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HRC33: Joint statement on the adoption of Sudan’s Universal Periodic Review

Human Rights Council: 33rd Session
Adoption of Sudan’s UPR Outcome
21st September 2016

Oral Intervention
East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project
Delivered by Ms. Estella Kabachwezi

Mr. President,

Despite Sudan’s commitments to ensure a safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders, civil society, the media, and members of the opposition, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project and the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies remain extremely concerned by the repeated arbitrary detention of such actors in Sudan. Detainees are routinely held incommunicado and without charge for prolonged periods, and organisations are forcibly closed and raided, thanks to sweeping powers under the 2010 National Security Act. Media houses are routinely raided and printed papers confiscated for reporting on “red line” issues such as allegations of human rights violations in conflict areas

10 staff members and affiliates of the Khartoum-based TRACKs for Training and Development currently face baseless charges, including crimes against the state that carry the death penalty, solely for the peaceful exercise of their rights. Their offices were raided twice over the past 18 months and three of them were held for 86 days without charge in inhumane conditions until their transfer to prison where they remain today.

The Sudanese authorities have also sought to block civil society participation in this review. In 2014, security officials raided the offices of the NGO Sudanese Human Rights Monitor during a workshop on the UPR.

This year in March, four civil society activists were prevented from traveling and had their passports confiscated ahead of a UPR pre-session in Geneva.

Mr. President, five years after Sudan’s first UPR, Sudanese government forces continue to attack villages and bomb civilian areas indiscriminately, and to block humanitarian aid groups from accessing affected areas in South Kordofan and Blue Nile. During this review, the Sudan government has committed to allow full and unrestricted access by independent humanitarian organisations to all areas affected by conflict, and to allow aid agencies and NGOs to implement human rights programmes in those areas. It is vital that these commitments are adhered to and that members of this Council continue to urge Sudan to cease all attacks on civilians and uphold its commitments to fully respect freedom of expression, association and assembly throughout the country.


Human Rights Defender of the month: Joseph Oleshangay

As a human rights lawyer and advocate with the High Court of the United Republic of Tanzania, Joseph Moses Oleshangay spends most of his time crossing from one court to another, litigating human rights cases, some with life-altering implications for ordinary people. It is a monumental responsibility, one he never envisaged growing up.

As a young boy born into a Maasai household in northern Tanzania, his entire childhood revolved around cattle: “Our entire livelihood revolved around cattle. As a child, the main preoccupation was to tend to cows, and my formative years were spent grazing cattle around Endulen. It a simple lifestyle,” he says.