Call for international solidarity with human rights in Sudan online and offline

3 May 2016 (APCNews)

On Wednesday 4 May 2016, Sudan will undergo a formal review by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva. Sudanese human rights defenders and international civil society are urging all all concerned actors to hold the government of Sudan accountable for ongoing human rights violations.

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Anriette Esterhuysen at IGF 2015Anriette Esterhuysen at IGF 2015

On 9 November, Brazil as the host country of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) 2015 convened a High Level Leaders Meeting aimed at gathering prominent figures in internet governance – selected among all stakeholder groups – to dialogue on the future o

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What do the treaties say?

UNDHR article 12

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation.

What do the treaties say?

UDHR article 20

Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.

No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

ICCPR article 21

The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized.

What is APC doing?

First up, we rallied support for the Panel by making joint statements and writing to governments and encouraging other NGOs to support it as well.

Now that the HRC has voted to go ahead with a panel, we will try to work closely with the Swedish government on the terms of reference, to suggest experts, share our research and mobilise engagement as part of the Connect Your Rights! Campaign.

Are there any risks?

Yes! The panel outcomes may be weak if the “experts” are not of high quality or there is weak or ill-informed engagement on the issues, or the sponsoring State does not co-ordinate the process well.

How does the panel work?

There is no set procedure for Panels. Generally, it is up to the leading sponsor State to coordinate the identification of panelists and the general concept note of the meeting. A panel consists of a 3 hour formal UN debate – usually introduced by 4-5 experts in the field and high level personalities. States and some NGOs respond to that with their political statements.

Why have a panel?

A Panel is often seen as the softest, risk-free step that the Council can take on an issue. Sometimes these kinds of panels are criticized because of that – too weak an option, not really doing anything, delay tactic etc. On the other hand it is a good entry point for a new issue and it’s safe in the sense that there is no automatic follow up.

What do the treaties say?

While the UDHR calls for equal rights for men and women, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, CEDAW from 1981 is considered the main treaty regarding women’s rights.

CEDAW article 1

For the purposes of the present Convention, the term “discrimination against women” shall mean any distinction, exclusion or

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