(22 September 2015) On 21 September 2015 the African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS), International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), and International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI) made a stakeholder submission to the Universal Periodic Review of Sudan 2016. The submission details human rights developments in Sudan, including legal and institutional, documented by our organisations since the last Universal Periodic Review of Sudan by member states of the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011.
The submission provides an overview of serious human rights and humanitarian law violations committed in the war zones of Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile over the past four years. This has included massive forced displacement, targeted and indiscriminate attacks on civilians and civilian property including through aerial bombardments and ground attacks, arbitrary and incommunicado detentions, torture including sexual violence, as well as other forms of ill-treatment. It chronicles the repeated resort to excessive and lethal force by Sudanese security services during demonstrations, public gatherings and arrests since 2011, arbitrary and incommunicado detention, torture and other ill-treatment of perceived government opponents. This has included arbitrary arrests of human rights defenders, journalists, members of civil society organisations, political and student activists, members of political opposition parties, and suspected members of rebel groups amongst others. The submission also details a well-documented pattern of restrictions on freedoms of expression, association and assembly, including restrictions on the media, civil society groups and their members, and political opposition parties; increasing restrictions on freedom of thought, conscience and religion; and a series of laws and practices that discriminate against women.
Courts have continued to hand down death sentences and the authorities have widened the scope of application of the death penalty. Sudanese law provides for several forms of corporal punishment – stoning, amputation, cross-amputation and lashing, with lashing penalties routinely implemented for a large number of crimes. Authorities disproportionately apply broadly and ill-defined “public order” offences against women and girls, particularly from marginalised ethnic groups. Many of such offences carry lashing penalties that are frequently carried out immediately after summary trials without legal representation or notice of right to appeal.
The submission details serious concerns related to the legal and institutional framework for the protection and promotion of human rights in Sudan, including concerns related to the stalled and non-transparent constitutional review process, failings by the Constitutional Court and other government institutions to uphold Sudan’s international human rights commitments, and controversial amendments made to the Interim National Constitution of Sudan without consultations in January 2015 that, amongst other things, further extended the powers and stature of Sudan’s abusive National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS).
Of serious concern are laws that facilitate the perpetration of abuses by Sudanese security officials and grant blanket immunities. Members of Sudan’s security forces enjoy blanket protection for crimes committed in conflict zones and throughout the country. A climate of near-total impunity is created by laws that grant formal immunity from prosecution to members of the armed forces, the NISS – including the Rapid Support Forces under their command – and the police. Statutes of limitation, lack of adequate victims and witness protection and systems of special courts for security forces are also of concern.
You can read the full joint submission, which provides detailed evidence of these concerns and concrete recommendations to the government of Sudan to be considered during the Universal Periodic Review of Sudan in 2016, in English here.
This post is also available in: Arabic