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Human Rights Council 33, UK Statement during the Interactive Dialogue with Independent Expert on Sudan, 28 September 2016

UK Statement delivered during the Interactive Dialogue with Independent Expert on Sudan at the Human Rights Council.

The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva
The Human Rights Council takes place at the Palais des Nations in Geneva

Mr President,

The UK thanks the Independent Expert for his report which sets out the major human rights challenges faced by Sudan. We share his concerns about the current situation, whilst welcoming the positive steps that have been taken by the Government of Sudan. This includes the adoption of action plans to prevent the use of children in armed conflict, and the eradication of female genital mutilation within a generation. We encourage the government to implement these strategies fully.

The Independent Expert’s report highlights violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law. Reaching unanimous agreement on implementing the African Union’s roadmap is vital for a lasting peace. We urge the Government of Sudan to ensure that civilians receive humanitarian assistance and that perpetrators of sexual violence are held to account.

The report highlights concerns around parts of Sudan’s legal framework, including the National Security Act. We are disappointed that the Government of Sudan did not accept our recommendation during their Universal Periodic Review to reform the National Security Act. We urge the government to review the powers given to the National Intelligence and Security Services so that those who have committed human rights violations are held to account. The human rights concerns in Sudan demonstrate the need for a strong mandate for the Independent Expert.

A number of human rights issues in the previous report have still not been addressed, including the need for transparency in the investigations of violations committed during demonstrations in September 2013. We also remain concerned by restrictions placed on civil society and arbitrary arrests, and at reports of harassment of Christian groups.

The UK would be interested to hear the views of the Independent Expert on how to work with the government and civil society to widen political space in Sudan?

Thank you, Mr President.

Published 28 September 2016