The Human Rights Council should support human rights reforms in Sudan

Ahead of the 45th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC45, which is set to take place from 14 September to 6 October 2020), and at a critical juncture for Sudan, DefendDefenders and civil society partners highlight progress and ongoing challenges in the country, and call on the Coun­cil to contribute to human rights reforms. 

In the letter released today, the signatories outline that the last 20 months have brought about significant changes for the Sudanese people and Su­dan’s rela­tionship with independent human rights actors. They list political developments (adop­tion of a Constitutional Document, for­ma­tion of a Sovereign Council, appointment of a Civilian-Led Transitional Government), the ongoing peace process, res­pect for women’s and girls’ rights, prosecutions (including that of former President Omar Al-Bashir), cooperation with international bodies and mechanisms, legal reform, and the opening of the civic and democratic space. 

However, as the letter makes clear, numerous challenges remain and Sudan’s political transition remains fragile. The country faces a multi-faceted crisis with economic, social, human rights, and health di­men­sions. Sanctions, the United States admi­nistration’s continued listing of Sudan as a “Sta­te sponsor of ter­ro­rism,” and endemic cor­rup­tion and mismanagement have added to these challenges. The humanitarian situation remains serious, and violence against civilians has been increasing. 

Significant steps are yet to be taken to address systemic human rights issues and achieve meaningful, sustainable progress, including justice and accountability for the egregious violations and abuses committed under the 30-year Al-Bashir dictatorship. 

“As Sudan attempts to strengthen gains of its Revolution and prevent setbacks, the Human Rights Council has a role to play,” the signatories write. At its 45th session, the Council should adopt a resolution extending technical assistance and ca­pa­city-building to the Sudanese Government and human rights actors in the country, while en­su­ring regular monitoring of, and reporting to the Council on, the human rights situation and the work of the OHCHR country office. 

Read the full letter

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Human Rights Defender of the Month: Malab Alneel

Malab Alneel was only 20 when Sudan’s revolution started in December 2018, but she knew it was the moment to get involved: “I grew up in a house that was very political. All of my sisters are activists, my parents are very involved. Activism has always been there. But for me it started with the revolution. It just felt like a time for change.”

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