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UN rights body renews mandate of Sudan rapporteur for 6 months

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September 24 2008 (GENEVA) — The United Nations Human Rights Council renewed today for six month the mandate of its Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Sudan.

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The renewal of the unpaid position comes as compromise sponsored by the African group and the European Union. Khartoum had orchestrated an important campaign to evict the Afghan r Sima Samar while the EU lobbied to re-conduct her for a year.

The Council’s President, Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibi, said that the renewal of Samar mandate was “a very important message from the international community of their understanding of the situation in that country.” He also said that the consensual outcome b between the AU and the EU meant to admit some positive steps taken by Sudan.

He added that the resolution on the issue had been co-sponsored by the African Group and the European Union, showing that the two sides had reached a consensual outcome on the situation in Sudan.

"The idea is not to be punitive. The idea is to encourage. It is meant to do what is needed in the interest of human rights and the rights of all citizens." Uhomoibi said.

The adopted resolution left open whether she could continue after the end of the six months.

Samar’s report earlier this month offered a damning view of human rights situation in Sudan. The human rights expert said that Sudan carries out “indiscriminate” and “disproportionate” bombing of civilians in the war ravaged region of Darfur.

She also spoke of torture, disappearances and suppression of the freedom of the expression in the country.

The Sudanese Ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva las week described Samar as EU agent."The special rapporteur on Sudan, Miss Sima Samar, has demonstrated that she is an agent of the European Union rather than (being) the Human Rights Council rapporteur," he said.

UN experts estimate some 300,000 people have died and 2.5 million driven from their homes. Sudan blames the Western media for exaggerating the conflict and puts the death toll at 10,000.

(ST)

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