Human Rights Council: 27th Session
Item 10: Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on Sudan
East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP)
Delivered by Mr. John Foley
Thank you Mr. President,
The East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project welcomes the report of Mr. Baderin, and congratulates him at the end of his mandate as Independent Expert.
Mr. President, the human rights situation in Sudan continues to be deteriorate and should rightly be understood as one of the most hostile and dangerous environments for human rights defenders of any country in the world.
Exactly one year ago, Sudanese government security forces violently cracked down on popular protests prompted by economic austerity across Sudan. State security agents used excessive and unlawful force, including live ammunition against peaceful protesters, resulting in the death of at least 170 people. As the independent expert notes in his report, the Sudanese government has failed to provide evidence of a thorough and independent investigation of the human rights violations that occurred during the September demonstrations.
Human rights defenders in Sudan continue to operate amidst a highly repressive and dangerous environment. Despite President Omar al-Bashir’s promise in April 2014 to release all “political detainees,” arbitrary detention of activists, human rights defenders, and political opposition figures has continued. In June 2014, Sudanese government forces ordered the closure of the Salmmah Womens’ Resource Centre. Human rights defenders seeking to hold the government to account do so at great personal risk
Mr. President, we welcome the ongoing dialogue on the human rights situation on Sudan, and call strongly for the mandate of the Independent Expert to be renewed. We wish Mr. Baderin’s successor every success. However, we note with growing concern that the Human Rights Council has so far failed to adequately address the gravity of the human rights situation in Sudan. Resolution 24/28, passed this time last year, failed to address the severity of the situation on the ground. The moral legitimacy of the Human Rights Council, and its status as the UN’s premier human rights body, is tied to its ability to respond appropriately to the worsening human rights situation in Sudan.
I thank you.