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Press briefing note on Syria and Sudan

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Liz Throssell
Location: Geneva
Date: 29 June 2018
Subject: (1) Syria and (2) Sudan

(1) Syria

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has warned of a catastrophe in Daraa Governorate amid the escalating violence. In a press release issued today, he called on all sides to abide by their obligations under international law and avoid a repetition of the bloodshed and suffering seen earlier this year in Eastern Ghouta. Thousands are already reported to have fled their homes but there is also the grave risk that the intensified fighting will see many civilians trapped, caught between Syrian Government forces and their allies on the one hand and armed opposition groups and ISIL on the other.

“In Syria, civilians continue to be used as pawns by the various parties. I remind all parties to the conflict that international law requires that they do their utmost to protect civilians, and call upon them to provide safe passage to those wishing to flee, while those wishing to stay must be protected at all times,” the High Commissioner said.

“I have spoken of the cruel irony of Eastern Ghouta being a de-escalation zone, and how the conduct of this war has been utterly shameful from the outset and a stain on us all. Now another supposed ‘de-escalation’ zone risks becoming the scene of large-scale civilian casualties. This madness must end.”

The full press release is available here:
In English: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23292&LangID=E
In Arabic: https://www.ohchr.org/AR/Pages/Home.aspx

(2) Sudan

We welcome the decision on Tuesday by the Court of Appeal in Khartoum to quash Noura Hussein’s death sentence. Hussein had been sentenced to death last month for fatally stabbing the man she had been forced to marry, who had subsequently allegedly raped her. While we do not have full details of the decision at this stage, we understand that the death sentence has been replaced by a five-year prison term.
In our appeal to the authorities last month, we urged them also to take this opportunity to send a clear message that gender-based violence will not be tolerated in the country, and to criminalise marital rape. We stand ready to work with the Government of Sudan on bringing its laws in line with human rights standards. We will continue to follow up with Sudanese authorities on this.

ENDS

For more information and media requests, please contact: Rupert Colville - + 41 22 917 9767 / rcolville@ohchr.org or Liz Throssell - + 41 22 917 9466 / ethrossell@ohchr.org or Ravina Shamdasani - + 41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org 

2018 is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70thanniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rightswww.standup4humanrights.org.

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