Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on Sudan

Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on Sudan

Statement by the United States of America
Human Rights C
ouncil, 24th Session

Geneva,
September 27, 2013

 As delivered

Thank you, Mr. Vice President.  The United States would like to thank the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, Dr. Mashood Baderin, for his report.

As the Independent Expert pointed out in his most recent report, Sudan faces enormous human rights challenges.  Many of us in the international community remain deeply troubled by widespread and credible reports of human rights violations and abuses and international humanitarian law violations perpetrated by the Government of Sudan and government-aligned groups.  In particular, we are deeply concerned by the ongoing aerial bombardment of civilian areas by Sudanese government forces in Blue Nile, Southern Kordofan, and Darfur, and by the fact that government security forces continue to torture, rape, and violently repress citizens and civil society.  We are also deeply concerned by the Sudanese government’s continued restrictions on humanitarian access to Sudanese citizens in need.  We are deeply concerned about the IE’s report that Sudanese government security agencies, particularly the NISS, have infringed upon civil and political rights.  We are supportive of his recommendation to the Government to cease all arbitrary arrests and detentions and to reform the National Security Act, including to provide oversight of the NISS, as well as to end press censorship and limitations on civil society activities.

Sudan has made some progress in creating institutions and action plans to promote human rights, but these efforts have not resulted in tangible improvements for Sudan and its people.  We remain inspired by the resilience and courage of Sudanese civil society leaders who seek to exercise their fundamental freedoms and engage in open political discussion, despite great personal risk.

We welcome the Council’s support for renewal of the Independent Expert’s mandate, but this renewal does not take the place of the Government’s responsibility to address its serious human rights challenges.  It is up to the Government to end abuses, protect civilians, support an inclusive political process that includes opposition parties, create the conditions for free and fair elections in 2015, allow unfettered humanitarian access, and take concrete steps to end the conflict in the Two Areas and in Darfur.

We are disappointed that the Independent Expert’s report reflects a lack of   engagement with non-governmental organizations, civil society, and refugee communities, which leaves the report failing to describe the situation in a balanced and accurate manner.  Civil society often holds substantial objective evidence of abuses and violations, particularly in conflict areas inaccessible to the Independent Expert and UN mechanisms.  Instead, the IE’s report relies excessively on information provided by the Government of Sudan, and from government-controlled regions and sources.  As a result, the report by itself will not adequately inform this Council and the international community.

We conclude with this question:  Your report notes ongoing SAF aerial assaults in South Kordofan, Darfur, and Blue Nile, leading to civilian casualties, destruction of homes, and large displacement of civilians.  We are disappointed that the report did not recommend that the Government of Sudan take immediate action to reduce the effects of these attacks on the civilian population or halt them altogether.  What steps should the international community take to pressure Sudan to do so?

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