Darfur Women Action Group (DWAG) is gravely dismayed with the re-election of Sudan to the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) for a second term. This election violates conditions for membership formally stipulated by the Council (which are to respect the highest standards of human rights), flies in the face of the UN’s own findings of grievous abuses committed by the current government, potentially incentivizes the regime to commit more violations, and undermines the HRC’s standing and operations in Sudan and elsewhere. The fact Sudan received a suspension from the African Union (AU) in light of the army coup last year and yet won re-election to the HRC this year further demonstrates a lack of consistency.

Sudan was initially elected to the HRC in October 2019 after a civilian-led government formed under Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. However, the October 25 military coup last year toppled the civilian-led government. As of now, Sudan remains under the leadership of an illegitimate government that committed and continues to commit gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian laws. These atrocities included excessive violence against peaceful protesters (including the firing of live rounds and killings of protesters) and the harassment, forced disappearances, and arbitrary detention of journalists and activists. These crimes are not isolated incidents but rather part of a new wave of genocidal violence that the military has been committing systematically and with impunity for roughly 20 years. The shameful re-election of Sudan to the HRC blatantly ignores the reality that Sudanese people on the ground face today.

Human rights violations continue at an alarming rate across Sudan. Violence in Darfur has recently escalated, resulting in mass killings, displacement, and incidents of rape and sexual violence against innocent civilians. The overwhelming majority of the casualties are women and children, which constitutes an alarming violation of international human rights and humanitarian laws. These incidents are testimonies to the Sudanese government’s lack of respect for and protection of the dignity and the rights of its own people that the Council must not overlook.

It is imperative that the international community stands with the people of Darfur and Sudan, not the government, by prioritizing accountability, protection of human rights, and respect for human dignity in Sudan. The international community’s embrace of Sudan’s re-election to the United Nations Human Rights Council signals that they show little to no regard for international human rights law. It’s worth noting that the international community’s condemnation and rejection of the coup showed its solidarity with the people of Sudan. However, as time passed, even though the regime continues to commit crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide, this re-election shows the world embraces the current Sudanese government.

DWAG urges the international community to take strong accountability measures and to pressure Sudan to stop the ongoing genocidal violence immediately in Darfur, attacks on protestors, and all kinds of human rights violations. We call on the international community to take the following measures:

  • Impose targeted sanctions, including travel bans and asset-freezing, to limit the military junta’s ability to buy weapons and kill more people.
  • The United Nations Security Council must authorize civilian protection forces to protect the people of Darfur.
  • The UN Human Rights Council must do its own due diligence to meet its obligations, verify Sudan’s eligibility for re-election, and hold Sudan accountable to UNHRC standards.

DWAG equally urges our supporters to speak up, spread the word, and demand their leaders to take swift action to end the suffering and bring lasting peace and stability in Sudan. We must continue to make our voices louder and demand accountability. With our collective effort, we can make a difference and end the suffering in Darfur and across Sudan.