Sudan: UN rights expert urges Government to release reports on 2013 protests

20 February 2014

Expressing “deep concern” that the Sudanese authorities have not yet issued their reports on last year’s oil subsidy demonstrations, a United Nations human rights expert today urged the Government to release its documents on the protests, which he said, 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,” Mashood Adebayo Baderin, UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, said as he summed up his recent eight-day mission to the country.

“The international community expects a thorough investigation of the human rights violations that occurred during the September demonstrations,” he stressed in a press release. “I have highlighted the international concerns about this and urged the Government to accelerate the release of the reports.”

During his official visit to Sudan from 11 to 19 February, Mr. Baderin talked with the Government about the general human rights situation in the country, following up on the challenges raised in his latest report to the UN Human Rights Council, which in his view still remain an area of concern.

While in Sudan, he met with Government officials, civil society actors, political opposition leaders, humanitarian organizations and UN agencies in the capital city of Khartoum, Kadugli in South Kordofan, El-Fasher in North Darfur, El-Daein in East Darfur, and Zalingei in Central Darfur.

The discussions focused on the curtailment of civil society organizations’ 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 realization of human rights in Sudan in those areas.

However, he noted that in meetings he held in Khartoum with leaders of opposition political parties 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.”

Mr. Baderin 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 the form of civilian displacements.”

He reiterated his urgent call on the Government of 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.

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

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