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Sudan / Human rights: “Further steps need to be taken,” says the UN Independent Expert on Sudan

GENEVA / KHARTOUM (15 June 2012) – The newly appointed Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mashood Adebayo Baderin, urged the Government of Sudan to take further steps to effectively implement its human rights obligations, and reiterated his support by identifying areas for technical assistance and capacity building.

At the end of his first mission* to the Sudan, from 10 to 14 June, Mr. Baderin recognized the initial measures taken by the Sudanese authorities, such as the establishment of the National Commission for Human Rights. The rights expert, however, outlined the need for further steps to be taken, including in the area of protecting freedom of expression and the press.

“There is a need for capacity building in the form of relevant human rights training for members of the judiciary, the Ministry of Justice, the legislature, the police and non-governmental human rights organisations, amongst others,” he said, “in addition to the promotion of public awareness and human rights empowerment initiatives.”

“I have also identified the need to encourage the Government to include the promotion of human rights amongst its priority funding considerations,” Mr. Baderin said. “There is also the need to attract the interest and expand the list of possible donor countries and partnering institutions to include regional partners to facilitate more confidence and trust between the Government and the international community.”

In his view, it is essential to ensure transparency, inclusiveness and the participation of independent civil society organisations in the current constitutional review exercise; as well as to preserve the fundamental human rights contained in the current Bill of Rights.

The Independent expert also drew attention called for freedom of expression and the press to be guaranteed, making specific reference to the use of national security laws to clamp down on the press, including closure of media houses, arrest of journalists and confiscation of newspapers and equipment.

“I have raised this issue in my discussions with Government officials as a legitimate concern, which the Government needs to pay attention to, in view of the importance of freedom of expression and of the press in the promotion and protection of human rights in a democratic society,” he said.

During his five-day mission, Mr. Baderin met in Khartoum with the Government of the Republic of the Sudan and other stakeholders, as well as the diplomatic Corps and UN agencies.

“My ultimate aim,” the Independent Expert stressed, “is to find the best way to improve the human rights situation in the Republic of the Sudan that would eventually be reflected positively in the lives of the ordinary individuals in the country.”

The UN Independent Expert on Sudan will present his findings and recommendations at the UN Human Rights Council 21st session in in September 2012.

The mandate of the Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Sudan was created by the UN Human Rights Council on 18 June 2009. In September 2011, the mandate was renewed for a period of one year. As Independent Expert, Mashood Adebayo Baderin serves in his individual capacity, independently from any government or organization.

(*) Check the full end-of-mission statement: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=12239&LangID=E

Watch the Independent Expert on the UN Human Rights YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qv_GOGzvyBI&feature=em-uploademail

OHCHR – Country Page: Sudan: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/SDIndex.aspx

For further information and media requests, please contact Joseph Bonsu (+ 41 79 444 4187) / jbonsu@ohchr.org) or write to sudan@ohchr.org.

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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