CIHRS and DBA Call on UN Human Rights Council to Fulfill its Responsibility to the Sudanese People

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United Nations Human Rights Council:  Session 15
Item 4:  Interactive Dialogue- IE on Sudan- Oral Intervention
Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
17 September 2010
Delivered by:  Ziad Abdel Tawab

Thank you Mr. President,

CIHRS, in partnership with the Darfur Bar Association, commend the Independent Expert for his first report on the situation of human rights in the Sudan.

As indicated in the report, despite limited progress made by the government of Sudan in some areas of law, the general human rights and humanitarian situation in the Southern, Northern, and Western parts of the country continues to deteriorate.  The recent general elections in Sudan, has indicated an unwillingness by the Sudanese government to uphold basic civil and political rights and allow for free and fair elections.

The report of the IE also highlights an increase in conflict between different tribal groups, and documents cases in which the Government of Sudan and its affiliated militias are still involved in acts of war crimes including extrajudicial killings, forced displacement, torture and rape; crimes which once again appear to be on the rise in Darfur.

 The Sudanese government is still unwilling to reform its domestic justice system to ensure the prosecution of these crimes, and remains hostile to all regional and international efforts to implement international justice.

Instead of dealing with the crises that exists; the Sudan government has attempted to bury the truth by isolating and silencing the victims of human rights violations. These efforts have included attacks on humanitarian personal the expulsion of the heads of several UN agencies and INGOs. Furthermore, the new draft bill on legal aid, as well as the adopted Press and Printed Materials Act, add additional restrictions on the ability of human rights defenders and journalists to report freely on human rights violations committed in their country. Reprisals against human rights defenders in the past two years has lead to the closure of several prominent local NGOs and forced most of these defenders into a de facto exile.

Four months ahead of the upcoming referendum the human rights and humanitarian situation in Sudan threatens to create another civil war.  Members of this Council, in particular members of the African Group, possess a legal and moral obligation to guarantee the protection of the Sudanese people.  Failure to renew the mandate on Sudan would be tantamount to silencing millions of victims of the most horrendous crimes.  Surely this is not what this Council would like this Session to be remembered for?

Thank you Mr. President

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