UN envoy tells Sudan to lift emergency laws

UN special envoy for human rights in Sudan Aristide Nononsi has urged the government to lift the emergency laws in Darfur.

Addressing a press conference in Khartoum on Monday at the end of his visit to the country, Mr Nononsi also called on Khartoum to stop the impending execution of 55 people following a court sentence.

Mr Nononsi disclosed that 117 people were being held in Shallah prison in Darfur due to the emergency laws.

“I call upon the Sudanese authorities to repeal Emergency Laws in Darfur and to review all cases of 117 men and women currently detained in the Shallah Federal Prison in relation to Emergency Laws, with the aim of ensuring compliance with due process and fair trial standards. Should it be found that these cases were not compliant, I appeal for the immediate release of these individuals,” he said.

Detention and intimidation

“I would encourage the Government to halt the execution of these individuals, and to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.”

The UN envoy further expressed concern over the continuous use of detention and intimidation of the political activists, but welcomed the recent release of most of the political detainees.

“I welcome the decision of their release and encourage the authorities to ensure that all those still arbitrarily detained are released, and no such detentions should happen in the future. I have received assurances from the relevant Sudanese authorities that those who have been released would not be rearrested, charged or prosecuted further,” he pointed out.

Mr Nononsi also called on the government to lift the restrictions on the media and stop any kind of systematic “violence against women”.

“I have received information that security forces use violence, intimidation and other forms of abuses to silence women across the country. These abuses are made worse by the wider context of gender inequality in the Sudanese society and the legal framework that institutionalises it,” he added.

Sudan has persistently come under the criticism of the international human rights organisations for violations across the country, especially in the troubled Darfur.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has indicted Sudanese President Omer Bashir for alleged crimes in Darfur.

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