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UN human rights expert urges Sudan to release reports on last year’s violent demonstrations

KHARTOUM / GENEVA (20 February 2014) – The United Nations Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mashood Adebayo Baderin, expressed deep concern that the Sudanese authorities have not issued yet their reports on last year’s oil subsidy demonstrations, which resulted in killings, injuries, arrests and detentions, and destruction of property.

“I regret to note that five months after these incidents, the committees set up by the Government have not yet issued their reports or findings on the incidents,” Mr. Baderin said* at the end of an official mission to the Sudan to follow-up on his previous recommendations.

“The international community expects a thorough investigation of the human rights violations that occurred during the September demonstrations,” the UN Human Rights Council’s expert stressed. “I have highlighted the international concerns about this and urged the Government to accelerate the release of the reports.”

During his official visit from 11 to 19 February, the Independent expert talked with the Government about the general human rights situation in the country, following up on the challenges raised in his latest report**, which in his view still remain an area of concern.

The discussions focused on the curtailment of civil society organisations’ activities, press censorship, arbitrary arrests and detentions, freedom of religion, the 2010 National Security Act, women and children’s rights, humanitarian access, economic, social and cultural rights, as well as the protection of civilians in the conflict areas.

“In my last report, I emphasised the need for the Government to focus on addressing these human rights challenges by taking concrete measures, and encouraged continued cooperation of relevant donor countries and international institutions,” Mr. Baderin stated, while noting that the authorities had expressed their commitment to improve the practical realisation of human rights in the Sudan in those areas.

However, he noted, “in my meetings with leaders of opposition political parties in Khartoum, they emphasised the need for a transparent, inclusive and democratic political and constitutional process that will serve as a strong and lasting foundation for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Sudan,” he said.

The Independent Expert also warned that “tribal conflicts and conflicts between government forces and armed movements continue to be a major source of human rights violations in South Kordofan, as well as in the Darfur States visited, particularly in form of civilian displacements.”

He reiterated his urgent call on the Government of the Sudan, the armed movements and the international community to bring an end to these conflicts that lead to human rights violations, and resort to dialogue in settling the armed confrontation.

“I urge and encourage the Government to continue to strengthen its effort to improve the situation of human rights in the country to encourage the possibility of attracting the necessary technical assistance and capacity building required as is necessary,” he stressed.

During his nine-day information-gathering mission, the human rights expert met with Government officials, civil society actors, political opposition leaders, humanitarian organisations and UN agencies in Khartoum, Kadugli in South Kordofan, El-Fasher in North Darfur, El-Daein in East Darfur, and Zalingei in Central Darfur.

Mr. Baderin will present his findings and recommendations in a comprehensive report to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2014.

(*) Check the full end-of-mission statement by the Independent Expert: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14267&LangID=E

(**) Check the latest reports by the Independent Expert: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?m=95&m=172

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 2013, the mandate was renewed for a period of one year. Mashood Adebayo Baderin, is Professor of Law at SOAS, University of London. As Independent Expert, he serves in his individual capacity, independently from any government or organization.

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Sudan: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/SDIndex.aspx

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