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U.S. concerned by deteriorating situation in Sudan
September 24, 2014

Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on Sudan
Statement by the United States of America
As Delivered by Ambassador Keith Harper
Representative of the United States to the United Nations Human Rights Council
Human Rights Council, 27th Session

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

We are greatly concerned by the escalation of violence and deterioration in the human rights situation in Sudan.  We remain 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.  These include reports of ongoing indiscriminate aerial bombardment of civilian areas by Sudanese government forces in Blue Nile, Southern Kordofan, and Darfur, and reports of the government’s continued killing, torture, rape, arbitrary detention, and violent repression of its citizens.  We are also concerned by the government’s continued restrictions on humanitarian access to Sudanese citizens in dire need.

We are concerned about the IE’s report that Sudanese government security agencies, particularly the NISS, continue to infringe upon the enjoyment of civil and political rights.  This includes the fatal shooting of a third-year university student during protests at Khartoum University.  It includes attacks on peaceful protesters in September 2013 that resulted in many deaths, as well as the subsequent lack of a thorough and independent investigation.  The Government’s violations of the right to freedom of religion and belief, as evidenced by its allowing Meriam Ibrahim to be charged for apostasy earlier this year, are also troubling.  We agree with the IE’s recommendation that the case highlights the need for appropriate human rights training for Sudanese judges.  We are also concerned about the government’s ongoing crackdown on dissent.  Its actions include targeting political leaders and youth activists, newspapers and journalists, students, civil society organizations, and protestors.

Even though the Government of Sudan impeded access requested by the Independent Expert to visit Khor Abeche IDP camp in Eastern Sudan, 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.

In this regard, we conclude with two questions: Given that the Government of Sudan impedes international access to conflict areas, how can the international community take immediate action to assuage the adverse effects of such attacks on the civilian population and assist in ending the armed conflict altogether?  What can we do to hold the Government of Sudan accountable for its most egregious violations of human rights and humanitarian law?