Following the military coup of 25 October 2021, the UN Human Rights Council took urgent action by holding a special session, on 5 November 2021, and adopting a resolution requesting the High Commissioner to designate an Expert on Human Rights in the Sudan.
As per resolution S-32/1, which was adopted by consensus with the support of the Group of African States, the Expert’s mandate will be ongoing “until the restoration of [Sudan’s] civilian-led Government.” The Council made it clear that the term of office for the designated Expert will conclude “upon the restoration of [Sudan’s] civilian-led Government.”
Ahead of the Council’s 50th session (13 June-8 July 2022), we, the undersigned non-governmental organisations, are writing to urge your delegation to support the adoption of a resolution that ensures continued attention to Sudan’s human rights situation through enhanced interactive dialogues at the Council’s 52nd and 53rd regular sessions.
While the Expert’s mandate is ongoing, a resolution is required for the Council to hold public debates and continue to formally discuss the situation. A resolution at the Council’s 50th session would operationalise resolution S-32/1, which in its operative paragraph 19 called upon “the High Commissioner and the designated Expert to monitor human rights violations and abuses and to continue to bring information thereon to the attention of the Human Rights Council, and to advise on the further steps that may be needed if the situation continues to deteriorate.”
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As the de facto military authorities are consolidating their power and human rights violations continue, including against peaceful protesters and in Darfur and other conflict areas, once-yearly reporting by the High Commissioner as part of her reports and updates under the Council’s agenda item 2, followed by a general debate, would be insufficient to maintain an adequate level of attention to the country.
The Council has a responsibility to follow up on its meaningful action on Sudan. It should ensure that the High Commissioner publicly and regularly reports on the human rights situation and that dedicated public debates continue to be held. The High Commissioner, with the assistance of the designated Expert on Human Rights in the Sudan, should be able to present updates and reports on the situation of human rights in Sudan.
Programme budget implications (PBIs) are required for the formal presentation of reports to the Council and holding of interactive dialogues and enhanced interactive dialogues. A resolution with the necessary PBIs could be approached from a technical perspective; it could be a procedural text that achieves just this: mobilising budget for reports and public debates on Sudan.
We believe that interactive dialogues on Sudan’s human rights situation should be held in an enhanced format, allowing for the participation of various stakeholders, including UN agency and civil society representatives. We also believe that the Council should discuss the human rights situation in Sudan at least twice a year. Furthermore, we believe that to avoid any risk of a public reporting gap, the Council should act at its 50th session – the last session during which presentation of a comprehensive written report is currently planned.
Ahead of the Council’s 50th session, we therefore urge your delegation to support the adoption of a resolution that:
We thank you for your attention to these pressing issues and stand ready to provide your delegation with further information as required.