GENEVA (27 May 2015) – The newly appointed UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Aristide Nononsi, called on the Government of the Sudan and the international community to create and maintain a safe and secure environment for the internally displaced communities in North and South Darfur.
“I visited IDP camps in North and South Darfur States, namely Abou Shouk, Otash and Dereige IDP camps, and I am concerned not only of the ongoing displacement of the residents and the attendant humanitarian crisis, but also of the future of the IDPs,” Mr. Nononsi said* after his first mission to the country (13-23 May).
“These camps receive some humanitarian assistance both from the Government and from UN agencies, but it is essential to see these actions are in response to the rights of civilians and again study ways of making them sustainable,” the expert noted, urging them support the IDPs who live in very precarious conditions and respond in the process to the economic, social and cultural rights of these civilians.
The UN Independent Expert drew special attention to the fact that the IDPs live in a state of insecurity due to the presence of various armed elements and criminality that occur within the region. “I strongly urge all parties to the conflict to respect international human rights and international humanitarian law and to ensure humanitarian access and at all time and the protection of civilians,” he said.
“Most of the IDPs have expressed their willingness to return to their homeland if there is an improvement of the security situation,” he stated. “I urge the Government in Khartoum to create the necessary conditions for the return of the IDPs to their ancestral homeland and the international community to support this process.”
“Many interlocutors, whom I met, in particular in North and South Darfur States, remain anxious about the security situation in their areas of origin to enable effective sustainable return as well as the restoration of a sustainable peace in the region,” Mr. Nononsi said.
The expert stressed that the key to the resolution of ongoing conflicts and to the improvement of the human rights situation lies in an enabling environment through political engagement between the parties and the end of impunity for violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
“In this regard, I urge the parties to put the people of Sudan’s interest first and return to the negotiation table to resolve their outstanding differences so as to bring peace and stability in the region,” he said. “I also encourage the Government to resume its efforts to put an end to impunity for those perpetrators of human rights and international humanitarian law violations.”
Mr. Nononsi carried out his first visit to the Sudan to assess and verify the situation of human rights with the view to making recommendations on technical assistance and capacity-building for addressing human rights in the country.
During his ten-day mission to Khartoum and Darfur, the expert noted some level of consensus amongst all relevant stakeholders of the need for capacity building in the form of relevant human rights training for members of the judiciary, the National Human Rights Institution, the police and security forces and non-governmental human rights organisations, amongst others.
“The need for public awareness and human rights empowerment initiatives were also identified,” he said, stressing that technical assistance and capacity building initiatives are, however, capital-intensive and require high levels of funding, which must be sourced both internally from the Government itself and externally from different cooperating partners within the donor community and institutions.
(*) Check the Independent Expert’s end-of mission statement: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15993&LangID=E
Mr. Aristide Nononsi (Benin) was designated as the new Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Sudan by the UN Human Rights Council in 2015. Mr. Nononsi has a doctorate in law and is a specialist in international law, human rights and development, with extensive experience in international and African organizations. Mr. Nononsi was executive director of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA), and worked for the Centre for Development Area Studies at Mc Gill University, the African Development Bank and the International Labour Organization.
The Independent Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
See the last report on Sudan by the previous Independent Expert (A/HRC/27/69), September 2014: http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?m=95&m=172
UN Human Rights, Country Page – Sudan: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/SDIndex.aspx
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