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U.S. says “very concerned” about Sudan’s human rights record

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June 30, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - The United States on Thursday said it is “very concerned” about Sudan’s human rights record, urging Khartoum to make stronger progress regarding the five-track engagement between the two countries.

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UN independent expert on the human rights situation in Sudan Aristide Nononsi (UNAMID Photo)

Washington is involved in a five-track engagement process with the Sudan over the permanent lift of sanctions on Sudan. By the 12 July, based on an interagency report including the State Department the President Donald Trump is expected to issue a decision on whether to maintain or to remove the lift of economic sanctions on Sudan.

The five-track process includes the fight against terrorism, Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Sudan’s role in the peace process in South Sudan, Sudan’s peace and the humanitarian situation in the South Kordofan and Blue Nile states.

“The United States remains very concerned about Sudan’s human rights record, including the continued closing of political space, and restrictions on religious freedom, freedom of expression, including press freedom,” said the U.S. embassy in Khartoum in a press release on Thursday.

“We continue to monitor the Government of Sudan’s progress in the five key areas noted in Executive Order 13761 to determine if it has met the order’s requirements for the lifting of certain sanctions in July 2017. In this process, we have pressed to ensure Sudan has adhered to its unilateral cessation of hostilities in conflict areas and ceased all indiscriminate aerial bombardment, a key human rights concern” added the press release.

According to the press release, Washington continued to stress “the protection of human rights is deeply intertwined with peace and security”, saying “while we have worked for progress in the five areas, we have also engaged intensively on human rights concerns”.

“We have raised at all levels our concerns regarding jailed activists, newspaper confiscations, church demolitions, constricted political space, and restrictions on personal and religious freedom. Moving forward, we want to see stronger progress in these areas by the Sudanese government,” read the press release.

Washington further underscored it would remain “committed to the Sudanese people and to continued policy engagement with the Government of Sudan, and the opposition, to realise peace and further the protection of human rights in Sudan”.

U.S. Chargé d’Affaires in Khartoum recently brushed aside calls to link the normalisation process of bilateral relations with the situation of human rights in Sudan saying the process embargo aimed to end Khartoum’s support for terrorist groups and bring peace in Darfur.

However, rights groups keep calling on the need to define a new track for peace and human rights in Sudan before to decide on the permanent lift of sanctions.

(ST)

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