General Comment by Ambassador Michèle Taylor
During Action on the Resolution on the Human Rights Situation in the Sudan
HRC Special Session #36, Geneva, Switzerland
Thank you, Mr. President.
Today’s report from the High Commissioner and the general debate on the deteriorating human rights situation in Sudan were sobering. I would especially like to thank representatives of nongovernmental organizations for their critical insights. The devastating human rights and humanitarian consequences of renewed conflict in Sudan over the past four weeks are truly heart wrenching. We needed to act with urgency because of the enormous gravity of suffering of the people of Sudan today.
We simply could not wait for consideration of the resolution at the end of the regular session more than two months from now.
I want to acknowledge with gratitude the continued cooperation of Sudan with existing human rights mechanisms on the ground and sincerely hope that will continue.
The United States, with the United Kingdom, Norway, and Germany, called for today’s Special Session because we firmly believe it is the role and the responsibility of this Council to address serious human rights situations whenever and wherever they occur.
Our core group consulted widely and deliberately with representatives of all regions on appropriate next steps for the Council. The result is the resolution before us which: conveys this Council’s deep concern over the deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation; calls for the immediate cessation of hostilities, respect for human rights, and unhindered humanitarian access; and encourages continued efforts by and coordination among UN and regional mechanisms.
Ours is a measured and appropriate response that gives the High Commissioner and his Expert the resources this situation so clearly requires.
The United States is grateful to those neighboring states that have received tens of thousands of refugees. According to UN projections, this crisis may result in as many as 860,000 refugees and there are already more than 700,000 more internally displaced persons, a sobering reminder of the enormity and gravity of suffering within Sudan. Parties to the conflict need to ensure safe humanitarian access and the protection of civilians and here at the HRC we have a duty to help make that more likely.
This resolution was drafted and negotiated in good faith and with every intention of reaching consensus. If a vote is called, we urge all Members to join us in supporting the people of Sudan and supporting this resolution.
Colleagues, let me assure you we gave this our best efforts and made many accommodations after hearing your concerns. Including the delay of the vote today so that we could continue to try and find a compromise. It is my hope that we will be able to move forward together to support the people of Sudan in Peace and support of their human rights.
I thank you.