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POSITIVE DEVELOPMENTS IN SUDAN, BUT STILL MAJOR ISSUES IN DARFUR, BLUE NILE AND SOUTH KORDOFAN
21 June 2013

GENEVA (21 June 2013) – The United Nations Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mashood Adebayo Baderin, expressed concern about the current human rights situation in Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan States, due to ongoing hostilities and clashes.

At the end of his third visit to the country, Mr. Baderin acknowledged the Government’s commitment to meet its international human rights obligations, but stressed that major challenges still need to be addressed. The expert also urged the international community to provide technical assistance and capacity building to the Sudanese authorities.

On Darfur, Mr. Baderin highlighted the upsurge in inter-tribal conflict and clashes between the armed groups and Government forces which have resulted in a climate of insecurity and forced displacement.

“The effects of all these skirmishes in South Darfur have translated to an increase of new arrivals of displaced persons in different IDP camps, including 4,500 new people in the Otash camp over the last one month and half alone,” said the expert. While visiting the camp, Mr. Baderin noted the terrible living conditions, especially for women and children.

“The tents are inadequate and most of the new IDPs have resorted to using local material to construct make-shift shelter. They need immediate help and attention to avoid a humanitarian disaster in view of the impending rainy season,” stressed the expert.

Mr. Baderin condemned the human rights and humanitarian law violations perpetrated by parties to the conflict in South Kordofan, citing the recent shelling of the state capital, Kadugli, which resulted in the death of a UN peacekeeper. “The rebel attacks in Abu Kershola, South Kordofan, and UmRowaba, North Kordofan, seriously affected innocent civilians and resulted in human rights violations and displacements which are very worrying,” said the expert.

While noting some positive development in the Blue Nile state, including the significant improvement in access to humanitarian assistance in Government-controlled areas, the expert shared his concern about civilians trapped in rebel controlled areas as a result of the fighting between Government and rebel forces.

“I have received reports that the humanitarian situation in these areas continue to deteriorate as a result of the belligerent activities of the parties to the conflict. I have also been informed that many displaced and vulnerable civilians have been forced to move further south without access to basic necessities such as water and food,” he said.

Welcoming the launch of a ten-year National Action Plan on Human Rights on June 19, the expert acknowledged the Government’s commitment to meet its international human rights obligations and the release of some opposition political detainees since his last visit.

Mr. Baderin reiterated his call on the need for the Government to protect the rights to press freedom, freedom of expression and freedom of assembly. “These rights are integral to the creation of an enabling environment that allow for civic participation in the country, where all citizens are free to express their view without fear of reprisals from authorities,” he said.

Mr. Baderin will present his findings and recommendations in a comprehensive report to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2013.

ENDS

The mandate of the Independent Expert on the human rights situation in Sudan was created by the UN Human Rights Council on 18 June 2009. In September 2012, the mandate was renewed for a period of one year. As Independent Expert, Mashood Adebayo Baderin serves in his individual capacity, independently from any government or organization.

OHCHR – Country Page: Sudan: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/SDIndex.aspx

For further information and media requests, please contact Joseph Bonsu (+ 41 22 928 9417 / jbonsu@ohchr.org) or write to sudan@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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For use of information media; not an official record

HR13/175E