HRC36: Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on Sudan

Human Rights Council: 36th Session
Item 10: Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on Sudan

Joint oral statement by DefendDefenders and the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS)
Delivered by Mr Mossad Ali Mohammed

Thank you M President,

Our organisations, the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project and the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) would like to express concern regarding the Government of Sudan’s continuing crackdown on civil society and in particular on human rights defenders.

The past year has seen the increased repression of human rights defenders who have been subjected to unfounded criminal charges, arbitrary detention, and “show trials”.

Human rights defenders Dr. Mudawi Ibrahim Adam and Hafiz Idris were detained for ten months on spurious criminal charges of “crimes against the state” that carry the death penalty, accused of assisting international organisations to gather evidence of human rights and humanitarian law violations in Darfur. They were detained for five months before charges were issued and credible sources reported that Hafiz was tortured to make a confession.
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Three other human rights defenders affiliated with the Khartoum-based training centre, TRACKs, were detained for ten months and issued with fines after being found guilty of trumped-up criminal offences related to their peaceful civil society work.
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The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention declared their detention arbitrary due to the non-observance of fair trial standards.
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We welcome the report of the Independent Expert on Sudan, and emphasise the importance of engaging with independent civil society, both inside and outside the country. However, we continue to call for an Item 4 mandate given the gross and systematic violations of international human rights and humanitarian law taking place across the country and the lack of access for independent monitoring or reporting bodies.


Human Rights Defender of the month: Veronica Almedom

Veronica Almedom is a poster child of successful immigration. A duo Eritrean and Swiss citizen, she was born in Italy, and grew up in Switzerland where she permanently resides. Her parents are some of the earliest victims of Eritrea’s cycles of violence. When Eritrea’s war of independence peaked in the early 1980s, they escaped the country as unaccompanied minors, wandering through Sudan, Saudi Arabia, before making the hazard journey across the Mediterranean into Europe. There, they crossed first to Italy, and finally, to Switzerland, where they settled first as refugees, and later, as permanent residents.