We, the participants of the Forum on the Participation of NGOs in the 44th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights resolve as follows:
Considering the provisions of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, the Charter of the United Nations, as well as those of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and other regional and international human rights instruments to which the Sudan is a state party;
Restating that Sudan is legally bound to fully implement the provisions of its own constitution, the Interim National Constitution, and regional and international instruments to which it is signatory; and particularly to respect and promote the human rights and fundamental freedoms set therein, without discrimination on any ground;
Further considering Sudan’s obligations under the 1998 Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders), particularly to ensure the rights of human rights defenders to assemble, associate, express themselves and participate in the government of the country and the conduct of public affairs;
Recalling relevant decisions and communiqués adopted by the UN, the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government on the situation in Darfur;
Appreciating the decision of the International Criminal Court to issue arrest warrants against individuals accused of organizing, planning, supervising, executing or encouraging the commission of ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur;
Deeply concerned at the continuing grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Darfur; notably the recent attacks on civilians in operations carried out against rebel forces which have once again forced thousands to flee from their homes;
Regretting the apparent failure of the United Nations-African Union Mission to Darfur (UNAMID) to offer civilians the protection they require;
Condemning the widespread violence against women and children in Darfur, most notably at the hands of armed groups;
Deeply concerned by the measures taken by the Sudanese Security Services following the attacks on Omdurman by the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) on the 10th May 2008; these measures have included mass arrests, prolonged periods of detention without charge, torture and disappearances of civilians, primarily of Darfuri origin;
Dismayed by the continued use of laws which are at odds with the Constitution and with international human rights standards; notably the National Security Act which is persistently used to interfere with freedom of expression and human rights activism through arbitrary arrests and detentions;
Concerned by the increasing restrictions on freedom of media and expression notably in Khartoum, restrictions which are of particular concern given that Sudan is at crucial stage in the roadmap to democratization with the initiation of a country-wide census which should pave the way for national elections in 2009.
NGO Forum-Net calls upon the ACHPR to take all necessary measures to pass a resolution:
1. To call on the Sudanese authorities both in Khartoum and Southern Sudan to fully and unconditionally respect its obligations under the Constitutive Act of the African Union, the Charter of the United Nations, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and most importantly, the CPA signed in 2005 between the National Congress Party and the SPLA/M.
2. To call on the Sudanese authorities to carry out necessary legislative reforms which will ensure that the Sudanese justice system and all legislation are brought into line with the Interim National Constitution and international human rights standards.
3. To stop, with immediate effect, all attacks against civilians in Darfur and end the grave violations of human rights in particular the forced displacement of large number of civilians in the region.
4. To call on the Khartoum government to end all support given to the Janjaweed militiamen, including the provision of supplies.
5. To provide the necessary support to all international agencies and humanitarian organizations in order to ensure immediate, full, safe and unhindered access to the affected people in Darfur and facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance to war affected civilian populations.
6. To urge the Government of Sudan to cooperate with the International Criminal Court in its efforts to prosecute and bring to justice all persons suspected of perpetrating ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity; and arrest and hand over such individuals without delay;
7. To call on the African Union members States and the AU Peace and Security Council to cooperate with the International Criminal Court and to reconsider its efforts to bring about a suspension of the International Criminal Court Investigation of President Omar al-Bashir;
8. To call on the Sudanese authorities in Khartoum to bring about an immediate end to current mass arrests, detention, torture of civilians particularly of Darfuri origin at the hands of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS);
9. To call for a full, impartial and independent investigation into the current allegations of human rights violations; if the authorities fail to comply, an international criminal investigations should be called for and supported;
10. To call on the Sudanese authorities to bring an end to impunity by ensuring that those found responsible for current violations, particularly NISS officers, police and other state officials, are held accountable; in particular by supporting the establishment of accountability mechanisms which conform with international standards;
11. To provide support – logistical, political and financial – to entities and bodies that can monitor and report on human rights abuses and help to establish accountability mechanisms, notably to the field offices of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR);
12. To call on the Sudanese authorities to ensure that freedom of the media and expression is guaranteed by bringing an immediate end to all unlawful censorship and other attacks on the media and journalists.
Done in Abuja , November 9th, 2008