Sudan: The UN Human Rights Council should act urgently and hold a special session

Following the 25 October 2021 military coup in Sudan, DefendDefenders and partners have released a call on the UN Human Rights Council to convene a special (emergency) session to address the crisis in the country. 

In the letter they sent to UN member states today, Sudanese, African, and international civil society organisations (CSOs) stress that the Human Rights Council has a res­ponsi­bility to act urgently. “The Council cannot afford to stay silent or wait for its next regular session, which is due to open on 25 February 2022, to act,” they write. 

They add: “The Human Rights Council should fulfil its mandate to prevent violations and respond promptly to human rights emer­gen­cies, convene a special session, and request the UN High Com­mis­sio­ner for Human Rights to set up a fact-finding mission to monitor, verify and report on the situation in Sudan with a view to preventing further human rights violations and abuses, iden­ti­fying per­petrators, and ensuring ac­coun­tability for these violations and abuses.” 

The signatories also ask that the report of the fact-finding mission be shared with the UN Security Council and that the High Commissioner for Human Rights publicly and regularly report on the human rights situation in Sudan, followed by public debates at the Human Rights Council. 


Read the full letter in English / version française / اللغة العربية (Arabic) 


List of signatories (updated on a rolling basis):  

  1. Activists for Human Rights – Canada 
  2. African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS)
  3. African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS)
  4. AfricanDefenders (Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network)
  5. African Initiative for Peacebuilding, Advocacy and Advancement (AfriPeace)
  6. Arab Program for Human Rights Activists 
  7. Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
  8. Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
  9. CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation
  10. CSW (Christian Solidarity Worldwide)
  11. Darfur and Beyond
  12. DefendDefenders (East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project)
  13. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  14. Global Rights
  15. Human Rights and Peace Centre (HURIPEC)
  16. International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
  17. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
  18. International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI)
  19. International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
  20. Justice Center for Advocacy and Legal Consultations
  21. Kamma Organization for Development Initiatives (KODI)
  22. Kenya Human Rights Commission
  23. Kongamano La Mapinduzi
  24. Lawyers for Justice Sudan
  25. The MagkaSama Project
  26. Mouvement Inamahoro
  27. Never Again Coalition
  28. Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU)
  29. PAX
  30. Physicians for Human Rights
  32. Regional Centre for Training and Development of Civil Society (RCDCS)
  33. Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme (RADDHO)
  34. Rights for Peace
  35. Rights Realization Centre (RRC)
  36. The Sentry
  37. Skills for Nuba Mountains
  38. The Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa (SIHA)
  39. Sudan Archives
  40. Sudan Human Rights Hub
  41. Sudan Social Development Organisation (SUDO)
  42. Sudan Unlimited
  43. Victims Advocates International
  44. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights


Human Rights Defender of the month: Kasale Maleton Mwaana

Kasale’s human rights activism precedes his years. The son of pastoralist parents from Ngorongoro district in northern Tanzania, he grew up seeing his parents and entire community having to defend their land and way of life against authorities who thought their lands could be put to better use. Now, at 25, Kasale is already one of the most recognizable advocates of his people’s cause, much to the ire of Tanzanian authorities.
“Our people’s struggle goes back many generations. It started with the pushing out of our forefathers from Serengeti to gazette Serengeti National Park in 1959, and then further evictions from the Ngorongoro crater to gazette the Ngorongoro conservation area in 1975. Since then, every generation has had to resist further evictions. It’s now my generation’s turn,” he says.