IHEU denied the right to speak on Sudan

  • Date / 16 June 2009

In a travesty of democratic debate, only six non-governmental organizations were allowed to speak in the debate on the Sudan at the Human Rights Council on 16 June, and the first three selected to speak were organizations funded by the government of Sudan. Despite having registered to speak when the list had opened on 2nd June, IHEU were pre-empted by the apologists for the Sudanese Government under a UN rule giving preference to NGOs “not represented” in Geneva.

While we queued for half an hour to register to speak, non-resident NGOs were able to fax in their requests, so ensuring that when speaking slots were allocated, none of those actually turning up in Geneva to register were able to speak.

The occasion of the debate was the presentation of the report of Mrs Sima Samar, the Special Rapporteur on Sudan – a catalogue of wanton violence and barbarity by the Government of Sudan and its allied militias. But despite her wide-ranging review of the endemic culture of violence in Sudan, there was one issue that her report had overlooked.

Here is the statement that we had hoped to read.

International Humanist and Ethical Union
UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: 11th Session (2 – 19 June 2009)
Speaker: IHEU Representative, Roy W Brown: Tuesday16 June 2009
Item 4: Interactive Dialogue with SR on Sudan
Slavery in Sudan

Thank you, Mr President

The courageous report by Mrs Sima Samar, the Special Rapporteur on Sudan is surely one of the most shocking ever to have been presented to this Council. Yet, despite the almost endless catalogue of wanton violence and barbarity by the Government of Sudan and its militia allies, there is one major issue that her report has overlooked.

According to reliable reports, there remain at least 35,000 slaves from the Dinka tribe currently held in captivity in the provinces of South Darfur and South Kordofan. [1]

Christian Solidarity International in a report issued just last week [2] tells of 232 slaves liberated from captivity in the past month.

Interviews conducted by CSI with all 232 victims reveal a clear pattern of physical and psychological abuse. They report having been subjected to beatings, death threats, rape, female genital mutilation, forced conversion to Islam, racial and religious insults and work without pay. Some slaves reported witnessing the execution of fellow captives.

The enslavement of these black, non-Muslim Sudanese took place during jihadi militia raids backed by the government of Sudan during the civil war from 1983 to 2005.

The CSI report reiterates some of the key recommendations of the Eminent Persons Report of 2002, [3] including the establishment of:

  1. A financially transparent and functional Sudanese national institution for locating, liberating and repatriating slaves;
  2. A program of research on all aspects of Sudanese slavery;
  3. An institution, with international and indigenous components, to monitor slavery and its eradication, and
  4. An international mechanism to follow-up these recommendations.

Yet seven years after the publication of this report, these recommendations have not been effectively implemented.

We note the repeated failure of this Council to condemn the government of Sudan for its actions, and regret that it is unlikely to do so now on the basis of the report by the Special Rapporteur, but we beg the OIC to use all its influence on the government of Sudan to bring its behaviour into line with the minimum standards of international humanitarian law, and to implement the recommendations of the Eminent Persons Report on slavery as a matter of priority.

Thank you sir.

[1] James Aguir of the Government of Sudan’s Committee for the Eradication of the Abduction of Women and Children (CEAWC) quoted by Skye Wheeler “Misseriya and Dinka Grapple with History of Child Abduction”, Aweil, November 14, 2008.
[2] http://news.yahoo.com/s/usnw/20090529/pl_usnw/232_sudanese_slaves_liberated
[3] International Eminent Persons Group, Slavery, Abductions and Forced Servitude in Sudan, May 2002

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