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Independent Expert Urges Sudanese Authorities to Lift Restrictions on Freedom of Expression and Association

UN Independent Expert for the situation of Human Rights in the Sudan, Nononsi Aaritite at the conclusion of his fifth visit as independent expert to the Sudan has highlighted the improvement of the situation of human rights over the past months. The Expert however expressed concern of other groups he met during his visit over the environment of human rights and the restrictions imposed on fundamental rights and freedoms including freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and lack of accountability for perpetrators of human rights violations. Mr. Aristide, in his statement published on Sudan Voices website on 24 August 2018 welcomed the appointment of chairperson and deputy chairperson for the Sudan National Human Rights Commission, urging Sudanese authorities to ensure that the commission functions in compliance with Paris Principles relating to status of national institutions.

Meanwhile, Mr. Aristide said concerned over Sudanese authorities’ reaction to protests of January-February 2018. “I have received reports that human rights defenders, political activists and journalists have been detained because of protesting and denouncing austerity measures of 2018 budget,” the Expert said in his statement. “I welcome their release and I encourage authorities to free all those arbitrarily detained. I have also received assurances from relevant authorities that those freed will not be rearrested, charged or prosecuted,” he added. Mr. Aristide called for lifting restrictions imposed on freedom of expression and association and allowing civil society actors to organize peaceful demonstrations and engage in public action and security agents should stop the unlawful prolonged detention to silence human rights defenders, political activists and journalists. According to his statement published on Sudan Voices, the Independent Expert also called on authorities to end the phenomenon of anti-women campaign known as “kesha”, saying it targets women in Khartoum on claims of indecent dress and engagement in unorganized and inappropriate trading activities.

Regarding Darfur conflict, the Expert commended the efforts of the Sudanese government for taking measures to improve the security situation, saying occupation of lands and sexual violence against women and girls are the root causes of the problem hindering the return of residents to original villages. Nononsi also highlighted the situation of detainees in Shallah prison in North Darfur who have been held without fair trial. In conclusion, Aristide seized the opportunity to remind Sudanese authorities of the need to honour their human rights obligations.

Press Statement of the UN Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in the Sudan-April 2018

Source: Sudan Voices