investigating the situation in Syria and expressed its concern over the violence in this country, which it found completely unacceptable. Denmark condemned in the strongest terms possible the killing of human rights defenders while being detained by Syrian authorities. The Danish Government had continuously encouraged the Government of Syria to stop the violence and start the political reform, but since they failed to do so, Denmark considered that President Assad should step down. Denmark was particularly disturbed by the finding that the pattern of violence might constitute crimes against humanity and added that the perpetrators must be brought to justice. The human rights situation in Syria must remain on the agenda of the Human Rights Council and Denmark was looking forward to receiving the report of the fact-finding Mission.

ASGAR SADR KHAN (Iran) said that Iran shared the concerns of the international community over the continued violation of human rights in Syria and the use of extreme violence on all sides. The report had failed to pay balanced attention to all the sources of violence, which included those committed by armed gangs. Perpetrators should be held accountable. It was regrettable that the High Commissioner in the report’s recommendations paved the way for the unacceptable policy of interference in the domestic affairs of States on the precarious foundation of humanitarian concerns and responsibility to protect. Iran reiterated that the only solution to the current crisis in Syria was an all-inclusive and Syrian-led political process that would aim to effectively address the legitimate aspirations and demands of all Syrians. The international community should recognize the Government’s steps already taken to implement public reforms, particularly the lifting of the state of emergency, the elimination of the Supreme State Security Court, the drafting of new laws for the establishment of political parties and the organization of parliamentary and local government elections.

BRANISLAV LYSAK (Slovakia) said Slovakia regretted that Syria had not granted access to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ fact-finding Mission. The Mission found serious concerns, particularly regarding human rights violations constituting systematic attacks against the civilian population which may amount to crimes against humanity. Given the loss of life, brutal summary executions, torture in detention and forced disappearances perpetrated by security personnel, the Syrian regime had lost its legitimacy and the trust of its population. Slovakia supported the recommendation that the Security Council remained seized of the matter.

PEDRO RODRIGUES DA SILVA (Portugal) said that Portugal remained seriously concerned about the ongoing human rights violations in Syria as pointed out by the fact-finding Mission. Portugal took good note of its finding, including the pattern of violations that might amount to crimes against humanity, and strongly regretted the lack of cooperation by the Syrian authorities. Portugal demanded that all perpetrators of those serious crimes were brought to justice and therefore supported the call of the High Commissioner for a referral to the International Criminal Court. Portugal welcomed the establishment of the Commission of Inquiry to investigate all violations of international law and to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of those crimes. In conclusion, Portugal reiterated its full support to the High Commissioner for her actions on the human rights situation in Syria and asked if she foresaw any further measures to be undertaken by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to urge Syria to comply with its international obligations under international human rights law.

RICARDO GONZALES (Uruguay) said that Uruguay condemned the acts of the Syrian Government and noted that the situation on the ground had not improved but had deteriorated as evidenced by the fact that the Syrian Government had not cooperated with the fact-finding Mission. Uruguay said that there must be an end to the violent repression along with the full development of the peaceful expression for the longing of political dissension among the population.

Mr. LARISA (Belarus) said Belarus took note of the report of the High Commissioner but expressed concern with the one-sided assessment contained in the report. Belarus said any such document should give equal balance to all parties in such a conflict. Belarus noted that Syria had indicated its willingness to undertake reforms. It was regrettable that there was no assessment of the impact of sanctions that only exacerbated the humanitarian situation. Belarus said all the parties should refrain from violence.

KATERINA SEQUENSOVA (Czech Republic) said the Czech Republic strongly condemned gross human rights violations committed by the Syrian authorities and welcomed the establishment of the fact-finding Mission as a result of the seventeenth Special Session of the Human Rights Council. Credible and impartial investigations into all human rights violations were necessary and all perpetrators should be brought to justice and the Czech Republic supported the referral of the situation to the International Criminal Court. The ruling Syrian regime had lost its legitimacy and should step aside. The scale and gravity of violations should prompt the international community to act in accordance with basic principles of responsibility to protect and should be ready to respond with appropriate measures. The Czech Republic asked about the High Commissioner’s recommendations to the international community in this regard.

YOUNG HO KIM (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) welcomed a series of steps taken by the Syrian Government, including lifting the state of emergency, abolishing the Supreme State Security Court and issuing the laws regulating the establishment of political parties, parliamentary elections and elections of local governing bodies. These positive developments should be encouraged. There was concern that Syria was singled out for purposes other than genuine human rights, while the continuing bloody wars and civilian killings in many parts of the world, especially in Afghanistan, Iraq and the occupied Arab territories were being deliberately ignored by the main sponsors of this Session. The Human Rights Council should live up to its founding ideals of objectivity, impartiality, non-selectivity and non-politicization.

GERARD VOLLMER (Austria) said that despite assurances to the contrary by the Syrian Government, the security forces continued to carry out what appeared to be indiscriminate attacks on Syria’s civilian population. In light of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights findings, Austria supported the High Commissioner’s call for a referral to the International Criminal Court. Austria reiterated its support for the establishment of an independent Commission of Inquiry as mandated in the Special Session. Austria called on the Syrian Government to immediately put to an end the gross human right violations; take immediate steps to end impunity, unconditionally release all detainees; and allow access by international monitoring bodies, including the media.

DAPHNE NOMSA MLOTSHWA (Botswana) said that the report by the High Commissioner revealed an unfolding human rights and humanitarian catastrophe that, if left unaddressed, would leave a mark on the world’s conscience. There was a clear pattern of violations that might amount to crimes against humanity. Especially alarming were the reports that children were not only targeted by security forces but repeatedly subjected to the same human rights violations as adults and killing of children by the Syrian forces was of a particular concern. The Government of Syria had an obligation to protect its own people but if it was failing or was killing its own people, the international community must assume the responsibility to protect. Botswana hoped that those responsible for violations would be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law and Botswana welcomed the decision of the Human Rights Council to establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the continued human rights violations in Syria.

ASEP SOMANTRI. (Indonesia) said Indonesia shared the growing concern at the lack of progress since the previous Special Session in April, particularly the delays to which access to the county by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights mission continued to be subjected. There was deep concern for the various reports of unabated violence and casualties, including women and children, as a result of the disproportionate use of force. Indonesia reiterated its call for all parties to exercise maximum restraint and to fully respect human rights and the rule of law. Indonesia noted with appreciation the solemn commitments of the Syrian delegation during the Special Session in August and said that the international community should also demonstrate its spirit of cooperation and engagement by encouraging an inclusive and Syrian-led political process aimed at effectively addressing the legitimate aspirations and concerns of the citizens.

BELKIS WILLE, of International Commission of Jurists, urged the Human Rights Council to request the United Nations Security Council to consider the situation in Syria in order to consider effective options at its disposal to ensure the immediate protection of the Syrian population. Many of the violations amounted to crimes against humanity and the Security Council must urgently address them, including by referring the situation to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

GIANFRANCO FATTORINI, of Movement contre le Racisme et pour l’Amite entre les Peuples, said the Movement supported the Syrian people in achieving their rights without interventionism that did not resolve conflicts as demonstrated in Côte d’Ivoire, Iraq and Afghanistan.

HAITHAM MALEH, of Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, said that million of Syrians now found themselves prisoners, surrounded by tanks and snipers and machine guns while demanding freedom. The current Government had demonstrated neither the ability nor the will to provide justice to the Syrian people. The High Commissioner had delivered her report to the Security Council a few weeks ago and requested that the situation be referred to the International Criminal Court but this request had been ignored. It was now the time to act.

SHADY AMMANE, of Rancontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme, said that crimes in Syria were slowly saying good bye to the spring and that there was the continued colour of blood by women, men and children killed in the violence unleashed in Syria. Could the world look on passively on this massacre? There should be no position, no theory or doubt to justify non-action now.

Concluding Remarks on Situation in Syria

KYUNG-WHA KANG, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, in concluding remarks, thanked Member States for their support for the Office and their ongoing concern with the serious and deteriorating situation in Syria. Concerning the question posed by the European Union delegation about the confidential list of alleged perpetrators, the Office believed that the scale of abuses was serious and those responsible should be brought to justice and within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and recommended that this situation was deferred to the Court. It was to be seen if the Security Council would decide to do so; in which case the Office would be ready to provide the Court with information including this list. Concerning the question of Romania about the impunity gap between international and domestic standards, Ms. Kang noted that certainly there were provisions in domestic law which provided for impunity for security forces. For this reason, the recommendations contained in the report of the fact-finding Mission included the abolition of legislation which provided immunity, for instance to intelligence services. However, with regards to existing legislation, what was missing was the political will to implement the law; this had promoted a culture of impunity which had facilitated a violent response to protests. Ms. Kang hoped that the Commission of Inquiry would have greater access and its investigation would help change the culture of impunity. The role of the Office was to support the Commission of Inquiry and the Secretariat would be up and running from tomorrow onwards to aid the Commissioners when they arrived in Geneva. The High Commissioner would continue to speak up, including through press statements and statements to the Security Council and this Council; and her Office would continue to endeavour to engage with the Syrian authorities and to press for seriously needed changes; first and foremost to stop violations including the use of force. In this regard the Office was encouraged by the statement of the Syrian delegation that they stood ready to collaborate.

Ms. Kang said the delegation of Belarus had indicated that the report was unbalanced. She noted that they had included the full extent of the information coming from the Syrian authorities as annexes; and, concerning the claims that the reports had not dealt with the impact of the sanctions, Ms. Kang pointed out that that was not part of the mandate. The High Commissioner would recommend that the international community continue to condemn violations and urge the Syrian authorities to the immediate halt of the violence and to continue with the implementation of recommendations in the fact-finding report. Ms. Kang called on the Syrian authorities to cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry and with the Council. This should be contextualized with regards to the message against the impunity in which security forces had been operating. Ms. Kang noted the contribution of neighbouring countries to the work of the fact-finding Mission and in providing protection to refugees and encouraged their further cooperation with the work of the Commission of Inquiry.

Documentation

The Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohamed Chande Othman, (A/HRC/18/40), is submitted by the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 15/27, in which the Council decided to extend the mandate of the independent expert, in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/82, Council resolutions 6/34, 6/35, 7/16 9/17 and Council decision 14/117. The present report covers the period from September 2010 to June 2011.

The Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan on the status of implementation of the recommendations compiled by the Group of Experts to the Government of the Sudan for the implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 4/8, pursuant to Council resolutions 6/34, 6/35, 7/16, 11/10 and 15/27, ( A/HRC/18/40/Add.1), states the independent expert has followed up the effective implementation of the recommendations through dialogue with the Government of the Sudan. He has assessed the measures taken by the Government to implement the recommendations compiled by the Group of Experts and provides the Council with a description and analysis of the status of implementation that is as detailed as possible. The independent expert concludes that the Government of the Sudan has not taken any significant steps towards the implementation of most of the recommendations since his previous report to the Council. The independent expert therefore recommends that the Council continue its process of review, in accordance with the indicators for assessing implementation developed by the Group of Experts, until such time as there is full implementation of all recommendations.

Statement by the Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Sudan

MOHAMED CHANDE OTHMAN, the Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Sudan, said that since his last address to the Human Rights Council, several key developments had taken place in Sudan, most prominent of which was the successful referendum and the birth of a new nation of South Sudan. Sudan had also undergone the successful Universal Periodic Review mechanism and the Independent Expert was encouraged by the commitment of the Government to the implementation of the recommendations made by the Working Group. One of priorities in this regard was the establishment of the National Human Rights Commission, which, despite the enactment of the legislation two years ago, was still to be constituted. Until that was the case, there was no effective independent national mechanism for the protection and promotion of human rights in Sudan. The human rights situation in Sudan remained fraught with challenges, particularly the full realisation of political and civil rights. While the referendum had been a milestone in the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, limited progress has been made by the parties to resolve many other outstanding issues including border demarcation, the sharing of wealth and security arrangements between Sudan and South Sudan.

In Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states, the popular consultation processes had not reached their finality. In Southern Kordofan fighting had erupted in early June and there had been allegations of serious human rights violations committed by both parties. The conflict had spilled into the state of Blue Nile since September, with continuing displacement of civilians into neighbouring Ethiopia. The delay on the Abyei referendum to determine whether the region was joining the new South had not taken place and this delay had led to an escalation of violence which resulted in the seizure and occupation of Abyei in May 2011 by the Sudanese Armed Forces and the displacement of the town’s entire population and despite the positive developments, the population needed still to return. In light of those enormous human rights challenges faced by the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan in addressing the outstanding issues from the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and the grave human rights concerns arising out of the events in Abyei and Southern Kordofan, the Independent Expert urged the Human Rights Council to closely monitor the situation with the view that appropriate mechanisms for the protection of human rights were put in place and the two Governments were assisted in resolving their outstanding issues. The Independent Expert was pleased to note that in Darfur the overall violence associated with the insurgency and counter insurgence had gone down considerably, but the concern remained about continuing breaches of human rights and international humanitarian law by all parties to the conflict. Another point of concern was the impact of impunity for serious crimes which remained prevalent in Darfur. The Independent Expert noted that a significant number of recommendations by the Group of Experts on Darfur had not been implemented and called on the Council to reflect what further actions might be required to foster their implementation.

Turning to the new South Sudan, the Independent Expert had noted enormous challenges faced by the Government, including the urgent need for the authorities to accelerate its transition from a military movement to a responsible and accountable government. Violence and systematic abuses of human rights that continued to occur in an environment of impunity also remained of a great concern and needed to be addressed by the new Government. The Independent Expert called on the international community to provide people of South Sudan with the needed assistance in pursuing its objectives, in particular in ratifying core international human rights treaties and creating normative framework for national legislation that would promote and protect human rights. In closing, Mr. Othman said that the human rights situation in both Sudan and South Sudan remained precarious and warranted the undivided attention of the Human Rights Council. The Independent Expert recommended that the Council continued to focus on the human rights situation in the two countries until significant progress had been made in the implementation of all recommendations made by previous Rapporteurs on Sudan, the Group of Experts on Darfur and the Council was assured of concrete and material improvement in the situation in both countries.

Statements by Concerned Countries

ABDELRAHMAN DHIRAR (Sudan), speaking as a concerned country, said that Sudan’s positive cooperation with the Independent Expert on Sudan reflected the desire of the Sudanese Government to cooperate with the international community in general and engage with United Nations mechanisms in order to promote human rights in Sudan. The successful conduct of the self-determination referendum and the efforts made to ensure the security for the referendum in particular demonstrated the respect of freedom and human rights in respect of South Sudan. There had been a number of positive areas of progress regarding human rights in Sudan. These included the appointment of a special prosecutor for those detained by the Sudanese Armed Forces and the release of those convicted of minor offences; the reduced cases of tribal violence in the period covered by the Independent Expert’s report; and the intensive efforts of the police in the time.

Addressing matters concerning the state of South Kordofan, Sudan said everyone knew that the loyalists of South Sudan, after their inability to get enough results to succeed through the political process, had withdrawn from the elections and through the members of the joint forces of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement/Army had attacked the Sudanese military and created an atmosphere of chaos that had resulted in numerous internally displaced persons.

Regarding Darfur, Sudan was pleased to relate the signing of the final document for peace last July at the Doha conference. This conference attracted all the partners involved in this process. This document had met the objectives of all the people of Darfur. Sudan paid tribute to the mediation of the United Nations and African Union. The Sudanese Government believed that the introduction of the Universal Periodic review had instilled a new spirit and encouraged all States to engage with constructive dialogue and move away from politicalization. The condition of putting Sudan under the Special Procedures had impacted negatively directly on the enjoyment of human rights of the Sudanese people, leaving the Government of Sudan unable to take advantage of funding programmes for development. Adequate attention to the development of national capacity measures was not being paid. Sudan had made considerable progress in the field of developing human rights. The Government of Sudan paid particular attention to recommendations issued by the Human Rights Council through the Universal Periodic Review and these recommendations had become part and parcel of a package of reforms for development of human rights in Sudan.

FRANCIS NAZARIO (South Sudan), speaking as a concerned country, welcomed the report and commended the effort exerted by the Special Rapporteur to find facts in the complex situation in Sudan. As a new country everything was a priority, but the Government had addressed the priority of the priorities, economic and social rights. South Sudan sought to have functioning institutions to address the needs of its people and reiterated the commitment of its Government to promote and respect human rights. The Government was actively putting in place strategies to transform the law enforcement agencies to be more professional in discharging their duties. South Sudan intended to cooperate with the Council and the international community in all issues pertaining the promotion and protection of human rights. Technical support in setting the mechanisms of protection was necessary. South Sudan was convinced that human rights could only be achieved in an atmosphere of peace and democracy. Since the signing of the peace agreement South Sudan had striven to promote human rights and promote fundamental freedoms. The South Sudan’s human rights commission was now setting up offices in all counties to monitor compliance all over the country. The Bill of Rights was included in the transitional constitution which incorporated international treaties and conventions. The situation was difficult given the economic and developmental realities. South Sudan first of all aimed at poverty reduction and building institutions capable of delivering basic services, women rights, children rights and education and it would need technical support in order to achieve these goals.
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