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Sudan Ratifies UN Conventions Against Torture and Enforced Disappearances


People walk in front of shops at a market in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, Feb. 21, 2021. Sudan has ratified U.N. conventions against torture and enforced disappearances, after months of delay.

Sudan's Sovereign Council ratified U.N. conventions against torture and enforced disappearances Tuesday, after months of delay.

At a press conference, Minister of Justice Nasreldin Abdelbari confirmed Sudan's ratification to join the 2006 U.N. Conventions for the Protection of All Persons from enforced disappearance and 1984 convention against torture and inhuman punishment.

Abdelbari said the step is momentous because of Sudan's history of torture and enforced disappearance under the rule of former president Omar al-Bashir.

FILE - Sudan's ousted president Omar al-Bashir sits at the defendant's cage during his trial, at a courthouse in Khartoum, Sudan, Sept. 15, 2020.
FILE - Sudan's ousted president Omar al-Bashir sits at the defendant's cage during his trial, at a courthouse in Khartoum, Sudan, Sept. 15, 2020.

Sudan's second most important political body, the Ministers Council, approved the two conventions last November.

Rights groups attributed the delay by the Sovereign Council to the likely involvement of the military's Rapid Support Forces in some abuses, specifically the kidnapping and torture of 45-year-old Bahaa Nouri in December.

Emad Hamdoun was a victim of both torture and enforced disappearance during the iron-fisted rule of Bashir. In 2019, Hamdoun was arrested and tortured, and lost the sight in one eye.

Ratifying these laws is a victory for rights defenders and victims, he said. He added that he hopes the government signs the two conventions to the U.N. general secretary soon, so the Sudanese people can have the privileges they were deprived of in the former regime.

Rights groups also welcome the move and are calling on the government to set procedures that validate the pacts.

Winni Omer, spokesperson of Protect the Right to Life Campaign, a movement of lawyers, rights activists and the families of torture and disappearance victims, said she thinks this step should be followed by rules, like monitoring and lifting immunity, to guarantee the validity of the conventions.

On a related issue, the Sudanese Supreme Court has upheld death sentences for 29 security officers convicted of kidnapping, torturing and killing a teacher during the uprisings that toppled Bashir in 2019.

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