Human Rights Council - 27th Regular Session
Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on Sudan
Statement by Australia
24 September 2014
Australia thanks the Independent Expert for his report, and commends the Government of Sudan for facilitating his access to several parts of the country.
Australia remains deeply concerned by the serious human rights violations and abuses outlined in the Independent Expert’s report, particularly regarding freedom of religion or belief; restrictions on the freedom of the press; arbitrary arrests and detention of political leaders; and serious violations and abuses perpetuated in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and the Blue Nile, including indiscriminate aerial bombardments of civilians and humanitarian facilities.
The Government of Sudan’s proposed National Dialogue presents an opportunity to address the political, social and human rights challenges which are holding Sudan back from peace and prosperity, including the violent conflict which continues in all corners of the country. These challenges will require national, holistic solutions, with buy-in from all stakeholders, including political parties, armed groups, civil society, women and youth. Upholding fundamental human rights including freedoms of expression, association and the press will be critical to ensuring an inclusive, enabling environment for the Dialogue.
Australia welcomes the role that the African Union’s High-Level Implementation Panel is playing in facilitating the engagement of political parties and rebel groups in the National Dialogue. Could the Independent Expert explain why he believes external and impartial mediation could benefit the Dialogue process?
Finally, we remain concerned that long-overdue vaccination campaigns have been unable to proceed in the Two Areas. In his engaging with government and armed group leaders, was the Independent Expert able to make progress in securing agreement for vaccinations to proceed?