Sudan: the UN Human Rights Council weakens the Independent Expert’s mandate for the sake of consensus

Press release

The human rights situation in Sudan appears to be rapidly deteriorating as violence in Abyei, Southern Kordofan, and Blue Nile fuel concerns that international crimes against human rights have been committed. Regrettably, the UN Human Rights Council adopted today a resolution failing to adequately address these concerns.

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), the African Center for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) and the Sudan Human Rights Monitor (SHRM) welcome the efforts made by members of the Human Rights Council to reach a consensus on the renewal of the mandate of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan. Nonetheless, our organisations regret that this consensus has been sought at the cost of a weakening of the mandate. As FIDH President Souhayr Belhassen declared “The seriousness of the situation in Sudan calls for a strong stance from the Human Rights Council, and for a strong monitoring mechanism. By failing to do so, the Council members failed to fulfill their mandates as promoters and protecters of human rights and freedoms.”

Recalling that civil and political freedoms are suppressed throughout Sudan, that Darfur is the site of violations of human rights and humanitarian law, and that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights flagged the possible occurrence of “ war crimes and crimes against humanity” [1] in the border state of Southern Kordofan, FIDH and ACJPS deem the current response of the Human Rights Council to be insufficient. Our organisations deeply regret that the new text not only fails to condemn the grave human rights violations in the country but also weakens the mandate of the Expert by focusing on its capacity-building aspect at the expense of monitoring and reporting, the main duty fixed to the Independent Expert by the draft resolution being to “[identify] areas of assistance that will aid Sudan to fulfill its human rights obligation.” [2].

“This is not only blatantly inadequate for a country where massive human rights violations occur,” ACJPS Director Osman HUMMAIDA declared. “But, after the departure of the human rights experts from the United Nations Mission to Sudan (UNMIS) in July 2011, this amounts to a serious weakening of the UN monitoring over Sudan at the time the Sudanese people most need it.”.

Our organisations deeply regret that the Council did not address the situation in Sudan adequately by endowing the Independent Expert with a mandate enabling its holder to monitor and report on the ongoing serious human rights violations occuring throughout the country.

Last reports on the situation of human rights in Sudan:

Continuing Violations of Human Rights in South Kordofan and Blue Nile States: 24 August - 8 September 2011

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