UPR of Sudan: Challenges remain as the South transitions to an independent State

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On 10 May 2011 the delegation of Sudan appeared before the UPR working group to address its human rights record in both the North and South regions. The delegation, headed by the Minister of Justice Mohamed Bushara Dosa, was comprised of representatives from both regions. During his introductory remarks Mr Dosa referenced the peace agreement between the North and South. He acknowledged that full peace would not be possible until a lasting solution was found for Darfur. However, he highlighted positive steps already taken such as support given to tribal reconciliation in the form of peace accords between three tribes in Darfur.

Many comments from States focused on issues such as the widespread practice of female genital mutilation (FGM), the existence of the death penalty, gender empowerment, and a necessity to create peace in Darfur. The delegation was praised for its report that covered the human rights situation in both North and South Sudan. However, certain countries expressed concern about the implementation of recommendations with the upcoming independence of South Sudan. States made the following specific recommendations and comments:

  • Recommendations to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.
  • Alarm at the continued prevalence of FGM, and impunity regarding sexual violence against women.
  • Encouragement to retain human rights protections in the new constitutions of the North and South.
  • Calls to improve the security situation in which humanitarian workers operate in Darfur.
  • Alarm at the existence of the death penalty especially pertaining to persons under the age of 18.
  • Recommendations that the government obtain technical assistance from regional and international partners to help with the transition to separate States.
  • Recommendations to set up an independent investigative mechanism to address allegations of torture and human rights violations by armed forces, irrespective of a perpetrator's rank.
  • Continued concerns over human rights violations of both women and children by non-state actors.
  • Calls for the guarantee of freedom of religion for minorities in both states.
  • Concerns over the arrests and torture suffered by human rights defenders and journalists through the application of the National Security Act.
  • Appeals for the decriminalisation of apostasy.
  • Encouragementto seek assistance to rebuild infrastructure especially in the fields of education and health.
  • Calls to ensure that women are included in the creation of the new constitutions and that their political participation is assured.

States such as Cuba offered assistance for the creation of health and education infrastructure. Mr Mohamed Bushara Dosa reiterated the need for international cooperation with regard to Darfur, as well as with the South's transition. The recommendations were divided into three clusters. The first set addressed the current State under review as a whole, the second set addressed the recommendations for both the North and South, andthe last set addressed recommendations for South Sudan only.

There were a total of 198 recommendations. Mr. Dosa noted that all recommendations needed to be referred back to the government for further consideration, and that the final figures concerning recommendations accepted and rejected will be made available in time for the 18th session of the Human Rights Council.

For more information, including statements delivered and the report of the Working Group, see the OHCHR extranet (username: hrc extranet, password: 1session).