Sudan calls US economic sanctions a 'human rights violation'
The Sudanese justice minister, Mohamed Bishara Dousa, said that the United States economic sanctions imposed on Sudan have seriously affected lives of the Sudanese people, a situation which he labeled as a human rights violation. Sudan justice minister Mohamed Bushara Dousa (Sudan TV) Dousa attributed Sudan's internal wars and conflicts to the lack of resources which he claims is caused by the sanctions and foreign debt. Sudan has been under the US blacklist of states sponsoring terrorism since 1993 on allegations of harbouring Islamist militants despite reports of Sudan being a cooperative intelligence partner of Washington in the "war on terror". The East African nation is also subject to comprehensive economic sanctions since 1997 over terrorism charges as well as human rights abuses. Further sanctions, particularly on weapons, have been imposed since the 2003 outbreak of violence in the western Darfur region. Dousa pointed that the international community did not meet its obligations regarding capacity building and technical support which are part of the mandate of United Nations independent expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan. Under the current mandate, which was renewed last September, the independent expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan is authorised to offer technical assistance and capacity-building support. The justice minister, who is also the chairman of Sudan's Advisory Council for Human Rights (ACHR), affirmed his country's right to call for lifting all forms of human rights monitoring imposed upon it following what he said was a significant improvement on its human rights record. He praised, at his meeting with the Sudanese press delegation in the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council's (UNHRC) 24th session in Geneva, the independent expert's report and pointed that it is balanced and highly professional, hoping that it becomes a motive for ending the current independent expert's mandate. In a report by the independent expert submitted to the UNHRC, Mashood Baderin acknowledges that while the overall human rights situation in Sudan remains unstable and the implementation of policies on the ground remains slow, he said the Sudanese government had made progress in institutional and legislative developments aimed at improving the human rights situation. Baderin said there was now improved awareness about human rights issues both in the government sector and among the general population. However, despite positive steps, Baderin said Sudan continued to face enormous human rights challenges as a result of recurrent armed conflicts between government troops and rebel groups, as well as inter-tribal clashes and the operations of government security agencies, notably the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS), which he says has impeded the enjoyment of basic civil and political rights. International rights groups called UNHRC to strengthen the mandate of the independent expert on the human rights situation in Sudan to monitor and report publicly on serious violations. Twenty international human rights organizations signed the letter, which was presented to the council at the opening of its 24th session in Geneva on Monday. Rights groups say they are deeply concerned by the council's persistent failure to respond effectively to the situation in Sudan, where gross and systematic violations of human rights continue unabated. “We regret that previous resolutions adopted by the Human Rights Council failed to condemn the widespread violations of international human rights and humanitarian law committed in Sudan and did not identify concrete priority areas of action to improve the protection of basic human rights”, the letter reads in part. Rights groups say indiscriminate aerial bombardments and ground attacks in civilian areas carried out by the Sudanese military in the conflict-affected areas of Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile states has resulted in widespread loss of civilian life, destruction of livelihoods and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people. Dousa asserted Sudan's commitment to cooperate with the UN human rights agencies to promote human rights conditions in Sudan. He recounted the ACHR efforts to improve and protect human rights in collaboration with the UN concerned agencies, pointing to the national human rights plan which was launched recently in the presence of the independent expert. Dousa called upon the international community to support Sudan's national human rights plan through the independent expert and according to article 10 of his mandate.
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