Egypt, African States Urge End to UN Scrutiny of Sudan

On Thursday the Human Rights Council began the process of reviewing the mandates of UN experts (also called “Special Rapporteurs” in UN parlance) who report to the Council on human rights situations in ten countries and on themes such as torture and religious freedom. While some of the mandates – on adequate housing, or physical and mental health – are broadly supported, others are opposed.
During the debate over the mandate of the expert on internally displaced persons (IDPs), Syria and Pakistan on behalf of the Islamic group insisted that any future mandate include the plight of IDPs “under foreign occupation” – a thinly veiled reference to the Palestinian territories. (As it happens, the working definition of internally displaced persons applies to individuals who fled their homes but did not cross internationally recognized boundaries, and hence cannot apply to people who also claim to be refugees.)
The day ended with the beginning of the debate on one of the most controversial mandates – on the situation of human rights in Sudan. Egypt declared said that “the African Group believes the time has come for ending the proliferation of human rights mechanisms in Sudan.” While Sima Samar, the current Special Rapporteur on human rights in Sudan, spoke of gross and systematic human rights violations, Sudan accused the Council of “politicization.” Portugal on behalf of the EU stated its strong conviction to maintain the expert on Sudan.

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