UN Member States should make strong recommendations to Sudan at upcoming human rights review
(19 April 2016) UN Member states should make strong and specific recommendations during an upcoming UN review of Sudan’s human rights record, the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) said today.
On 4 May 2016, Sudan will undergo its second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, during which UN member states will review Sudan’s progress in implementing its human rights commitments and raise new concerns that have emerged since its last review in 2011.
ACJPS, FIDH and IRRI today published a joint briefing for UN member states setting out key concerns and recommendations to improve the human rights situation in Sudan. Based on a formal submission submitted to the UN in September 2015, nine thematic areas are addressed: 1) Sudan’s legal and institutional framework and international instruments; 2) justice, accountability and access to effective remedies; 3) human rights violations in the context of armed conflict; 4) arbitrary detention, torture and the role of the National Intelligence and Security Service; 5) the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly; 6) the death penalty and corporal punishments; 7) non-discrimination and women’s rights; 8) restrictions on religious freedoms; and, 9) the rights of refugees and asylum seekers.
During the last review in 2011, Sudan committed to “end all indiscriminate attacks against civilians and other violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, especially in Darfur,” and to “prosecute those responsible for these attacks”. Despite this commitment, not only has the conflict in Darfur intensified, with a UN-appointed expert group characterising the government’s strategy as one of “collective punishment” and “induced or forced displacement” of communities, but outside Darfur, there have been daily reports of indiscriminate and targeted attacks by government forces against civilians and other violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.
In addition, Sudan has consistently rejected calls to amend its legislation to repeal immunity provisions that protect state officials from prosecution for serious human rights violations such as abuses committed in conflict zones, protest killings, and violence against detainees.
“Over the past four years we’ve seen no progress in achieving justice for victims or accountability for serious human rights violations committed in Sudan”, said Mossaad Mohamed Ali, ACJPS Executive Director. “Perpetrators remain immune from prosecution and have been emboldened to continue with business as usual”.
The briefing also raises serious concerns about the role and broad-ranging mandate of Sudan’s National Intelligence and Security Service, an agency that has routinely used its powers of arbitrary arrest, incommunicado detention, search and seizure, to harass and intimidate members of Sudanese civil society including human rights defenders, civil society organisations, opposition political figures and journalists. Sudan has failed to adopt adequate legislation to prevent or respond to cases of torture and other forms of ill-treatment, and Sudanese courts routinely implement corporal punishments that violate the absolute prohibition of torture to which Sudan has committed under International and African regional treaty law.
“Our organisations call on UN Member States to seize the opportunity on 4 May to make strong and specific recommendations to Sudan in each of these vital areas and ensure Sudan is held to account for improving its human rights record” said Sheila Muwanga Nabachwa, FIDH Vice-President.
The UPR is a mechanism of the UN Human Rights Council whereby the human rights situation in every UN member state is reviewed by other UN member states on a four-and-a-half yearly cycle. The second Sudan review is scheduled to take place on 4 May. States under review submit written reports on their human rights record and respond to questions and recommendations made by other UN member states at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The state under review must then review each recommendation made and go on record to either accept or simply note them.
For African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS), in Kampala: Mossaad Mohamed Ali, Executive Director, + 46 764 419 336 (English and Arabic) or Katherine Perks, Programme Director, +256 775072136 (English).
For International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), in Paris: Arthur Manet, +33 6 72 28 42 94, email@example.com (French, English, Spanish) or Audrey Couprie +33 6 72 28 42 94, firstname.lastname@example.org (French, English, German).
For International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI), in Kampala: Andie Lambe, Executive Director, +256 751 799 627 (English).
Olivia Bueno, Associate Director, in New York: +1-646-867-1991 (English and French).