Joint oral statement - Interactive Dialogue With Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the SOUDAN

20/03/2008
Press release

Taking note of the latest report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and their member organisation, the Sudan Organisation Against Torture (SOAT), express deep concern about the human rights situation in Sudan and urge the Council to pledge full ongoing support for the Special Rapporteur’s mandate, including the task of following up on the recommendations of the Group of Experts on Darfur.

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Seventh Session (3-28 March 2008)
Item 4: Interactive Dialogue With Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the SOUDAN

Joint oral statement delivered by OMCT, a non-governmental organisation in general consultative status

Mr Chairman,
Ms Special Rapporteur,
Taking note of the latest report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and their member organisation, the Sudan Organisation Against Torture (SOAT), express deep concern about the human rights situation in Sudan and urge the Council to pledge full ongoing support for the Special Rapporteur’s mandate, including the task of following up on the recommendations of the Group of Experts on Darfur.
The human rights situation in in particular remains dire. A sharp escalation of violence in in recent weeks has caused massive new displacement, with homes looted and burnt, and many killed. Across the extremely poor security situation continues to hamper aid distribution and millions of displaced persons remain vulnerable to abuses like arbitrary arrest, torture, rape and forcible relocation. Against this background, the practical steps recommended by the Group of Experts on for improving the human rights situation in the region are still shamefully far from being fully and effectively implemented. Impunity for the grave crimes that continue to be committed there also remains unchallenged by the Government of Sudan, which continues to shield those accused of crimes against humanity and war crimes.
But human rights violations in are by no means limited to . Across the country, the authorities continue to arbitrarily detain individuals for long periods, often without charge and without access to lawyers, and torture and other forms of mistreatment in custody remain common. Those who are particularly vulnerable to such abuses include human rights defenders, political opponents of the ruling National Congress Party, students and displaced persons.

In the past few weeks the Sudanese authorities have also launched a harsh crackdown on the country’s media, which has included daily pre-print censorship, bureaucratic obstruction and arrests and summonses of journalists.

These kinds of human rights abuses continue to be underpinned by key pieces of legislation that are yet to be brought into line with the Interim National Constitution. The effects of such laws include granting sweeping powers to officials such as security agents and protecting them from prosecution.

While national elections scheduled for next year should mark a key milestone in ’s transition towards stability and democracy, this lack of respect for human rights represents a major stumbling block. In this context, it is crucial that the valuable contribution made by the Special Rapporteur – including the vital task of following up on the work of the Group of Experts on – should continue to receive the full support of the Council.
FIDH, OMCT and SOAT would like to take this opportunity to ask the Special Rapporteur whether at this stage she has witnessed concerted efforts by the Government of Sudan to implement the recommendations of the Group of Experts. We would also be grateful to the Special Rapporteur if she would give her assessment of the likelihood of such positive steps being taken in the near future.
In conclusion, FIDH, OMCT and SOAT call on the Council to:
Ø Express its support for the work of the Special Rapporteur and ensure that she is provided with the necessary resources to carry out the mandate, including following up on the recommendations of the Group of Experts
Ø Strongly and publicly urge the Government of Sudan to implement the recommendations of both the Special Rapporteur and the Group of Experts in order to improve the human rights situation across the country and in in particular
Ø Urge the Government of Sudan to continue cooperating with and to engage constructively with the Special Rapporteur
Ø Urge the Government of Sudan to address the problem of impunity and to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Court
Ø Urge the Government of to take all steps necessary to facilitate the swift deployment of the full UNAMID peacekeeping force in .
Thank you

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