UN Human Rights Council – 21st Session
Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert
on the Situation of Human Rights in Sudan
Statement by Australia, 26 September 2012
Australia thanks the Independent Expert for his report and was pleased to note his finding that Sudan has taken some steps to fulfil its international human rights obligations and to improve human rights in the country.
In particular, we welcome Sudan’s establishment earlier this year of the National Commission for Human Rights. Australia encourages the Government of Sudan to support this new mechanism, and allow it to operate freely and independently, with access across all ten states of Sudan.
Australia remains seriously concerned by reports of violence and human rights abuses which continue to take place in Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Australia calls on all parties involved in fighting in South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur to turn to negotiations, and to prioritise the rights of civilians in these states.
Noting the Independent Expert’s advice that he did not visit South Kordofan and Blue Nile, and was not granted permission to visit Darfur, we would support improved access for the Independent Expert to enable him to consider human rights issues in these regions in the future.
Australia was worried by the response to protests in Sudan earlier this year by security forces, including the deaths of protesters in Darfur. We support the recommendation of both the Independent Expert and the OHCHR that the Government of Sudan conduct an investigation into the events and hold those responsible accountable. We further call on the Government of Sudan to recognise the rights of Sudanese to protest and express their views freely.
As we have done in the past, Australia continues to call on Sudan to protect the rights of human rights defenders, humanitarian workers, journalists and other members of civil society in Sudan.