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Statement to the Human Rights Council on Sudan

Delivered by Mr Hassan Shire, Executive Director

Thank you Mr President, thank you Mr Independent Expert.

The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project is deeply concerned by the deteriorating human rights situation in Sudan and by the inadequate response by this Council to date.

Since the Independent Expert presented his report last September, continuing violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Darfur, Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan have had a devastating impact on civilians in Sudan. Human rights groups have documented the indiscriminate attacks by government forces in civilian areas, resulting in widespread loss of life and livelihoods, arbitrary detentions and destruction of property. More than 300,000 people were displaced in Darfur in the first five months of 2013.

Throughout the country, the Government of Sudan has increased restrictions on freedoms of expression, association and assembly in what appears to be a concerted effort to shut down independent dialogue. The National Intelligence and Security Services and other security forces are used to arbitrarily detain perceived opponents of the ruling party, censor media and shut down public forums and protests.

For example, in December 2012, three civil society organisations and a literary forum were closed down by NISS in Khartoum as part of a renewed crackdown. Long delays in registration have prevented other organisations from operating during 2013 and others have been stopped by authorities from carrying out planned activities.

Since 2011, the Independent Expert has held an item 10 mandate to offer technical assistance and capacity-building support to Sudan, yet widespread and systematic violations of human rights and international humanitarian law have continued unabated. EHAHRDP considers that a more appropriate response reflecting the gravity of the violations, including those for which the Sudanese government is responsible, would be for the Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution under item 4 condemning these continuing violations, identifying concrete recommendations, urging for their implementation, and requesting the mandate-holder to monitor and report on them.

I thank you.