Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


Human Rights Council - 24th Regular Session

Item 10
Interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on
the Situation of Human Rights in Sudan

25 September

Australia is pleased to note the Independent Expert’s positive assessment of the level of cooperation and access extended by the Government of Sudan. We welcome the Government’s cooperation, and look forward to Sudan’s continued constructive engagement.

We welcome the Independent Expert’s finding of progress regarding legislative and institutional developments aimed at improving the situation of human rights in the country. However, we are concerned by his assessment that parts of the legal framework, such as the National Security Act and the Criminal Act, infringe upon fundamental human rights and freedoms. We call on Sudan to act upon this constructive feedback, and in particular, to ensure that the powers of the National Security Service to arrest and detain persons do not impinge on the role of the police as the legitimate law enforcement institution.

Australia remains gravely concerned by the human rights situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. We strongly urge Sudan to facilitate humanitarian access to the region, and to allow the work of the life-saving polio vaccination campaign to continue.

We thank the Independent Expert for his assessments of the situations in Darfur, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, and encourage him to continue to visit and report on these areas regularly. We would be interested in the Independent Expert’s views on what further measures the Government of Sudan could be taking to implement its responsibility to protect its citizens in these vulnerable areas.

We note with concern the Independent Expert’s finding that uncertainty over the status of Abyei is resulting in a deteriorating human rights situation. We encourage Sudan to continue constructive dialogue with South Sudan to reach agreement, as soon as possible, on the establishment of local institutions, and on a format and a timeline for a referendum on the status of Abyei.

Australia regrets the Independent Expert’s finding of worsening conditions for the operation of civil society organisations in Sudan. We continue to call on Sudan to promote and protect freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press, and to cease all arbitrary arrests and detention.

Finally, we thank the Independent Expert for his assessment of technical assistance and capacity-building needs, which provides a useful reference point for the donor community.