Lawyers and human rights defenders have voiced their disappointment after Sudan was re-elected by the UN General Assembly on Monday to serve on the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) for the period 2023-2025. Announcing the results, Assembly President Csaba Kõrösi said that Algeria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Georgia, Sudan, Germany, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Morocco, Romania, South Africa, and Viet Nam will serve on the HRC for three years, beginning January 1 next year.
Breaking down how each of the successful candidates fared in relation to their competitors, Kõrösi announced that South Africa topped the voting for African nations, with 182 votes, followed by Algeria (178), Morocco (178), and Sudan (157).
Prior to the ballot, activists and prominent NGOs within Sudan and abroad appealed to UN member states to reevaluate the candidacy of Sudan to serve in the HRC, saying “the human rights practices in Sudan are clearly incompatible with the well-defined criteria for membership of the HRC”.
On Friday, the opposition Forces for Freedom and Change-Central Council (FFC-CC) called for Sudan’s re-election to the United Nations Human Rights Council to be rejected because “Sudan’s current unconstitutional regime has continuously and systematically violated the human rights of its citizens since 25 October 2021” when the military seized power in a coup d’état.
Sudanese human rights defender Abdelbagi Jibril, says that Sudan’s re-election to the HRC is disappointing for human rights defenders, but at the same time, he stressed that “the decision does not mean a victory for the current authority because the selection was made by the African group within its quota. which has four seats”.
He pointed out that the election of Sudan is indeed problematic for the United Nations and the HRC, noting “the great challenges it faces in the protection and promotion of human rights, the widespread violations, and the loss of hope for a return to the democratic path”.
He pointed out that the conditions for membership of the Council set by the United Nations do not apply to Sudan and a number of countries. “The conditions are to respect the highest standards of human rights protection in their countries and to contribute with the international community to stop any violations,” saying that as Sudan does not meet the conditions, the election of the country “will affect the credibility of the Council”.
He said that the responsibility rests with the African group and the regional blocs, and expressed his astonishment at Sudan’s election to the council despite the suspension of its membership in the African Union.
In a separate statement, the Darfur Bar Association (DBA) said that Sudan’s re-election to the HRC for a second term represents “an incentive for the regime to commit more violations”.
The DBA brands Sudan’s re-election, “despite the deteriorating human rights record and irrefutable United Nations reports, as a violation of standards, and subjects the practices of the United Nations to political settlements”.
The DBA cautioned that “the decision undermines the capacity of the HRC and its ability to carry out the tasks of monitoring and correcting the human rights situation in the countries of the world,” adding that “the decision will kill the efforts of the UN in Sudan, and strip it of credibility and respect among the Sudanese public”.