Omar al-Bashir, President of Sudan
On September 24, 2014 some of the world's worst human rights abusers lined up at the UN Human Rights Council to congratulate Sudan for "protecting" human rights and to praise its President, Omar al-Bashir for "national reconciliation." Al-Bashir has been indicted - but remains at large - by the International Criminal Court for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The occasion was a so-called "interactive dialogue" with the UN's "Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan."
Speaking as a "concerned country," Sudan's Minister of Justice Mohamed Bushara Dousa, said Sudan was doing a fine job at protecting human rights and blamed any problems on the "unilateral sanctions taken by the U.S." His statement included:
"The president of our republic established ...a mechanism for national dialogue....A road map was established...that guarantees freedom, rights and social justice... The president of our republic made efforts ...to achieve peace and stability...We welcomed the independent expert (IE) several times and we cooperated with him...in order to build capacity in the field of human rights ...Recently some have portrayed the situation in Sudan as systematic violations. These are attacks on credibility of national reconciliation...[The] unilateral sanctions taken by the U.S...affect normal the Sudanese citizen because sanctions are affecting more his human rights than the government, such as his right to life, health, movement...My government is working on enhancing and protecting human rights..."
The Council's President Baudelaire Ndong Ella of Gabon – like Sudan, a member of the Organization of Islamic states – responded: "I thank you for your statement and especially for your presence this morning..."
The UN's top human rights body proceeded to produce a spectacle
- The United Arab Emirates (UAE), speaking for the 21 UN member states of the Arab Group: "We view with appreciation and optimism the initiative on national reconciliation launched by Omar al-Bashir...to enable the Sudanese citizens to enjoy human rights...We pay tribute to all efforts to develop a legislative framework to enhance enjoyment of human rights."
- Ethiopia speaking for the 54 UN member states of the African group: "The African group commends government for cooperation extended to the IE...to further develop human rights in the country...sustained progress... aimed at improving human rights in the country."
- Venezuela: "Venezuela values efforts made by Sudan to ensure the human rights in the country are protected...Sudan continues to make progress...to improve human rights in the country."
- Belarus: "We welcome [the] consistent work to improve legislation in the sphere of human rights."
- Sri Lanka: "Sri Lanka commends legislative measures to implement its [Sudan's] human rights obligations for promotion and protection of human rights...including policies on women."
- Pakistan: "We praise cooperation of Sudan with the IE...We acknowledge efforts by Sudan to promote and protect human rights of its people...and enhance women's empowerment."
- Algeria: "The efforts deployed by Sudan in area of human rights are encouraging."
- Yemen: "We commend efforts deployed by Sudan...We laud initiative of the president of the brotherly country of Sudan...to strengthen national identity."
- Egypt: "We commend efforts taken by Sudan... for the protection of human rights."
- Cote d'Ivoire: "We welcome the measures taken to improve human rights situation in the country."
- China: "China welcomes positive progress in the area of human rights...Expresses heartfelt appreciation for progress in the human rights field."
Sudan's Minister of Justice Bushara Dousa used the opportunity provided by the Council for "final remarks" to further deny and conceal Sudan's appalling human rights record. He said: "I thank all those who praised Sudan for promotion and protection for human rights...The promotion and protection of human rights is our belief...Some said that peaceful protestors are arrested...This is not true. These people are taken to prison for common law crimes...NGOs are allowed free access to all parts of Sudan."
The actual human rights situation in Sudan has been well documented by numerous organizations, individuals
and governments over many years. A recent report of the independent media group Nuba Reports, includes
"2014 was a year that saw unprecedented targeting and displacement of civilians in Blue Nile and South Kordofan...the number of bombs dropped on civilians in South Kordofan and Blue Nile in 2014 was 756 - more than any year since the conflict began three years ago. The targeting included the only hospital in South Kordofan as well as a number of clinics run by international organizations; in addition to schools, markets, churches and mosques. In Darfur a half million civilians were displaced in the early months of 2014 as a result of aerial bombardments of populated villages and ground attacks by the Sudanese government, which deployed the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) composed of paramilitary armed groups funded and supported by the government in Khartoum...The regime in Khartoum...curtails the fundamental freedoms that can be conducive to such a dialogue. It harasses pro-democracy civil society groups and shuts them down with little explanation. And it censors independent media and journalists in print and online."
The Council's "dialogue" was followed by the adoption on September 26, 2014 of a resolution
which praises Sudan. It includes:
"The Human Rights Council...Welcoming the commitment of the Government of the Sudan to protect and promote human rights in the country...Noting the developments taking place in the Sudan, and the record of the Government of the Sudan in the promotion and protection of human rights...Welcoming the implementation by the Government of the Sudan of the Child Act (2010), which provides protection for children, including prohibition of child recruitment...Commends the steps taken by the Sudan Ministry of Education to reinforce human rights education..." and "Welcomes the efforts made by the Government of the Sudan in combating human trafficking..."
The history of the Council's handling of human rights in Sudan evidences an enormous failure on the part of the UN to address one of the world's most disturbing human rights situations.
2006 – June 2009
A Special Rapporteur on human rights violations (Council Agenda Item 4)
A Special Session on Sudan, A High-Level Mission, A Group of Experts
- When the Council was first created in 2006, it inherited a "special rapporteur on human rights in Sudan" from its predecessor the Commission on Human Rights. Sima Samar from Afghanistan served as Special Rapporteur from 2005 until 2009. At its first session in June 2006, the Council simply extended the rapporteur's mandate for one year in a decision that automatically renewed all mandates of the Commission on Human Rights.
- SR Samar visited Sudan August 11-17, 2006. Her report to the General Assembly said: "Human rights continue to be violated. Fundamental freedoms of expression and association are curtailed by the National Security and Military Intelligence Services. Human rights defenders, journalists, students, political opposition parties, IDPs and tribal leaders continue to be targeted for their activities...Detainees are often subjected to torture and ill-treatment and denied pre-trial and fair-trial guarantees...The situation in Darfur deteriorated dramatically since my last visit in March...The Government of National Unity, militia and armed groups continue to commit serious abuses under international human rights and humanitarian law. In particular, they have conducted indiscriminate attacks, including killing of civilians, torture, rape, pillaging and forced displacement."
- At a Council session in November 2006, the Council took up the dire situation in Sudan. In negotiations over a resolution, the EU wanted to emphasize "the primary obligation of the Government of Sudan to protect all individuals against violations, including sexual and other forms of gender-based violence and the use of child soldiers" while the African group wanted to give Sudan more "financial and technical assistance". The matter was called to a vote, and the EU lost. The Council ended up adopting a decision on November 28, 2006 on "Darfur" which "welcomed" the Darfur Peace Agreement and "the cooperation established by the Government of the Sudan with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan".
An Independent Expert on human rights violations (Council Agenda Item 4)
- On December 12-13, 2006, the Council held a "special session on the human rights situation in Darfur." The media, non-governmental organizations on the ground, and various UN agencies had documented grave violations of human rights against the citizens of Darfur instigated and supported by the government of Sudan. Rape was widespread, hundreds of thousands had been killed and millions displaced. And yet – due to active pressure by the African Union and capitulation by the European Union – the Council took a decision on December 13, 2006 at the end of its special session that failed to condemn Sudan for a single act. The one positive element was the creation of a "High-Level Mission" of five persons to be dispatched to Darfur, to assess the situation and to report back to the Council in March 2007. (Click here for further analysis)
- The Council's High-Level Mission, however, was never permitted to visit Sudan.
- The High-Level Mission reported to the Council in March 2007.
- On March 30, 2007 the Council established a Group of Experts, to be chaired by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, whose task was "to ensure the effective follow-up and to foster the implementation of resolutions and recommendations on Darfur."
- Special Rapporteur Samar visited Sudan July 25 – August 2, 2007, while the Group of Experts did not; the Group of Experts only conducted meetings in Geneva.
- The Group of Experts produced two reports and one update in June, September and November 2007 respectively. The November 2007 report of the Group of Experts requested a visit: "the group indicates its readiness to continue the review process...It suggests that a renewed mandate should envisage the possibility of an assessment mission to the Sudan, including its Darfur region."
- On December 14, 2007 the Council adopted two resolutions on Sudan. In the first resolution, "Human Rights Council Group of Experts on the situation of human rights in Darfur," the Council "welcome[d] the open and constructive dialogue between the Government and the Group." And the Council refused to renew the mandate of the Group of Experts. European diplomats claimed that the outcome "was a necessary trade-off with the African and Islamic countries, who hold the balance of power at the Council."
In the second resolution, "Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan," the Council extended the mandate of the Special Rapporteur for one year and asked the Special Rapporteur to follow-up two of the reports of the Group of Experts (June and November 2007).
- Special Rapporteur Samar produced her first report to the Council on March 3, 2008 in which she said: "The protection of human rights in the Sudan remains an enormous challenge. Human rights continue to be violated, including freedom of expression and association. Political opposition parties, journalists, students, internally displaced persons and tribal leaders continue to be targeted because of their activities. ... In the Darfur region, gross violations of human rights continue to be perpetrated."
- Special Rapporteur Samar visited Sudan February 27-March 10, 2008 and June 29 - July 13, 2008
- Samar produced two reports on September 2, 2008. The first covered the period from January to July 2008. In this report Samar specifically complained of Sudan's lack of cooperation. She reported: "she was not allowed access to Northern State and some of the officials and institutions in Khartoum which she had expressed the wish to visit, as necessary for the discharge of her mandate. She also regrets that the Government refused to issue a visa for the United Nations human rights officer assigned to service her mandate to travel with her to the Sudan in June 2008." The second report was entitled "Report prepared by the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Sudan on the status of implementation of the recommendations compiled by the Group of Experts mandated by the Human Rights Council in resolution 4/8 to the Government of the Sudan for the implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 4/8 pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 6/34." In this report Samar concluded that "little or no tangible impact has been reported or only initial steps were taken towards implementation. In regards to some of the recommendations no implementation was reported at all."
- In September 2008, the Council adopted a resolution in which it extended the mandate of the SR until June 2009, asking the SR "to further ensure effective follow-up and to foster the implementation of the remaining recommendations identified by the Group of Experts."
- SR Samar visited Sudan May 25 to June 5, 2009.
- In June 2009 SR Samar produced two reports. The first covered the period from August 2008 to May 2009. In it she concluded that "improvement of the human rights situation on the ground continues to remain a significant challenge .... In Darfur, human rights violations and breaches of IHL continue to be committed ... Land and air attacks by Government forces on civilians in Darfur took place during the reporting period. An increased number of arbitrary arrests and detention, incommunicado detention and alleged torture of human rights defenders and humanitarian workers were documented in northern Sudan, particularly after the ICC announcement on 4 March 2009...Impunity remains an ongoing and serious concern in all areas of Sudan... The Special Rapporteur continues to raise several cases with authorities, however to date there has been little or no progress." The second report was on "the status of implementation of the recommendations compiled by the Group of Experts on Darfur (A/HRC/11/14/Add.1). In it, she said: "...stronger steps should have been taken by the government to improve the human rights situation in the ground in Darfur... The information available does not confirm the Government's own assessment of the impact on the ground of activities undertaken so far...[R]eports received from the ground clearly indicate that with very few exceptions these efforts have not yet lead to an improvement of the situation of human rights in Darfur..."
September 2009-2011 (the Obama administration joins the Council in September 2009)
- In June 2009 the Council adopted a resolution in which it failed to extend the mandate of the UN "Special Rapporteur" on the situation of human rights in the Sudan. Instead, the Council created an "Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan" for a period of one year. The name change was to signal a somewhat reduced level of opprobrium, although the mandate of the Independent Expert was supposed to mirror the mandate of the Special Rapporteur. Only two African states members of the Council voted for the resolution, Mauritius and Zambia.
- Mohammed Chande Othman from Tanzania was appointed as Independent Expert on Sudan in 2009.
An Independent Expert on technical assistance (Council Agenda Item 10)
- Independent Expert Othman visited Sudan from January 23 -February 11, 2010.
- Othman produced two reports on May 26, 2010. The first covered the period from June 2009 to April 2010. He concluded: "The conflict in Darfur has been marked by widespread impunity for acts of violence against civilians. Perpetrators of gross human rights violations, including killings, torture, rape, abduction, arbitrary detention and ill-treatment of civilians have very often not been held accountable for their actions. The judicial response to serious human rights abuses has remained weak. To date, the Government has failed to bring to justice those responsible for various attacks on the civilian population... Alarms continue to be raised about allegations of arbitrary arrest, detention, torture and ill-treatment of individuals by the military, security and intelligence forces." The second report was on the "Status of implementation of the compilation of recommendations of the Group of Experts to the Government of the Sudan for the implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 4/8, pursuant to Council resolutions 6/34, 6/35, 7/16 and 11/10." Othman concluded that "a significant number of the recommendations still remain without implementation ...The Government needs to take additional measures to improve the human rights situation on the ground in Darfur."
- In June 2010 the Council adopted a decision extending the mandate of the Independent Expert until September 2010.
- On September 2, 2010 Othman produced an "Update on the report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Mohammed Chande Othman: Status of implementation of the compilation of recommendations of the Group of Experts for the Government of the Sudan with regard to the implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 4/8, pursuant to Council resolutions 6/34, 6/35, 7/16 and 11/10". Othman again concluded that "a significant number of the recommendations still remain without implementation ...The Government needs to take additional measures to improve the human rights situation on the ground in Darfur."
- On September 14, 2010 Othman produced a report which covered the period from May to August 2010. Othman concluded that "serious challenges remain in the protection of human rights in the Sudan...the country has witnessed a sharp turn towards political repression and restrictions on civil and political rights. Political opposition parties, journalists and students were targeted with arrests and detentions on account of their activities. Detainees often alleged that they were subjected to torture and ill treatment...These developments coupled with the increased restrictions in press freedom represent a serious setback, and are of particular
- October 7, 2010 the Council adopted a resolution by vote which extended the mandate of the Independent Expert for one year. Only three African states voted in favor of the resolution, Gabon, Uganda and Zambia.
- Independent expert Othman visited Sudan March 6-13, 2011 and May 31-June 8, 2011
- Othman issued a statement on June 8, 2011 after his visit in which he complained of non-cooperation on the part of Sudan: "Once again, I was disappointed that my request to meet with the Director General of the National Security Services (NSS) and visit to the NSS detention facilities was not met..." Among other things, he also said this about the human rights situation:
"I visited Abyei and I am concerned...of the destruction, massive displacement of the residents, and the attendant humanitarian crisis...I received allegations of killings, rape and other forms of inhuman and degrading treatment during and subsequent to the attack ...[N]ewly displaced have not received aid, in the form of food, medical aid and shelter since January...Civilians in Darfur continue to bear the brunt of fighting between armed movements and Government forces. ...The state of emergency in Darfur continues to curtail fundamental rights and freedoms. Arbitrary arrests and prolonged detentions without judicial oversight are being carried out."
- On August 22, 2011 Othman produced a "Report of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan on the status of implementation of the recommendations compiled by the Group of Experts to the Government of the Sudan for the implementation of Human Rights Council resolution 4/8, pursuant to Council resolutions 6/34, 6/35, 7/16, 11/10 and 15/27". He concluded "that the Government of the Sudan has not taken any significant steps towards the implementation of most of the recommendations since his previous report to the Council. He also notes that a significant number of the recommendations has not been implemented in spite of the fact that the time frame for implementation elapsed more than three years ago."
- Until the fall of 2011, the Council's consideration of human rights violations by Sudan – which had been repeatedly downgraded from a High Level Mission, to a Group of Experts, to the Special Rapporteur alone, and then to an Independent Expert – had occurred under its agenda item 4. Agenda Item 4 is an item that deals with "Human rights situations that require the Council's attention." This agenda item is reserved for what the Council considers to be the world's most serious human rights violations (excluding Israel, for which the Council has created a uniquely discriminatory agenda item all its own).
- In September 2011 the Council's mechanism for considering human rights in Sudan was further downgraded. Under its less serious category Agenda Item 10 – "Technical assistance and capacity building" – the Council shifted the focus away from governmental responsibility for human rights violations to international assistance to supposed governmental technical or capacity shortfalls. The mandate of the Independent Expert was extended for one year under Agenda Item 10. The much weaker language of the Resolution stated: "The Human Rights Council...Decides to renew for a period of one year the mandate of the independent expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan under agenda item 10, requests the independent expert to engage with the Government of the Sudan with a view to identifying areas of assistance that will aid the Sudan to fulfil its human rights obligations." In the resolution, the Council also praised Sudan:
"The Human Rights Council... Recognizing the developments taking place in the Sudan, and the efforts of the Government of the Sudan in the promotion and protection of human rights...Commends the cooperation extended by the Government of the Sudan to the independent expert...Also commends the efforts made by the Government of the Sudan in completing the implementation process of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, and appreciates the genuine role played by the Government in holding the historic referendum on self-determination for South Sudan...Welcomes the submission by the Government of the Sudan of its first report under the universal periodic review mechanism, the adoption of its outcome, and the commitment made by the Government to implement accepted recommendations."
- Downgrading Sudan from agenda item 4 to agenda item 10 had other substantive implications. No further reports on the implementation (lack of implementation) of the recommendations of the Group of Experts were to be produced.
- On December 19, 2011 Independent Expert Othman resigned. In his resignation letter Othman specifically referred to the Council moving Sudan to a less serious agenda item. He said: "Considering the best interest of the mandate under the renewed terms, I hereby resign as Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan."
- Mashood Adebayo Baderin from Nigeria was appointed as the new Independent Expert on Sudan in 2012.
- Independent Expert Baderin visited Sudan January 23-27, 2012 and from June 10-14, 2012.
- Baderin produced his first Report on August 27, 2012. In it he was at pains to articulate the government's view: "[T]he representatives [of the Government] expressed...their concern about the negative perception within the international community of the efforts made by the Government to fulfil its human rights obligations. The Independent Expert observed that this had created a degree of mistrust on the part of the Government in its relations with the international community. There is therefore a need for confidence-building to facilitate the constructive engagement necessary for addressing legitimate human rights concerns in the Sudan. Some Government representatives also made reference to Islamic law and culture as important elements of Sudanese society that should be appreciated by the international community and factored into human rights dynamics in the Sudan."
- The Council conducted negotiations over another weak resolution on Sudan during the September 2012 session. On September 20, 2012 during informal negotiations on the draft the United States delegation said: "We think this is a good resolution and do hope it will pass by consensus. We wanted to note with concern human rights abuses but we are ok with this text".
- In a statement to the Council when presenting his report on September 26, 2012, Baderin complained about Sudan's lack of cooperation. He said he had been unable to visit "Darfur, Southern Kordofan and the Blue Nile States."
- During the same meeting on September 26, 2012 Sudan thanked the Obama administration for agreeing to the resolution that downgraded the Council's consideration of Sudan from agenda item 4 to agenda item 10. In Sudan's words: "We place high hopes in the new mandate of the independent expert in the context of item 10... Under agenda item 4 mandate holder simply wanted to gather data which he then used to condemn Sudan and tarnish its reputation ...We are hopeful about new mandate and ask him to ... move from condemnation and quell any possibility of seeing our reputation tarnished.... We'd like to thank the American mission for its statements and its significant relationship with Sudan as attested by resolution 18/16 [the resolution that downgraded Sudan to Item 10]"
- On September 28, 2012 the Council adopted a resolution in which it extended the mandate of the Independent Expert for one year. It also extended its praise for Sudan. The resolution includes:
"The Human Rights Council... Recognizing the developments taking place in the Sudan, and the record of the Government of the Sudan in the promotion and protection of human rights...Notes that the Independent Expert commended the cooperation extended by the Government of the Sudan to him during his most recent visit to the country...Welcomes the commitment made by the Government of the Sudan to resolve outstanding issues with the Government of South Sudan...Welcomes the continued work of the Sudanese Advisory Council on Human Rights aimed at the promotion and protection of human rights in the country...Also welcomes the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the Government of the Sudan and the United Nations, the League of Arab States and the African Union...Further welcomes the submission by the Government of the Sudan of its first report for the universal periodic review, acknowledges the steps taken by the Government to implement the recommendations accepted." After the adoption Sudan hailed the resolution as "victory by all standards" because it kept "the country under the agenda item 10 of technical assistance for another year" despite "attempts by some parties to move Sudan back to agenda item 4."
- Baderin visited Sudan February 3-10, 2013 and June 15-20, 2013.
- Baderin continued to make Sudan's non-cooperation clear. In February 2013, after his second mission to Sudan, Independent Expert Baderin announced at a press conference in Khartoum "The geographical focus of this visit was on Khartoum and Darfur. During my next visit, I will focus on South Kordofan, Blue Nile and other parts of the country." But in June 2013 Baderin said in a press statement that he was "not able to fulfill his initial plan to visit South Kordofan."
- Independent Expert Baderin produced a report on September 18, 2013 that also avoided criticizing the government of Sudan.
- On September 27, 2013 the Council adopted a resolution on Sudan which extended the mandate of the Independent Expert for one year. It also continued its praise for Sudan: "The Human Rights Council...Noting the developments taking place in the Sudan, and the record of the Government of the Sudan in the promotion and protection of human rights...Notes that the Independent Expert commended the continued cooperation and support provided by the Government of the Sudan in the implementation of his mandate, including giving him access to all parts of the country... Notes with appreciation the submission by the Government of the Sudan of its mid-term report on the implementation of the accepted recommendations of the universal periodic review...Takes note of the adoption and launch by the Government of the Sudan of a national strategy for the promotion and protection of human rights in the country, and the establishment of the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission in Darfur."
- Baderin visited Sudan February 11-20, 2014 and June 15-24, 2014
- Sudan's lack of cooperation continued. In June 2014 (as reported by German diplomats to the Human Rights Council in September 2014) Independent Expert Baderin was prevented from visiting Khor Abeche internally displaced person camp in South Darfur and Kassala State in East Sudan.
- In July 2014 Baderin decided to resign. And although he said officially that it was due to "a family health situation," according to the Western diplomats he resigned because of Sudan's non-cooperation.
- The Council's September 26, 2014 resolution – in addition to praising Sudan (as set out above) – covers-up Sudan's non-cooperation and states:
"The Human Rights Council...takes note of the continued cooperation of the Government of the Sudan with the Independent Expert to enable him to fulfil his mandate, and of the Government's stated commitment to continue this cooperation..."
The treatment of Sudan by the Council – the continual downgrading of the machinery to investigate and report on Sudanese abuses despite the lack of cooperation and the resignations of the Council's own investigators – represents a clear failure of will on the part of the UN's top human rights body and the Obama administration to address one of the world's most horrific human rights situations.
The duplicity of the Obama administration is marked by a continual touting of the Council's human rights credibility at the same time as Sudan is literally getting away with murder. U.S. Ambassador Harper, for instance, said
on June 10, 2014: "The Human Rights Council is a critical venue for addressing some of the most persistent threats to human rights around the world. The Obama Administration decided to seek membership because the United States believes the Council can make a difference. With U.S. leadership, the Council has responded to urgent human rights situations in real time."
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is still a fugitive from the International Criminal Court (ICC), where he faces charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. And yet Council resolution after resolution fails to name him and call for his surrender or arrest. The case of Sudan evidences the profound weakness of the Obama administration on the world stage and its lack of seriousness as a global human rights leader.
Prior to the start of the September 2014 Council session, U.S. Ambassador Keith Harper took the unusual step of announcing his intention to ensure that the Council ramped up the attention paid to human rights violations in Sudan. On August 25, 2014 he said
that "The United States intends to table a resolution on the human rights situation in Sudan" because "there is a need to significantly strengthen the Council's response to the human rights conditions on the ground." In response to this bravado, Sudan simply refused to negotiate with the Americans.
The U.S. delegation scheduled
negotiating sessions on a draft resolution on September 15 and 16, 2014. On September 15, 2014 a note left on the table inside the room announced the cancellation of the session. The September 16, 2014 session, initially advertised as "public," was turned into a private meeting attended by a small number of delegations – apparently without African representation. And on September 18, 2014, the African Union did an end run around the United States entirely and tabled its own resolution. The United States did not co-sponsor the African Union resolution – a tell-tale sign that it had been unwillingly shoved aside. The African Union even watered down its original draft
, adding further praise for Sudan on the protection of children: "Welcoming the implementation by the Government of the Sudan of the Child Act (2010), which provides protection for children, including prohibition of child recruitment" (operative paragraph 7
). The U.S. capitulated, never tabling an alternative resolution, or amendments to the African draft, or calling for a vote on the resolution. The African resolution was adopted on September 27, 2014 by a consensus that included the United States.
Sudan's contempt for the Council – and American weakness – even extended to Sudan derailing the appointment of the next "Independent" Expert on Sudan. On September 25, Sudan formally sent a letter to the Human Rights Council President objecting to the choice of Edward Thomas from Ireland to replace Baderin as Independent Expert.
Thomas was formally recommended by the UN Human Rights Council's own Consultative Group, but Sudan objected to the appointment on the grounds that "it wasn't consulted." In fact, proposed individuals are worked out in advance by what is a cross-regional consultative group and the Council President, and then the Council normally rubber-stamps their recommendations.
However, the Council President responded to Sudan by effectively giving the country a veto over the individual charged with investigating it.
- On October 1, 2014 President Ella said: "I would like to invite the Consultative Group to reconsider the list of candidates for the position of the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan and to propose a new recommendation within three weeks."
- The Consultative Group, composed of representatives of the five regional groups (Canada, Lithuania, Morocco, Peru and the Republic of Korea) obediently went back to the drawing board. It held a meeting on October 23, 2014 "to consider and interview additional candidates" for the Independent Expert on Sudan. According to its report, the Group "spent six hours interviewing a total of six additional shortlisted candidates" from France, Zambia, Benin, Malta, Uganda and Afghanistan. In the end the group shortlisted four people. The Group also noted it "considers these candidates to be in addition to the first recommended candidate Edward Thomas of Ireland."
- On October 24, the President informed the Council's Bureau that he "request[ed] the Consultative Group to provide him with a new recommendation for the mandate of the Independent Expert on the human rights situation in the Sudan...[and] that he will conduct consultations after receiving the recommendation of the Consultative Group and before proceeding to the appointment of the mandate holder..."
- On November 5, 2014 the Council President issued a "revised list of candidates" and announced that "in light of the exceptional circumstances that led the Consultative Group to recommend four additional candidates" for the position of Independent Expert on Sudan, he decided to appoint Aristide Nononsi of Benin. He did not bother to inform the world that the so-called "exceptional circumstances" consisted of the Human Rights Council putting itself at the disposal of the government of Sudan - whose leader is a fugitive from the ICC - and the African group of nations that are protecting him.
- On November 6, 2014 the Human Rights Council approved the appointment by consensus.
Even Human Rights Watch – a major backer of the Council – in September 2014 called
Council action "failed engagement on Sudan."
A gross understatement. The human rights situation in Sudan, one of the most horrific and compelling of our time, is an acid test for the legitimacy of the UN Human Rights Council. A test that the Council has failed miserably.
Sudan getting away with murder with the help of the UN "Human Rights" Council