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Sudan: don’t let the military regime use a UN event to legitimise itself

The international community should not allow Sudan’s military regime to use the country’s third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) to gain legitimacy, DefendDefenders said ahead of the review, which is set for 1st February 2022. All states should reject the de facto authorities’ attempt to legally represent Sudan and make clear that the recommendations they formulate as part of the UPR process are ad­dres­sed to the legitimate, transitional government overthrown on 25 October 2021. 

“Business cannot go ahead as usual,” said Hassan Shire, Exe­cu­tive Direc­tor, DefendDefenders. “States should make clear that their participation in the UPR does not mean that they recognise the situation as legal or the military’s claim to represent Sudan as valid.” 

After the coup carried out by the Sudanese military, over 40 civil society organisations called on the UN Human Rights Council to urgently establish a mechanism to “monitor, verify and report” on the situation in Sudan. On 5 November 2021, the Council held a special session on Sudan to ad­dress the human rights implications of the 25 October 2021 military coup. By adopting a resolution that strongly condemned the military takeover and requested the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to designate an expert to monitor the situation in Sudan, the Council ensured scrutiny of the situation. 

Irrespective of the legal implications of the presence of the military regime at Sudan’s desk, if the country’s review goes ahead, then other states should turn it into an opportunity to condemn the illegal acts carried out by the de facto authorities, including the repression of protesters,” said Nicolas Agostini, Representative to the UN for DefendDefenders. 

The UPR is a process set up by the Human Rights Council, the UN’s top human rights body. Every four and a half years, every UN member state undergoes a comprehensive review of its human rights re­cord in a process in which it receives recommendations from other states, which it can accept or reject (“note”). Civil society partici­pates in the process by sub­mitting “alter­na­tive reports” and en­ga­ging in advocacy at the na­tional and UN levels. 


For more information, please contact:

Estella Kabachwezi

Advocacy, Research and Communications Manager, DefendDefenders; [email protected] or +256 782 360 460 (English)

Nicolas Agostini

Representative to the United Nations for DefendDefenders; [email protected] or +41 79 813 49 91 (English and French)


Human Rights Defender of the month: Pamela Angwench Judith

For most of her life, Pamela Angwech’s existence has always been a defiant and simultaneous act of survival and resistance. In 1976 when she was born, the anti-Amin movement was gathering pace, and her family was one of the earliest victims of the then dictatorship’s reprisals in Northern Uganda. Her father, a passionate educationist in Kitgum district was one of the most vocal critics of the dictatorship’s human rights excesses, which made him an obvious target of the state’s marauding vigilantes.