Last Thursday was a busy day for the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), as it adopted more than a dozen resolutions on the human rights situations in Yemen, South Sudan, and Libya. Among these resolutions, was a resolution concerning the expiration of the mandate that appointed an independent expert to Sudan tasked with investigating and reporting on human rights conditions.
The UNHRC began by praising Sudan for its past cooperation with the United Nations Mission in Sudan (UNMIS), the UN-African Union joint mission UNAMID, and with Mohamed Chande Othman, the current Independent Expert assigned to Sudan, despite the fact that Othman has criticized the Government of Sudan for restrictions on these missions. But UNHCR also expressed concern about the humanitarian crises being caused by battles between the Sudanese Armed Forces and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North. As a result of these continuing humanitarian crises, UNHRC renewed the mandate of the independent expert on human rights for one more year.
Sudan’s ambassador to United Nations expressed satisfaction with the renewal of the mandate and pledged the government’s continued cooperation, but in actuality Sudan has been extensively lobbying other countries behind the scenes asking them to vote against the mandate’s renewal. The Sudan Tribune reports that the Sudanese government resented the scrutiny by the UN-appointed independent expert and had in fact been lobbying to have the mandate ended.
Mohamed Chande Othman has been critical of Sudan’s human rights record in the past, and has called attention to press censorship, illegal detentions, and lack of free speech. More recently, Othman stated that the Sudanese government must address the problem of impunity in active conflicts zones in order to improve its human rights record.