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Sudan quietly withdraws controversial UNHRC candidacy

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August 31, 2012 (WASHINGTON) – The Sudanese government on Thursday formally informed the African Union (AU) that it no longer wished to be considered for a seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

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Delegates are seen beneath a ceiling painted by Spanish artist Miquel Barcelo during a special session of the UN Human Rights Council on on (December 2, 2011)

The Permanent Mission of Sudan to the United Nations said in a letter seen by Sudan Tribune dated August 30th addressed to Djibouti’s Mission, which is the current coordinator for East Africa sub-region at the world body, that “it is no longer interested in taking up one of the vacancies available in the Human Rights Council".

Sudan was almost certain to fill the vacancy as one of the states nominated for the five African seats available on the 47-member council which included Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia and Gabon.

But rights groups expressed outcry over Khartoum’s candidacy particularly as the East African nation is led by an individual wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged war crimes and genocide committed in Sudan’s western region of Darfur since the conflict erupted there in 2003.

"Electing Sudan to the international community’s highest human body is like putting Jack the Ripper in charge of a women’s shelter," the Geneva-based UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said.

Western nations however, which have long been critical of Sudan’s human rights records gave no public signal of opposition to its candidacy.

This week the influential US Republican congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen blasted president Barack Obama’s administration for failing to stop the "corrupt system" at the UN by not pressing for reform there.

"As Sudan appears poised to win a seat on the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), the UN has hit a new low," said the congresswoman, who heads the US House Foreign Affairs Committee.

"Allowing this genocidal dictatorship, which has killed thousands of its citizens, to serve on such a body is beyond hypocrisy, it is callous, dangerous, and tragic," Ros-Lehtinen added.

Ros-Lehtinen said in the statement that the United Nations has "surrendered to despots and rogue regimes as it allows the likes of Iran’s [Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, Venezuela’s [Hugo] Chavez, and now Sudan’s Omar Al-Bashir to corrupt the system and use it to further their own oppressive and despotic schemes".

"It is beyond apparent that the UN is broken. It is time to stop this hostile takeover and implement real change," she stressed.

Foreign Policy (FP) magazine reported on its website today that the United States and other unspecified nations encouraged Kenya to declare its intention to enter the race to thwart Sudan’s bid which it agreed to do.

"Sudan, a consistent human rights violator, does not meet the Council’s own standards for membership," said Kurtis A. Cooper, a spokesman for the US mission to the United Nations was quoted by FP as saying.

"It would be inappropriate for Sudan to have a seat on the Council while the Sudanese head of State is under International Criminal Court indictment for war crimes in Darfur and the government of Sudan continues to use violence to inflame tensions along its border with South Sudan".

Philippe Bolopion, UN director for Human Rights Watch (HRW), welcomed the decision, telling Associated Press that “the worst human rights offenders are slowly recognizing they are not welcome on the Human Rights Council".

“Sudan joins notorious rights violators Syria, Iran, Belarus, Sri Lanka and Azerbaijan whose hypocritical aspirations to sit on the Council have properly led to embarrassing retreat,” Bolopion said.

It is not clear what prompted Sudan’s decision but it is likely that Khartoum did not want the negative publicity associated with its candidacy and the possibility of a last minute diplomatic setback.

In May 2004 the US representative at the UN Human Rights Commission walked out after Sudan got elected to sit on it at the height of the Darfur conflict and amid numerous accounts of massive atrocities there which Washington unilaterally labeled that year as genocide.

“The United States will not participate in this absurdity,” Siv said at the time. “Our delegation will absent itself from the meeting rather than lend support to Sudan’s candidacy,” he said before walking out of council chambers.

Asked how the Africans could put forward a country so clearly unsuited for the job, one African ambassador told FP that "Even if we believe deep down that Sudan, whose president has been indicted, shouldn’t be elected, nobody wants to jeopardize their relations by telling Sudan you don’t qualify because you have a human rights problem. We will be sitting at the table with them in future".

(ST)

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  • 1 September 2012 08:48, by Robot

    Hypocritical organization bet to do that so that their hidden agendas are fulfilled..

    repondre message

    • 1 September 2012 09:07, by Sala Gai

      We should not talk about Majith Kur Because in South Sudan every one there is fighting where to get position either than development, leave only that South Sudan get independent since 2005 to present
      Can anyone tell how far with the development in South Sudan, while the aim of SPLA/M was mismanagement of resources in Khartuom Sudan but per now things change up down.
      In this case Majith has right

      repondre message

  • 1 September 2012 08:50, by Madina Tonj

    Million people around the world are surprising when they sees UN Secretary general is meeting with Omar al Bashir in Iran. Yes, Sudan government is not qualified for UN seat and that government must be tear down and Omar al Bashir must face justice if there is international rule of law.Sudan officials are not even feel a shame for asking human right seat while, they are killing Darfurian and Nubia

    repondre message

  • 1 September 2012 08:53, by mohamed mahgoub

    Actualy S didn’t do that quietly but there was a huge campain in the west led by US to make it withdrawand it happen under pressure from the inter. Comunity coz it realy absured situation if S become amember of UNHRC

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    • 1 September 2012 09:16, by zulu

      Mohgoub,
      Exactly is the point. The NCP is trying to make the UN a mockery of justice. Killing innoncent civlians based on ethnicity and calling that a right questions the not only the philosophical sense of justice but also the legal basis to apply civil rights. Gross repression is not a civil right, Daaaah, NCP and its gangs and thugs, looters and rapists

      repondre message

    • 1 September 2012 09:17, by mohammed ali

      Sudan was a memmber of this organ!This is propobly internal african affairs!OH, Mahgoub we know US is the biggest protector of HUMAN Rights!! Funny! Just have a very little pride in yourself, at least to show that you have very few drops of Sudanese blood inside you!

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      • 1 September 2012 09:38, by Nibs

        Look at those idiots of africa,"no one want to jeopard their relationship with sudan by telling them you are not qualified",those are the same idiots in AU.the never tell the truth and that’s why AU is toothless organisation of thugs.

        repondre message

      • 1 September 2012 09:54, by mohamed mahgoub

        M.Ali if to be sudanese means to a criminal genocidale ,human rights violation supporter and racist and terrorist closed minded ,to defend a regime that killing its own ppl,I m so glad to give up my nationality, but one cant choose his birthplace that is why we fighting to change this shameful situationat the moment

        repondre message

  • 1 September 2012 11:04, by Observer

    Well said Maghoub..
    I have been accused bby M Ali and his fellow extremist posters on here as I don;t agree with the corrupt Govt we have, nor beleive the lies etc.. Evidently people like you and me are traitors because we dont support this despotic Government of ours.

    repondre message

  • 1 September 2012 12:41, by thok chuni yok

    AU and other NGOS at this time your the one will solve any problem in the coutries but i don,t no why the problem between south sudan and sudan not finish?

    repondre message

    • 1 September 2012 15:51, by Aaban

      Very shamefully, this ja’lain murderer do not have a shame in their blood at all, they even think of joining HR groups with their hands full of blood of our people? People with no shame are always gready of power even something that they are not qualified, they want to be, shame on them,

      repondre message

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