The Sudan and Somalia Crises
Adopts Texts on the Situation in in South Sudan
On the morning of September 28th, 2012, in a resolution on technical assistance and capacity-building for South Sudan in the field of human rights, the Council requested the Office of the High Commissioner to provide South Sudan with the necessary technical support and training and to submit a written progress report to its twenty-third session. In a resolution on the human rights of older persons, the Council requested the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to organize a public consultation in Geneva to receive information and share good practices on the promotion and protection of the human rights of older persons and to present a summary report on this consultation to the Council at its twenty-third session. Concerning human rights and indigenous peoples, the Council requested the Expert Mechanism on the rights of indigenous peoples to continue to undertake a survey on best practices to attain the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and decided to hold a half-day panel discussion on the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples at its twenty-fourth session. Introducing resolutions were Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, Senegal and Morocco. Austria on behalf of the European Union, United States, Djibouti, Russia, China, Cuba, India, Ecuador and Switzerland spoke in general comments. Mali, Syria, Sudan and South Sudan spoke as concerned countries.
Action on Resolution on Technical Assistance for Sudan in the Field of Human Rights
On September 28th, 2012, in a resolution (A/HRC/21/L4) regarding technical assistance for Sudan in the field of human rights, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council notes with concern the humanitarian situation in the provinces of South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and calls upon all parties to make every effort to immediately end violence and to halt clashes, to facilitate access for humanitarian assistance and to take action to strengthen respect for the rule of law in the two provinces; requests the Office of the High Commissioner to provide Sudan with the necessary technical support and training; urges the Government of Sudan to continue its cooperation with the Independent Expert, including by giving him access to the entire country, in particular in Darfur, Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan, in order to assess and verify the situation of human rights, to determine technical assistance needs and to report on his findings; decides to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert to Sudan under agenda item 10 for a period of one year; requests the Independent Expert to continue his engagement with the Government of Sudan with a view to implementing the projects that will further help Sudan to fulfill its human rights obligations, and to submit a report to the Human Rights Council for consideration at its twenty-fourth session.
Action on Resolution on Technical Assistance and Capacity Building for South Sudan in the Field of Human Rights
On the same day, in a resolution (A/HRC/21/L7/Rev.1) regarding technical assistance and capacity-building for South Sudan in the field of human rights, adopted without a vote as orally revised, the Council calls upon the Government of South Sudan to strengthen ongoing cooperation with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan on issues pertaining to the promotion and protection of human rights; encourages the Government of South Sudan to ratify the main international and regional human rights instruments; encourages the continuous commitment by the Government of South Sudan to resolve all the post-Comprehensive Peace Agreement (2005) outstanding issues with the Government of Sudan; requests Member States, relevant United Nations agencies and stakeholders to support, as a matter of urgency, the national efforts of the Government of South Sudan, in accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 18/17 of 29 September 2011 on technical assistance and capacity-building; requests the Office of the High Commissioner to provide South Sudan with the necessary technical support and training; and requests the Office of the High Commissioner to submit a written report on the progress of technical assistance and capacity-building in the field of human rights for South Sudan to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-third session.
Senegal, introducing on behalf of the African Group draft resolution L.7/Rev.1, said that as a new independent State, South Sudan sought to establish an institutional framework appropriate for the promotion and protection of human rights. In this context, technical cooperation and capacity building would provide important support for South Sudan. The draft resolution also aimed at strengthening cooperation between South Sudan and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan in the field of human rights, and hoped for the cooperation of the international community so that South Sudan was able to face its challenges. The draft resolution requested the Office of the High Commissioner to submit a progress report concerning technical assistance and capacity building for South Sudan at its twenty-third session.
South Sudan, speaking as the concerned country, highlighted the importance of the agreement signed with Sudan. Peaceful coexistence between the two sister countries would contribute to stability, development and peace. South Sudan intended to implement the provisions of the resolution. However, it could not do this without support. This could not be just another resolution, and it had to be implemented. A clear human rights strategy would have to be defined by developing a comprehensive plan of action. South Sudan expected the resolution to be adopted unanimously.
Human Rights Council holds interactive dialogues with Experts on the situation of human rights in Somalia and in Sudan
On September 26th, 2012, The Human Rights Council this morning held interactive dialogues with the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia and the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan. Shamsul Bari, Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, said that the situation in Somalia was less despondent and more hopeful despite the continuing violence. The Roadmap to completion of the transitional arrangements was coming to an end, which signaled new and important political changes such as the collective development of a provisional Constitution and the selection of members of a new Parliament. The first task in this period was the establishment of the rule of law which was almost totally decimated in the last two decades of warfare; the justice sector would require rebuilding from scratch and the executive branch must play the most critical role in delivering the basic services to the people which had been long denied. The international community should bolster significant financial and technical resources to capitalize on the new opportunity in Somalia.
Somalia, speaking as the concerned country, stressed the success of the recent elections in Somalia which put an end to the 12-year transitional period and ushered the country into a crucial and delicate period of transformation for peace. Somalia acknowledged the principal responsibility of its Government and the Somali people to achieve peace, but reiterated the important role of the international community in overcoming the remaining challenges and ensuring that international assistance made a difference on the ground.
In the ensuing interactive dialogue, delegations welcomed the positive political developments that led to the election of a new President, and the efforts undertaken for the success of the transitional process. The human rights and humanitarian situation in Somalia remained dire. Speakers expressed concern about the high level of civilian deaths and injuries, ongoing sexual and gender-based violence, arbitrary arrests and killings of journalists and human rights activists. Al-Shabaab, and other armed groups continued to commit serious abuses including targeted killings, executions, arbitrary arrests and torture. Vigilance was still needed to ensure that the new dynamism remained and the international community had an important role to play in Somalia’s transition to democracy.
On the same day, speaking as the concerned country, Sudan said that the Independent Expert had been able to meet with Government officials and members of civil society during his visit to the country and so ascertain the progress made. Unfortunately, he had been unable to visit Darfur, but other mandate holders had visited Darfur before, and the Sudanese Government had nothing to hide there. Sudan had placed high hopes on the new mandate of the Independent Expert in the context of technical assistance and capacity building. Sudan reiterated its deep desire to cooperate with the Independent Expert in various proposals he had made.
The Council has before it the report of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia (A/HRC/21/61).
Presentation by the Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Somalia Shamsul Bari, Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia, said that despite continuing violence, he was happy to present a less despondent and more hopeful account of the situation in Somalia and to update the Council on historic developments in the last one and a half months. Important political changes were scheduled to take place during this period when the Roadmap to complete the transitional arrangements in Somalia would come to an end and a new post-transition arrangement would be put in place. The Roadmap to end the transition had foreseen the formal adoption of a provisional constitution for Somalia which was collectively developed by Somali and non-Somali experts in the last year, and the selection of members of a new Parliament which in turn would elect a Speaker and a new President.
The first task was the establishment of the rule of law which had been almost totally decimated in the last two decades of warfare. Only the rule of law could ensure Somalis whole-hearted support for reconstruction, nation building and help establish respect for human rights and human dignity.
The justice sector would require rebuilding from scratch and Mr. Bari urged the international community to consider providing the necessary funding. The executive branch must play the most critical role in delivering basic services to the people which had been long denied. The thematic mandate holders of the Special Procedures system could be invited to help the Government to develop a post-transition human rights roadmap for the three branches of government, including benchmarks and a timeline. A large part of South Somalia remained under control of the insurgents and intense military efforts were taking place to recover these territories, often at the expense of civilians who had been affected by subsequent killings, looting, raping and other human rights violations. Humane and law-based treatment of former militiamen and soldiers was an equally important issue.
Another key task of the Government would be to investigate and prosecute attacks against journalists. Journalists were key to the promotion and protection of human rights. There existed tremendous momentum to propel the country forward and Mr. Bari strongly urged the international community as a whole to bolster significant financial and technical resources to capitalize on the new opportunity. Next, the Council had before it the report of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan (A/HRC/21/62).
Presentation of Report by the Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Sudan:
Mashood A. Baderin, Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, said that the initial impression based on information gathered from meetings with different stakeholders was that there was a general willingness on the part of the Government of Sudan to fulfill its human rights obligations and to improve the situation of human rights in the country. There was also evidence that the Government had already started to take some relevant steps in that direction that must be strengthened and further encouraged. The establishment of the National Commission encouraged Mr. Baderin for Human Rights and it was hoped that it would serve as an important institution for improving the human rights situation in Sudan. The Government and international partners were urged to provide appropriate support to enable the Commission to fulfill its role effectively. It was emphasized, however, that the mere creation of institutions was not enough. They had to be empowered and supported to perform effectively.
Despite the commendable steps taken by the Government of Sudan, important international concerns were noted in respect of different areas of human rights challenges in the country that needed to be urgently addressed, including deficiencies in the guarantee of important civil and political rights such as freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, and freedom from arbitrary arrests, among others. The Government was urged to take those concerns seriously and to take the urgent necessary steps to address them. Mr. Baderin had received reports from different stakeholders that highlighted concerns with particular reference to the human rights situations in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states. While he could not visit those areas during his mission, the disturbing human rights situation in those states was well known, and included matters relating to the conditions of refugees and internally displaced persons and the need for access for humanitarian actors. On issues of the scope of his mandate, Mr. Baderin thanked the Government of Sudan for its assurance that it recognized the mandate as being country-wide and that it did not object to grant access to every part of Sudan. Many of the civil society organizations that he had met with expressed frustration, particularly with regard to restricted space for human rights activities and fear of arbitrary arrest by Government agencies. There was no doubt that such a climate could not afford these organizations the opportunity to play their important role in promoting and protecting human rights.
Concluding Remarks by the Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Sudan
In concluding remark, Baderin said concerns had been expressed about access to South Kordofan, Darfur and border areas. As he had said in his presentation, this was also of concern for him and the Sudanese Mission had assured him that access would be granted should the mandate be renewed.
On cooperation with civil society and other mandate holders, he strongly believed that civil society had a very important role to play within Sudan. He had been informed that there were more than 25,000 human rights organizations in Sudan and thus requested that they outreach to him, and he would be open to recommendations and cooperation to improve the environment for civil society participation. On national security laws concerns, the issues had been raised with the authorities and noted in the report. Should the mandate be renewed, this would be one of the priorities. Humanitarian access to border states was indeed very important and the need to look into those areas could not be overemphasized. Mr. Baderin believed that with the assurance of Sudan that access would be granted, he would be able to make stronger recommendations to ensure that all issues were looked at.
Participation of GICJ at Human Rights Council Sessions
Human Rights Council - 35th regular session (6 June - 24 June 2017)
Human Rights Council - 34th regular session (27 February - 24 March 2017)
Human Rights Council - 33rd regular session (10 September - 30 September 2016)
Human Rights Council - 32nd regular session (13 June - 1 and 8 July 2016)
Human Rights Council - 31st regular session (29 February - 24 March 2016)
Human Rights Council - 30th regular session (14 September - 2 October 2015)
Human Rights Council - 29th regular session (15 June - 3 July 2015)
Human Rights Council - 22nd special session on the human rights situation in Iraq in light of abuses committed by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and associated groups - 1 September 2014:
Human Rights Council - 21st special session on the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem - 23 July 2014:
Human Rights Council - 26th regular session (10 - 27 June 2014):
Human Rights Council - 25th regular session (3 - 28 March 2014):
Human Rights Council - 24th regular session (9 - 27 September 2013):
Human Rights Council - 23rd regular session (27 May - 14 June 2013):
Human Rights Council - 22nd regular session (25 February - 22 March 2013):
Human Rights Council - 21st regular session (10 - 28 September, 5 November 2012):
Human Rights Council - 19th regular session (27 February - 23 March 2012):