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The UN jumps the gun and drops its human rights resolutions on Sudan

The UN Human Rights Council’s decision to drop its Sudan-focused resolutions is a premature move that sends the wrong message, DefendDefenders said today. In 2022, for the first time in the Council’s existence, there will be no annual plenary debate on Sudan’s human rights situation. 

“This is not the time to relax international scrutiny of Sudan’s human rights situation,” said Hassan Shire, Exe­cu­tive Direc­tor, DefendDefenders. “The Sudanese authorities’ rejection of calls for a resolution on Sudan and the Human Rights Council’s failure to adopt one mean that Sudan quietly goes under the radar. The UN clearly jumps the gun.” 

As the Council is about to close its 48th regular session (HRC48, 13 Sep­tember-11 October 2021), its failure to adopt a resolution on Sudan means that there will be no formal reporting and no public debates on Sudan anymore. Up to HRC48, independent reporting on human rights deve­lopments in the country had been ensured by an Independent Expert and the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR). 

For the Council, Sudan is not yet a success story.[1] The country’s political, security, economic, and humanitarian situation remains fragile. The transition is incomplete. While Sudan has achieved human rights progress since 2019, including the opening of the civic and democratic space, much remains to be done. Justice and accountability for human rights violations remain elu­sive. 

Sudan needs continued international sup­port and scrutiny. Ahead of HRC48, close to 40 Suda­nese, African, and inter­na­tional NGOs urged[2] the Council to maintain Sudan on its agenda by adop­ting a resolution on the country. In an oral statement, DefendDefenders issued a caution, stressing that the Sudanese people deserves Freedom, Justice and Peace — the motto of the 2018-2019 po­pu­lar movement. 


For more information, please contact: 

Hassan Shire 

Executive Director, DefendDefenders; [email protected] or +256 772 753 753 (English and Somali) 

Estella Kabachwezi 

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


[1] See Hassan Shire, “Sudan is not a Human Rights Council success story yet; Both Council support and scrutiny should continue,” DefendDefenders, 28 September 2021, (accessed on 5 October 2021). 

[2] DefendDefenders et al., “The Human Rights Council should extend its support to, and scrutiny of, Sudan,” 10 September 2021, (accessed on 5 October 2021). 


Human Rights Defender of the month: Joseph Oleshangay

As a human rights lawyer and advocate with the High Court of the United Republic of Tanzania, Joseph Moses Oleshangay spends most of his time crossing from one court to another, litigating human rights cases, some with life-altering implications for ordinary people. It is a monumental responsibility, one he never envisaged growing up.

As a young boy born into a Maasai household in northern Tanzania, his entire childhood revolved around cattle: “Our entire livelihood revolved around cattle. As a child, the main preoccupation was to tend to cows, and my formative years were spent grazing cattle around Endulen. It a simple lifestyle,” he says.