Mr. President, Mr. Independent Expert,
FIDH and its member organisations, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) and the Sudanese Human Rights Monitor (SHRM), share the Independent Expert’s concerns about serious human rights challenges, repeatedly raised in this forum and elsewhere by African and international human rights bodies, still not addressed by the Government of Sudan.
Serious and persistent challenges include the climate of total impunity for human rights violators. This includes the failure, three years on, to hold anyone to account for the killing of 185 people during protests in 2013. The authorities have offered compensation to a small number of affected families but responded to calls for justice with repression and have continued to resort to excessive and lethal force to curtail the right to protest.
Mr. President, the freedoms of expression, association and assembly continue to be severely curtailed. The Independent Expert has raised the real risk of reprisals for civil society members who cooperate with the United Nations and other mechanisms in the field of human rights. His report also highlighted how demands for democratic reforms by political opposition groups, civil society organisations and students have been met with repressive measures, including arbitrary arrests and incommunicado detentions, in particular by the National Intelligence and Security Services. We echo the Independent Expert’s calls for the law enforcement powers of this feared agency to be removed.
The Independent Expert found that government restrictions on access for humanitarian agencies in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile are used to limit the delivery of humanitarian assistance to people in need. Government bombings in civilian areas of South Kordofan and Blue Nile have resulted in casualties and the destruction of civilian infrastructure, installing a climate of fear and further frustrating humanitarian efforts.
We urge the Council to acknowledge and respond appropriately to the protracted and dire human rights situation in Sudan. The climate of repression that blocks independent monitoring and reporting on the ground necessitates the appointment by this Council of a robust mandate to monitor and regularly report on violations of international human rights and humanitarian law throughout the country.