THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN SUDAN: THE ROLE OF THE ACHPR

Abdelrahman Gasim Presentation

HR Situation in Darfur

Introduction

During the last twelve years and since the eruption of the armed conflict in Darfur in February 2003, violence and destruction of civilian habitat have continued unabated. The armed conflict is associated with massive violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Killing and various forms of violations spare no one in the region, including innocent civilians, humanitarian workers and AU peacekeepers. The massive nature of the violations in the region has left no chance for monitors and observers to report every single incident happening to individual or groups. Violations of human rights are committed by the security forces with total immunity in Darfur and other areas affected by the armed conflicts in Sudan as these regions are ruled under emergency regulations. The result is that more than 2 million civilians continue to live in miserable conditions in settlements for internallydisplaced persons all over Darfur.

2014 has witnessed some of the most outrageousatrocities committed against civilians in Darfur recently, especially after the deployment of the Rapid Support Forces in the region. Due to deployment of these forces, large civilian settlements were burned to the ground and civilian installations, food stores, farmlands and water stations were destroyed in scorched-earth military tactics thus forcibly displacing the inhabitants. Official sources estimated that about 350,000 civilians were displaced during the first two weeks of March 2014, especially in North Darfur State where the military operations were concentrated.

Rape and sexual violence against women and young girls became endemic in Darfur. The most publicized incident of collective rape of women and girls was reported in Tabit area in North Darfur State on 30 and 31 October 2014. In this incident government army attacked the area looted belongings and gang-raped 221 women.

Protests staged by students calling for boycott of the elections were met with excessive force by the authorities. On 13, 14 and 15 April 2015, the security forces fired live ammunition and tear gas to disperse an anti-election rallies in manifestations in some of the IDP camps in Darfur. In El Fashir University in North Darfur scores of students were harassed attacked during a rally calling for boycott of the elections. Eighteen students have been remanded in custody, charged with criminal offences including article 50, 63 and 67 of Sudan’s Riot Act. Some of the crimes provided for in this act such as “undermining the constitutional system” carry the death penalty

Main Areas of Concern:

1. Humanitarian Conditions

➢ Despite a good rainy season last year, food insecurity is prevalent in many parts of Darfur and the IDPs are largely dependent on relief provided by humanitarian agencies. This is due to the fact very little harvest was collected as vast crops were destroyed in the fields by patrols just before the harvestseason, and the farmers who tried to defend their crops were killed.

➢ The WFP operating in Darfur has sharply reduced the food distribution ration per family and in many cases they are unable to access the villages to distribute the little food for security reason.

➢ Government continues to put pressure onINGOs to leave Darfur by revoking their licenses or limiting their movements to assist the needy communities. The International Committee of the Red Cross was suspended from operating in Sudan since February 2014: Meanwhile national humanitarian NGOs in Darfur are under full control of the National Intelligence and Security Service thus, they provide no assistance to the community.

2. Protection of Civilians

➢ The AU has mandated the UNAMID to protect civilians and humanitarian workers in Darfur. Nevertheless the government of Sudan has officially asked UNAMID to leave Darfur while remains critical. It is worth mentioning that UNAMID has been continuously reducing staff and limiting their movement. Last October UNAMID withdrew more than 600 vehicles from Darfur claiming that the vehicles were needed in Sierra Leone and Liberia to fight Ebola epidemic?
➢ IDPs have been resisting several governmental attempts to dismantle the IDP camps around the big cities of Darfur. In case UNAMID completely withdraw from Darfur, the Sudan government will not hesitate to destroy the IDP camps. This April, the Darfur Region Authority has announced a plan for repatriating the IDPs to new settlements at different villages of the government choice away from the IDPs areas of origin. This will obviously change the demography of the region.

➢ Wide spread inter-tribal conflicts between Arab nomadic groups were reported recently, it is fueled by the existence of massive weapons being distributed to them earlier by the Government to fight the rebel groups, but now are fighting each other.

➢ Darfur students in Khartoum and other regions of Sudan universities are living in a daily stress and torturing by the National security where in the detentions or at the university compound.

➢ The markets in Khartoum are continued to be shut down by all means for merchants originally from Darfur, even the few ones who were in the market before Darfur crisis were pressurized in different ways to abandon and sellout their shops.

➢ The International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor suspended her investigation into war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur region because of a lack of action by the UN. FatouBensouda said:

“It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to appear before you [the Security Council] and purport to be updating you [the Security Council] when all I am doing is repeating the same things I have said over and over again.”

“Given this council’s lack of foresight on what should happen in Darfur, I am left with no choice but to hibernate investigative activities in Darfur as I shift resources to other urgent cases.”

Recommendations:

1. The government of Sudan should repeal all laws that provide the security forces withimmunity to commit human rights violations. It should also hold security agents responsible for their actions that violate human rights.

2. The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights should follow up the recommendations and decision that it had adopted on the situation in Sudan and ensure that the Government of Sudan take the necessary measures to give effect to these recommendations.

3. UNAMID needs to be enforced and its mission and mandate should be expandedto avoid a new genocide in Darfur as result of dismantling the IDP camps.

4. An urgent humanitarian assistance is needed in Darfur as well as the other conflict area of Nuba Mountains and Blue Nine regions of Sudan.

gasim202000@gmail.com

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