We, the participants at the Forum on the participation of NGOs in the 46th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights held in Banjul (7th – 9th November 2009),
Considering the provisions of the Constitutive Act of the African Union, the Charter of the United Nations Organisation 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 and that as a state party the Sudan is legally bound to fully and effectively implement the provisions of these instruments and respect and promote the human rights and fundamental freedoms set therein without discrimination on any ground;
Welcoming the report of the AU High-Level Panel on Darfur led by former South-African President Thabo Mbeki as adopted by the AU Peace and Security Council at the Level of Heads of State and Government in Abuja on 29th October 2009; and that the report was an authentic African effort which emphasized that issues of inequality in the distribution of economic wealth and political power as well as discrimination against, marginalisation and exclusion of the people of Darfur from participation in the political and economic life in the country as the root causes of the armed conflict in the region and affirmed that justice, accountability, healing and reconciliation as the imperatives for peace in Darfur;
Welcoming regional and international efforts to combat impunity, to uphold fundamental justice to the victims and to maintain durable peace in Darfur including the decision of the International Criminal Court to hold accountable individuals accused of planning, executing, condoning or encouraging the commission of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur;
Highly appreciating efforts of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to address the situation in Darfur including its October-November 2009 visit to Sudan and recalling in this regard previous resolutions on Darfur adopted by the Commission since its 35th Ordinary Session;
Deeply concerned at the continuing grave violations of human rights and humanitarian law in Darfur as documented in numerous reports including the report of the International Commission of Inquiry on Darfur of 25th January 2005, which concluded that the crimes committed in Darfur are “… no less serious and heinous than genocide…” and that despite the deployment of an AU/UN hybrid peacekeeping force to protect civilians in Darfur the humanitarian situation in the region continues to deteriorate;
Abhorring the decision of the government of Sudan to expel 13 international relief organisations from Sudan thus putting the lives of more than three million internally displaced persons and war-affected civilians in Darfur, especially women and children, at high risk;
We hereby call on the African Commission to ensure that the government of Sudan complies with its obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the AU Constitutive Act, the UN Charter and all other regional and international human rights treaties to which Sudan is a state party, and in particular comply with the following:
1. Stop, with immediate effect, all military activities and attacks against civilians in Darfur and end the grave violations of human and peoples’ rights in particular the forced de-population of entire areas in the region, and to cease all support, including the protection of and provision of weapon and other military supplies to the Janjaweed militiamen.
2. Allow immediate and unconditional return of the expelled international relief organisations to Darfur and provide the necessary support to all international agencies and relief organisations in order to ensure immediate, full, safe and unhindered access to the war-affected population in Darfur and facilitate delivery of humanitarian assistance to civilians in need thereof.
3. Fully and unconditionally cooperate with the International Criminal Court in its efforts to bring to justice all persons suspected of perpetrating war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur and arrest and hand over such individuals.
4. Accelerate the process of legal reform in the country in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and repeal or amend all laws and regulations incompatible with the Bill of Rights enshrined in Sudan’s Interim National Constitution especially those laws and regulations that perpetrate impunity for human rights violations, contravene with the due process of the rule of law and justice or curtail freedom of expression, assembly and association.
We further call upon the African Commission on Human and Peoples` Rights to:
1. Examine the report of the AU High-Level Panel on Darfur and persuade the AU members states to follow-up scrupulously the implementation of the recommendations contained on that report especially those recommendations which have direct implication on the enjoyment of human and peoples’ rights in Darfur.
2. Urge all state members of the AU and the UN to fully cooperate with the International Criminal Court by arresting and handing over all persons suspected of committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur.
Done at Banjul, November 9th, 2009