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UN rights expert calls to allow freedoms in Sudan and end Darfur emergency

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United Nations (UN) independent expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan Aristide Nononsi gives a press conference in the capital Khartoum on February 22, 2017. (Photo GettyImages/AFP)
April 23, 2018 (KHARTOUM) - United Nations Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, Aristide Nononsi, Monday called to ensure freedoms in Sudan and end the state of emergency in Darfur region.

Nononsi concluded a visit to Sudan from 14 to 24 April to assess the implementation of recommendations made to the Government by human rights mechanisms. Besides the government officials, he met with UN officials, UNAMID and civil society groups.

In a press conference held in Khartoum at the end of his five-day visit to Sudan, the independent expert said he raised the arbitrary detention of political opposition leaders and activists following a series of protests in January and February 2018.

"I also call on the Government to lift restrictions on freedoms of expression and association and allow civil society actors, as well as political activists, to demonstrate peacefully, and engage in public action. The National Security Service should cease using prolonged unlawful detentions to silence human rights defenders, journalists and political activists".

During his visit to the capital of North Darfur El-Fasher, Nononsi visited the Shallah Federal Prison were several opposition figures had been arrested after January-February protests.

During his visit to the notorious prison, the visiting expert said he met with men and women detained for several months without trial on the basis of Emergency Laws

"I call upon the Sudanese authorities to repeal Emergency Laws in Darfur and to review all cases of 117 men and women currently detained in the Shallah Federal Prison in relation to Emergency Laws, with the aim of ensuring compliance with due process and fair trials standards," he said.

"Should it be found that these cases were not compliant, I appeal for the immediate release of these individuals," he further added.

Sudanese president declared the state of emergency in Darfur since 2003 following a rebel attack on the El-Fasher airport.

The government and UN reports say the security situation in the region is now calm expect some rebel pockets in Central Darfur mountainous area of Jebel Marra.

On the technical assistance to the Government in the field of human rights, Nononsi said this support can be provided after the deployment of an Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ technical assessment mission to discuss and agree on areas for possible technical assistance.

He added that some funding to key government bodies was made by donor States and that technical assistance provided by various United Nations agencies will continue.

"I would like to reiterate my call on the donor community to increase its financial and technical support to the Government and civil society in order to improve the human rights situation in the country," he added.

The Independent Expert will present his findings and recommendations to the UN Human Rights Council in September 2018.

(ST)

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