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UN expert: Sudan destruction ‘dehumanizing’

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News briefing

Translated and edited by: Committee for Justice

Geneva: May 25, 2023


The UN expert on human rights in Sudan, Radhouane Nouicer, described the level of civilian suffering from the ongoing fighting as dehumanizing.


Nouicer, who was appointed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, late last year, at the request of the United Nations Human Rights Council, to document and report human rights violations committed in Sudan since the October 25, 2021 coup. “This is the destruction of a country in a way that is dehumanizing its people,” said Radhouane Nouicer


“What is going on is as bad as anything I have seen in conflict zones over the course of my long career. It is horrifying, tragic, brutal, and completely unnecessary. The full array of human rights – economic, social and cultural as much as civil and political – are being violated, and both parties have singularly failed to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law,” he added.


The UN expert, whose mandate was recently enhanced by the UN Human Rights Council, has held weekly remote meetings with civil society representatives who remain in Sudan and others who have fled to neighboring countries over the past three weeks.


Nouicer has confirmed that he heard heart-rending accounts of doctors going hungry in hospitals as they try to treat patients, without appropriate medication or even fuel to power medical equipment, displacement of civilians, looting of homes by fighters, family members becoming separated, people shot while trying to flee, and chaos at the borders.


He has also been informed of increasing allegations of rape and other forms of sexual violence by men in uniform and of bodies left in the streets for days, with relatives afraid of being shot should they try to collect them.


The UN expert said that people feel lonely and abandoned amid chronic shortages of food and drinking water, destroyed homes, indiscriminate attacks in residential areas and widespread looting, adding: “The whole country is taken hostage.”


Nouicer reminded the parties of their obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law to protect civilians from the effects of hostilities, noting that they have failed completely so far in this regard.


The UN expert also stressed the importance of ending impunity and ensuring accountability for human rights violations, calling on the parties to respect and support the cease-fire agreed upon on May 20, in an effective and meaningful manner, to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid, and to fully abide by international humanitarian law and international human rights law.

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