Sudan: UN Expert Nononsi's Report On Darfur Meets Mixed Response

Khartoum / Darfur — The report on his findings by the United Nations Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, Aristide Nononsi, who concluded a visit to Sudan from 14 to 24 April, has met with mixed reactions in Sudan.

He expressed several of his concerns, including the Sudanese authorities' violent reaction to widespread protests in January and February this year.

Saleh Mahmood, a prominent human rights lawyer and winner of the 2007 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought said in an interview with Radio Dabanga that "tribal militias continue to engage in criminal activity against the defenceless civilians in and around Jebel Marra.

"Darfur, especially Jebel Marra, is witnessing a dramatic deterioration and serious violations of human rights following the start of the government's campaign to collect weapons last year."

He confirmed the continued killing, rape, burning of villages and forced displacement of thousands of civilians in areas that were previously relatively stable.

He contradicted the official government stance that the campaign to collect weapons has been able to reduce the violence, citing that "there are large numbers of aggressors coming from outside and inside Sudan are occupying the villages of residents in large areas in areas of Jebel Marra and surrounds".

Mahmood said the report by the United Nations Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Sudan, Aristide Nononsi who concluded a visit to Sudan from 14 to 24 April, attributed the deteriorating conditions in Darfur to imposition of the emergency conditions for almost 30 years. He said the international and the regional efforts have failed to restore rule of law in Darfur.

He pointed to the continuing inability of International Criminal Court (ICC) for Darfur crimes to achieve concrete steps to bring the perpetrators including Omar Al Bashir to justice.


He called for a review and assessment of Unamid's performance and its commitment to the Security Council's mandate to protect the lives and property of the people of Darfur.

He also called for an assessment of the Government's commitment to accept the technical assistance provided by the Human Rights Council in Geneva to bring about radical and comprehensive reforms in the laws granting immunities and hindering access to justice.

Hamid Ali Nur, Secretary General of the Civil Society Initiative, described the Nononsi press release as a normal, repeated, and courteous to the approach of the government, while praising Nononsi for addressing issues that others cannot address.

In an interview with Radio Dabanga, Hamid said the government's request for technical assistance is a kind of blackmail for the international community; wondering how the criminals whom the government has entrusted with security duties could be trained.

He said the release of the detainees ahead of Nononsi's visit is a recurrent government- approach, predicting that the government would begin arrest campaign after his departure.

Hamid denied the validity of the independent expert's report on the role of the government in addressing conflicts and enhancing social cohesion, accused the government of breaking social cohesion and deepening the conflict in Darfur.

Hamid said in an interview with Radio Dabanga that the report of the independent expert does not add much in addressing the human rights situation and described his role as very weak because of the nature of the mandate.

He criticised the way the independent expert dealt with the suffering of people whose lands have forcibly been seizes and forcibly displaced to camps for displaced people and refugees saying that his handling of this issue was minor and not in the ideal way

Government stance

Babikir Ahmed Digna, the State Minister of Interior, said that the criminal situation in Darfur states has recently witnessed stability.

Yesterday the minister said in a statement to the parliament on the security and criminal conditions in the country that the reason for the stability in Darfur is the collection of weapons which has affected the low rates of crime and reports of murder, theft and drugs.

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